Get to know the co-founder and CEO of Fearless Kitty Rescue located in Fountain Hills, Arizona.
@Fearless Kitty aka Kim Kamins and her team at Fearless Kitty Rescue have built an oasis for strays and abandoned kitties that are often found wandering the desert in excruciating heat and for owner-surrendered cats who might otherwise go to high-kill shelters. Fearless Kitty Rescue was founded on the belief that all cats and kittens deserve a chance to be a FEARLESS cat
Tell us about you and your history in animal welfare.
KK: I'm originally from Chicago and moved to Arizona 14 years ago. Lucky for me I no longer "work" except as a full time volunteer for Fearless Kitty Rescue. I am a retired police officer, a profession that taught me many things. I also have a B.A. in Industrial/Organization Psychology and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology. I'm the co-founder and CEO of Fearless Kitty Rescue and have done everything from helping create the organization, including the name and logo, scooping poop, mopping, getting kitties through ringworm to now running the Board of Directors. I started in rescue 9 years ago by volunteering at a local Petco which housed a rescue. After two years with that rescue, we started our own because we saw the future of animal rescue was changing and that rescue was not. We feel we are a very progressive animal rescue organization following and tracking everything (especially Social Media) and how it is impacting and supporting the work we do.
What are you most proud of in your career?
KK: I am, without a doubt, most proud of starting an amazing and successful cat rescue from the ground up. There are many people in rescue today but only a handful actually started the rescue they are involved with.
What did you want to make sure Fearless Kitty Rescue did differently than what you had observed in other rescues?
KK: The one thing we wanted to do from the very start when we created Fearless Kitty Rescue was to make sure the animals in our care were not living in cages while they waited for their forever home. We wanted to make sure we built an organization with enough resources to acquire a brick and mortar building (our first space in 2012 was 650 square feet, today we have 5200 square feet) so the kitties would have enough space to feel like they were not in a shelter/rescue setting. This included being large enough for them to be living in shared rooms (no cages), no sounds and smells of other animals, enough people (volunteers) spending time at the rescue where they were not alone for hours on end. Our goal was to create a facility that felt like a home for them not a shelter.
Name something related to animal welfare that you are super passionate about and want others to learn about?
KK: The impact of Social Media on saving lives. Three years ago I attended a Best Friends conference and a speaker there said "if you're in animal rescue and you are not on Social Media you need to get out of the game."
This had a profound impact on me and something I took very seriously. As a result we applied for and received a Maddie's Fund Innovation Grant to hire a part time person to do our Social Media. This position significantly changed the way we run our organization. After one year the grant ended but we knew that role was critical so we continue to find the funding to pay that position.
Tell us something about yourself people might be surprised to learn.
KK: The reason I became a police officer was because I was a victim of Domestic Violence. Once I was able to save my own life, then I went on to save the lives of others as a police officer. After I left law enforcement I still wanted to save lives, I don't think it was by accident that I became involved in animal rescue...saving the lives of kitties.
Who is your "animal welfare crush?"
KK: Julie Castle with Best Friends - I once told her when I have to speak in front of people about saving lives I try to "channel my inner Julie". She looked at me very funny :)
Thanks for the interview, Kim and all the wonderful things you do for the fearless kitties.
Want to see what it's like inside Fearless Kitty Rescue's free-roaming adoption center? Take a break from your day and click here to watch the Maddie Cam with all eyes on the adoptable cats!