Volunteer Tail: Kiri Blakeley of Kitty Kind, Inc.
Kiri Blakely from her book, Can't Think Straight
Kiri Blakeley is a devoted volunteer at Kitty Kind, a New York City non-profit, no-kill cat rescue center located at Petco in Union Square.
Blakeley, a long-time Forbes writer, began volunteering for Kitty Kind 13 years ago. She helped match cats with families for five years before switching to cleaning cages and fostering. More recently, she helped care for cats that were victims of Hurricane Irene.
For most of her life, Blakeley has loved cats; she spent countless hours and a chunk of her own income saving stray cats.
“I lived by an empty lot in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and one day I noticed kittens gamboling about the area," she explained. "I started feeding them, then found them homes.”
Soon, Kiri realized the problem was far from over. The lot was filled with more strays. She joined other concerned women in her neighborhood to help these cats.
“We would set traps, usually with tuna, to lure the cats, and then get them fixed," she says. "If it was feral, we would put it back in the same place, and we would have winter homes there for the cats. If the cat was a kitten or friendly, we would find them homes or I would bring them into Kitty Kind.”
In one year alone, Blakeley spent $10,000 rescuing cats in her neighborhood.
While she no longer rescues cats on the streets, Kiri spends her time and energy helping those that find their way to Kitty Kind. Miriam Hibel, who is in charge of intake and the Foster care program at Kitty Kind says, “Whether Kiri is cleaning cages, reassuring frightened or stressed cats at the center, or fostering cats and kittens in need of nurturing, she is tireless, generous, and compassionate."
Recently, Blakeley fostered two kittens marked for euthanasia in a city shelter. Under her care, they became a purring, playful pair ready for adoption.
“In this all-volunteer organization, Kiri is one of the standouts," Hibel adds. "Her impact has been both long-term and far-reaching."
Kiri believes that animals give us more than we can give them. She had three cats at the time her 10-year relationship fell apart. Her cats helped her get through the difficult time. No matter how depressed or angry she was, all she had to do was look at their sweet faces to feel better.
The fact that animals give us so much drives Kiri to help them as much as she can through Kitty Kind.
Petside.com is donating $500 to Kitty Kind as a big "Thanks!" to Kiri Blakeley.