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January 4, 2024

Why I Donate: Kathy McChesney

Why I Donate: Kathy McChesney

Kathy McChesney doesn’t do anything lightly. This Cat Care Society supporter extraordinaire goes the extra mile by serving on the board of directors and multiple committees, volunteering her time and resources, helping at events and providing transportation, and donating on top of it all. Why does she go so “all in” for CCS? “Because everything is about the cats!” she proudly exclaims.

Originally from Texas, Kathy moved to Denver in 2018 after years of running her own cat rescue. Relocating for work as an airline pilot, she retired in 2021. With her own passion for cats, she was on the hunt for a new cat shelter to help. Thanks to the suggestion of her financial advisor, Michaela Sullivan (who also now serves on the CCS board), she began donating to us. The real turning point was when she was invited to a holiday event and met some of the staff and saw the shelter in person.

Shortly after, Kathy joined the board and became even more involved. Today, she serves as secretary, is on the governance committee and strategic plan workgroup, assists at events, transports cats to specialty medical appointments, writes for our blog, donates financially through a donor-advised fund (DAF), and is a member of the Nine Lives Legacy Society.

Kathy has multiple cats of her own — all sweet rescues and strays that she has adopted who follow her everywhere — and is shining example of what a cat lover who gives back can look like. Kathy often brings her experience and perspective to the table, advocating for black cats and sharing how unique and special the animal welfare landscape is in Colorado. For instance, she shares that in Texas, shelters in the state are overwhelmed in a way that we haven’t quite seen here. Attitudes are cultures are different there, where it is more prevalent for animals to not be spayed or neutered, and sadly, often dumped if they’re no longer wanted. This is what fuels her to give back now.

“I donate because I’ve run own rescue and know how hard it is to get people to give; I understand the need,” she said. “Cats are the most important thing in my life, and I‘ve been fortunate in my career, so I’d rather help cats than anything else.”

The reason Kathy keeps coming back to Cat Care Society in particular, she says, is because of the cats themselves and our policies. “It’s just everything, the open concept, the way we take in animals that would be put down somewhere else, the Temporary Care Program and how it helps people, and that we always go the extra mile for every single cat,” she said. “I’ve never seen a shelter that does that. It is so unique, and the cats are so happy. I can feel comfortable walking into CCS and not feeling like I need to bring every cat home.”

Kathy also appreciates the variety of ways in which she can give. The DAF provides so many tax benefits, and is easy to set up with a financial institution. And the Nine Lives Legacy Society gives her reassurance that her animals will be taken care of if both her and her husband are gone. “I know they’ll be well taken care of, and I trust they’ll be adopted into good homes,” she said. “It’s the best way I know to support cats in the way they should be supported.”

Another innovative idea that Kathy helped facilitate was a relationship between CCS and Colorado State University in Fort Collins. There, Dr. Michael Lappin, director of companion animal studies, runs a program called Saving Animals in Shelters by Teaching (SAST). This program accepts animals from shelters who need complex surgeries that go beyond a shelter’s capacity. Used for things like heart surgeries, which would be incredibly costly at a specialist, it also affords veterinary medicine students the ability to learn and practice. Kathy was generous enough to use her connections at the school to expand their service to CCS as well, and now a year later, our first cat underwent a successful internal hernia surgery there. “Something this complex would be so expensive, and we got it at cost,” she said. “Plus, we don’t have enough vets The country doesn’t have enough vets! So anything we can do to train vets is hugely helpful.”

“My whole life, all I’ve wanted to do is take care of cats,” Kathy added said. “I give to CCS because I know that all the money donated is used for the right reasons. It all goes to the cats, and Cat Care Society is the best place I can imagine for a cat in need to be — if not in someone’s home of course.”

If you’d like to give to Cat Care Society too, visit our Ways to Give page for a list of ways your support can help save more cats in our community!