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December 22, 2023

Looking Back & Forging Ahead: A 2023 Recap & New Year Wishes

Looking Back & Forging Ahead: A 2023 Recap & New Year Wishes

As we begin to put a wrap on 2023, I reflect with so many emotions on this past year. My first full year as executive director of this dynamic organization has come with many highs and, as unfortunately happens in so many shelters, a few lows. But above all else, I am struck by overwhelming gratitude.

Not only have we been able to increase our reach, expand partnerships and bring on talented new team members, but we’ve helped more cats than ever before. Our length of stay (how long a cat, on average, is in our care before adoption) has decreased to 41 days — which is pretty incredible considering we increased our intakes and transfers and consistently welcome many special needs cats who others would deem hard to adopt.

For every animal we saved through groundbreaking medical care, new enrichment and socialization techniques and adaptive community services and programs, I am more filled with hope than ever. This summer’s launch of our new strategic plan and organizational identity set forth a strong map forward as Cat Care Society continues to evolve to meet the needs of our cats and our community. We are already beginning to see the earliest fruits of these labors, as we strengthen our commitment to our staff, systems, volunteers, visibility, and our future.

With more focus on developing our emerging leaders and staff members, we’ve been able to send CCS faces out into the community to network with their peers, learn from other organizations and fine-tune their knowledge and skills for each of their unique roles. I am so grateful to industry organizations like the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement, ConnectingColorado, Animal Welfare Association of Colorado, Metro Denver Animal Welfare Alliance, West Metro Chamber of Commerce and other shelter and community partners that keep us connected to trends, tips and information as we continually seek to do better.

Soon you will see further details on the impact of our work for our last fiscal year (stay tuned for our annual report coming out in early January!). For every statistic and data point, there is a cat with a story. It does not land lightly on us that the impact we have on cats’ lives is literally life-changing. I’m so proud that we’ve been able to help more cats than ever before, with over 1,100 cats coming through our shelter in the past year. While I wish we could tell the story of each and every one of them, I hope you find some time to read the stories of some of our longest-staying or hardest-to-adopt cats, which you can find on our website under Success Stories. Even just putting together 10 of our most impactful cases moved me deeply. It would be such an understatement to say that I am blown away by the dedication, kindness, compassion and work that our team puts into the lives in our hands. Time after time, CCS staff members have shown that we don’t give up. The amount of time, effort, money and resources that we put into our cats, is truly something special and paints just a small picture of what it’s like to work in this field. I will never be able to thank my team enough for the work that they do.

CCS is and always will be an organization that is committed to the goal of finding cats loving homes. However, we will never rush this process and have put steps in place to ensure that each cat is truly ready. We are focused on providing the best medical care and support for each animal that comes through our doors by understanding his or her unique medical and/or behavioral needs. We consistently ask what a cat needs to live its best life and offer transparent information to potential adopters about what to expect and support that animal. We don’t just diagnose conditions; we go a step further to dig into the root cause of what a cat needs to truly thrive for his or her future.

The fact that we always go the extra mile is one the things that makes CCS so special. Just one example is a cat named Amaryllis, a stunning 8-year-old lovebug who arrived in April. Amaryllis came to CCS as a medical transfer, underweight with a heart murmur, alopecia and in need of a dental. At first, she seemed to be in decent shape, considering, but then we noticed something else. After a few days, a medical recheck found a distended abdomen and fluids around her reproductive parts. After a full exploration, we found lingering issues from an old surgery and treated it. Because we took these extra steps, we found something that easily could have been missed and are confident her outlook is now even more positive.

I realize that the CCS many of you have known and loved for years is beginning to look a little bit different. I want to assure you that every change that has been implemented has been done with much discussion, care and concern for the cats and people we’ve served throughout our rich history. In fact, I don’t see it as change as much as it is adapting. The pandemic turned the world on its head and shifted many ways of thinking. In our world, trends continue to shift and new research offers new opportunities. To survive in this day and age, we must be agile and know when to pivot. I am forever grateful to every single staff member, volunteer, donor and partner who has stuck by our side as Cat Care Society evolves and grows. We are building on our rich 40-plus year history and setting the foundation for so many more good things to come. We are investing in our people and our metro community. This solidified identity and mission ultimately allows us to help more cats!

Our most recent Clear the Shelters event proved that our region is ready to do this, and we have a community willing to say yes to the tougher cases. We celebrated our most adoptions in a single day, ever last August! I am also filled with gratitude for the overwhelming response once again to our Colorado Gives Day fundraising campaign. We exceeded our fundraising goal, raising just over $152,000 for the shelter cats. We are overwhelmed by your generous support and endlessly grateful. Now, we are more invigorated than ever to bring this energy to the larger community.

Four people hold cats inside the shelter

Of course with rising costs of our own and more cats in need than ever, we need your continued support. As we look ahead, we hope to purchase another surgical table specifically for dentals. One of the biggest bottlenecks of sheltering in general is dentals, and because CCS takes in so many older cats, our medical wait list is often what prevents us from helping more cats due to the resources we have. Even one more table in our surgical suite would mean hundreds more cats getting earlier dental treatment than before. We are also building plans to enhance our feline behavior & enrichment program and look to purchase more supplies to support caring for cats that need a little more time and attention.

As CCS continues its forward motion in a changing landscape, we are as dedicated as ever to our core values, positively transforming our staff, systems, people, processes and visibility for a bright future, as guided by our strategic plan. To ensure this long-term success, we will remain adaptable and invested in the well-being of our cats, our people, our facility, our partnerships and our community. As we navigate rising costs and increased need, we’re also opening our doors to more partners across the state, bringing in more animals and broadening our outreach. Our team is excited about continuing to build a beautiful foundation based on trust, transparency and the most loving care for cats in our region. We will continue learning, growing and striving to be a place where no cat is left behind. Your support can make this possible!

Your philanthropy allows us the power to change the lives of not only the cats that we take in and care for, but the lives of their future adopters. It is what enables Cat Care Society to go the extra step for each and every cat that comes through our doors.

We hope we can count on you as an ambassador to this work as we think critically about our future. The world of cats is ever changing, and we’ve demonstrated we can be successful while also keeping CCS’ values and identity at the heart of our every day. As we celebrate this special community and each cat who finds a home, I invite you to join us.

We believe in transparency and always want to be available for questions or clarifications around our statistics, policies or procedures, and ask that you simply reach out if you hear any information about us and want to ensure its validity. Email to set up a time to talk.

Thank you, and cheers to a happy and healthy New Year filled with feline friends.

Warmest regards,

EC Michaels
Executive Director
Cat Care Society


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