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We're always looking for foster

care providers and volunteers

to help with transportation and

staffing adoption events! 

Please see the page 'Volunteer/Foster' on this website!

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How does a retired medical helicopter pilot spend his days? With CatPAWS, of course! As our database coordinator guru and amazing foster for our older cats, Lance is an important part of the procedural elements that help keep CatPAWS moving forward.

How does a small, foster-based cat rescue organization keep up with vaccination records, medical notes,locations of each foster, and pertinent documents?? We do this with the help of Lance. Lance manages our entire database and updates pertinent and vital details on each cat and kitten that we help, treat, and eventually place in their forever home. His ownership of this critical data management function has allowed us to deploy our resources more effectively, better manage our intake, take more cats, track and maintain their health and effect more adoptions. This attention to detail and data tracking is the lynchpin of responsible organizational management.

A lifelong animal lover, he joined the CatPAWS volunteer team about three years ago after meeting a few board members at a Petco adoption event. With a special love for cats, Lance wanted to get more involved after retiring as a helicopter pilot.

With a big heart for adult cats, Lance is on the frontline helping make sure those cats find the perfect homes, too. “You will see a lot of people come through looking for kittens, and I understand why. However, we also know and value the importance of adult cats that need to find their permanent and loving homes. I love it when we are able to help find those matches too,” notes Lance. He prides himself on being able to take some of this cat population and being able to re-socialize cats that may have been in difficult situations or even at the shelter for too long.

With CatPAWS supporting the community now more than ever, Lance is always impressed with how this organization puts the well being of animals before other interests. “The people that are in this organization always put the animals first. Personal agendas don’t exist and ensuring our cats and kittens are matched with the right family, always takes precedence,” says Lance. “I love what this organization has accomplished and the proof is in the follow up letters that I get from many of our adopters.”

As volunteer coordinator, Clare Cusato is constantly inspiring, engaging, and ensuring CatPAWS volunteers are fulfilled and gratified in their roles.

About a year ago, Clare was intrigued by a friend’s post on Facebook. As we all do, Clare was scrolling through when a CatPAWS post caught her eye. A friend of hers had recently adopted a cat from CatPAWS and had posted an irresistible photo of a kitten that would kickstart her volunteer journey.

With two adult children now off to college, Clare had known that she wanted to volunteer when she was not adventuring & traveling with her husband. Getting involved with CatPAWS would no doubt soothe some of that empty nest syndrome that happens when children leave the nest.

Clare and her daughter had volunteered occasionally with other animal organizations through the years. While they adored some special dogs along the way, they always felt a special kinship to cats and kittens. Growing up, Clare and her family had both dogs and cats. It was a natural fit to have animals in the house while her two children grew up, particularly during those precarious teen years. “Our cat brought our family closer together,” said Clare.

As a dedicated team member, Clare is most proud of the education, outreach, and limitless dedication that the CatPAWS volunteer team continuously brings to adopters and adoptees. It is also vital to her to ensure that volunteers feel they are making a difference and getting the most out of their volunteer time. “Seeing our volunteers blossom in various roles is rewarding and a huge part of why I love this organization so much,” notes Clare.

Clare is also responsible for “The Cats Meow,” the CatPAWS weekly digest which gives volunteers detailed knowledge and intelligence on each cat that CatPAWS is currently helping, adoption agency information, and includes humorous anecdotes on each kitty so volunteers stay tuned in to each journey. Volunteers like Clare are why CatPAWS is looking at having its best year yet!

CatPAWS is always looking for fosters, volunteers, and donors. For more information, visit

It is estimated by the ASPCA that 3.2 million pets are adopted each year from shelters across the country. One of the most important components that rescue organizations play in ensuring successful adoptions is personality matching. Volunteer Eden Amans always plans with this crucial component in mind.

“Personality matching is so imperative in ensuring a positive experience for both the cat & family,” says Eden. “CatPAWS plays a critical role in this as we match cats based on personality & demeanor with potential families versus placing cats and kittens out of sheer need or timing.” Eden, a life-long animal lover, dog trainer, teacher, and guru in helping with marketing efforts at CatPAWS, is proud of the work that CatPAWS has accomplished over the last few years. With more successful adoptions happening year over year, she is excited about the procedures and plans that have taken CatPAWS to the next level. “We set our cats up for success and are there with the adopter all along the way,” notes Eden.

With a heavy background in marketing and a master’s degree in education, Eden was essential in the “Coffee + Kittens” event- a partnership between CatPAWS and Starbucks that is continuing to grow. With the help of a friend who worked at Starbucks, they created a successful fundraiser for CatPAWS that included a $5000 donation from Starbucks. Contributions like these are vital in being able to help the community and continue to help vulnerable cats and kittens in the greater Orange County area.

“CatPAWS is always looking for fosters, volunteers, and donors,” says Eden. “No contribution is too small. Our volunteers are truly our greatest asset”.

“Complete Cat Care” is the phrase that Kit Gustavson feels strongly about when she speaks about CatPAWS. The recent University of Oregon graduate has been working as a foster for the past few years when she’s not serving up your favorite beverage as a barista or working her second job as an interior designer. To say Kit is driven is quite the understatement!

Kit prides herself in being able to volunteer as a foster with CatPAWS and truly has come to love the organization. Her mother, a long-time volunteer with CatPAWS and countless of other organizations, is her biggest fan and supporter. Kit grew up as an only child and all animals including fish, mice, hamsters, and birds were welcome in the Gustavson household. The family is happy to take whole litters that need fostering until the kittens can be placed in their forever homes. “In architecture, we talk about a complete design. It encompasses everything from start to finish. In my volunteer time with CatPAWS, I can relate this same practice. From the beginning, sometimes when the kitten is hours old, CatPAWS helps these tiny lives. Throughout the many fosters that my family and I have now had, we feel supported through the whole process. If there is an issue, CatPAWS is there to help. And, finding the perfect forever home is equally just as important. They take the time to ensure that it’s a match for the family and the cat. CatPAWS also follows up once the cat is adopted- it’s complete care from start to finish. To me, that is what makes CatPAWS so special,” says Kit.

Ruby, one of Kit’s most memorable fosters was with the family for a while. Ruby had an eye infection, was a ‘ginger’ kitty, and was the smallest in her litter. She unfortunately had lost an eye due to an infection but was still as loveable and playful as ever. Kit knew that Ruby was a special cat who would need to find a special home. To CatPAWS and Kit’s delight, an adopter had recently lost a cat with one eye and was looking for another one- Ruby had found the perfect home! Kit’s room is usually the makeshift nursery for the foster kittens and she wouldn’t have it any other way. We are thankful for volunteers like Kit and her mother, Dee.

CatPAWS is always looking for fosters, volunteers, and donors. For more information, visit

In 1978, Annelle met Helen Sanders on the Jetty in Seal Beach. Helen was feeding her ‘jetty cats’ (which had to be close to 200 cats back then) when Annelle had let Maui, her beloved dog, off her leash. Helen, coming up from the rocks, yelled back to Annelle to quickly get her dog back on her leash. Conversations started from there and they quickly became friends. Both also volunteered at the Seal Beach Animal Care Center. Helen had been helping with the jetty cats for years…even when she received threats from the local community who wanted those cats gone.

Annelle is a lifetime animal lover with a 30+ year volunteer history. Having animals her whole life, she knew when Helen was no longer going to be able to care for the cats that someone would need to step in. Along with other founding Helen Sanders CatPAWS board member, Deborah Felin Magaldi, the two quickly formalized the organization when Helen passed away to continue the mission of saving & helping Helen’s beloved ‘jetty cats.’ Other pertinent beginning volunteers include Kelly & Marianne.

‘CatPAWS continues to set itself apart by pulling vulnerable cats & kittens from high kill shelters in the northern Orange County and greater Long Beach area. We also continue with our voucher relief program that helps families spay and neuter their animals at a discounted rate. And, during this difficult economic time, CatPAWS has also worked with the public to get gift cards to animal owners who may need some help with pet food & antibiotics,” says Annelle. “The gratification of our work over the years, our volunteer growth, and our true community impact makes me proud,” notes Annelle.

Retired now from the travel business, Annelle continues her own personal mission of volunteering not only with CatPAWS but also with the Seal Beach Philharmonic which brings music to local school aged children with their ‘music mobile.’

Annelle has held all positions in the organization as a board member, past foster organizer, past volunteer manager, Bowling Event chairperson for the last 10 years, and helps with the day to day responsibilities of running the non-profit. She continues to foster kittens and cats in need. Her volunteer heart, generous time & loving spirit towards all animals has not only helped CatPAWS thrive but has also set this organization apart from other rescues that are trying to accomplish similar goals. “Carrying on Helen’s legacy, Annelle continues to be part of the glue that keeps us together & serving our mission of helping cats,” says Deborah Felin Magaldi. “Being able to work with Annelle over the years and seeing our organization transform over the past 10 years has been one of my greatest joys.”

CatPAWS is always looking for fosters, volunteers, and donors. For more information, visit

2016 was a hard year for Mitchell and his family. With the death of a family member and the death of a pet, heartbreak was inevitable for Mitchell and AnnaMarie while they mourned dad and beloved Mazie. While they mourned for Mazie, AnnaMarie started peeking around at their local Petsmart knowing that new furry friends would no doubt bring some joy back into their lives. On a trip to the store one evening together, AnnaMarie pointed out two cats she had her eye on over the last few weeks. Within a heartbeat, they adopted two new kitties- MK & Ash.

This starts the volunteer and adoption journey that Mitchell has had with CatPAWS. With that adoption, Mitchell became aware of CatPAWS and decided that in retirement, it was time to start volunteering. New waves of life bring new journeys- and Mitchell was excited at the opportunity to give back to animals that had brought him so much love & joy.

“What sets CatPAWS apart from other organizations”, says Mitchell, “is the commitment to the cat over the length of its life. Most rescues focus on getting a cat into any home- that is not our mission at CatPAWS. “Our adoption committee seeks to find a solid match with each adopter. That helps ensure successful adoptions and reassures our foster home providers that the cats they cared for and loved are going to good homes. We often become friends with adopters and get regular updates about their cats. We love hearing from past adopters and know that for those cats we have indeed fulfilled our mission that they lead full and cherished lives."

Mitchell is proud of the infrastructure of the organization and the high standards that are set in safeguarding important feline protocol. Mitchell has learned to administer vaccines, care for chronically ill cats, and take in even the tiniest kittens (bottle babies) who need to be fed every two hours. “We are truly saving lives here at CatPAWS,” says Mitchell. As an active board member with CatPAWS, Mitchell has taken the lead in organizing the Traveling Comfort & Therapy events that are held at local retirement facilities around Long Beach and Seal Beach. Once a month, adoptable kittens are taken to retirement homes for the residents to interact with and play with. “Seeing the joy that this brings to many of these residents is one of the many reasons I continue to do this important volunteer work,” notes Mitchell. “Cats have captured my heart,” says Mitchell.

Helen Sanders CatPAWS is now in its 10th year and if there is any silver lining during the current pandemic, it’s the importance of what the human/animal connection looks like. For Mitchell, it’s comfort & tranquility knowing that animals always provide unconditional love.