When I started to write this article, it began with two adorable cats who helped welcome dozens of foster kittens, and then a puppy, into their fur-ever home.
But then I dug more into my new friend Rebecca Williams and knew I couldn’t stop at the kitties. (Sorry Rebecca, I just had to!)
We can START with the adorable cats though!
Rebecca is a volunteer and Senior Keeper at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL. With her obvious love of felines, she eventually became a foster parent to abandoned and needy cats.
The first fosters were a brother and sister pair she took in 5 years ago when still just an intern at Big Cat Rescue. The duo, female Justine and male Jaime, were about a year old at the time. They have happily been with her since.
Since then…she’s fostered over 85 cats and kittens!!!
While Jaime is not really interested or bothered in raising kittens, he does seem to be there to share in big brother snuggles.
Also maybe when they leave their kitty stroller unattended or need a bit of shenanigans in their lives.
Justine’s motherly instinct shines through for the needy babies though. Normally a shy cat, it takes a while to win this girls trust.
Over the years, she has become very attached to Rebecca. Now, when fosters are being doted on, Justine decided she had to be included too and is always near.
Sometimes she will put them in their place with a hiss and a bop on the head if they are being too naughty. This is exactly what the kittens need to learn and what only another feline can teach.
Most of the time she’ll let them sleep next to her and enjoys sharing their kitten food occasionally. However she may demand their kitten beds in return!
It never gets easier but Rebecca knows in her heart just why she does it.
“Giving up my foster kittens is the hardest thing I have ever done but this right here is my motivation. Luke was only 15oz when I got him, he was sick and required injections, fluids and syringe feeding for about a week. At one point I didn’t think he would make it. But he did.
He was adopted by my good friend Cindy and has the best life imaginable. He has dog and cat brothers and sisters to look after him and put up with his crazy antics, and the best mom in the world! I am so happy for this little man. This is what fostering is all about, loving them for a little while so they can be loved forever “
But recently there has been a new and different face in the Williams’ household.
This is 10-week-old, baby Chihuahua Kiwi. Pause for heart explosions….
Kiwi was surrendered to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and when Rebecca saw her face, she knew it was time to help the miniature canine.
She picked Kiwi up from another fosterer Lori, who knew Rebecca’s home would be just what the baby needed.
The pup is the first dog that Justine and Jaime have ever met and Rebecca’s first canine foster baby.
Initially, Justine was very confused because Kiwi is about the same size as a kitten but clearly smells very different. The first time Kiwi barked was definitely interesting!
After being quite unsure, Justine has adapted really well to having a puppy around. She lets her sleep on the bed and tolerates her naughty puppy behavior (for the most part!)
Rebecca believes Kiwi really likes having Justine around too. She likes to run around the kitchen with her and steal her catnip toys.
“I always tell my cats that they would not be alive if it was not for a foster program. So I think it is fitting that they are helping (in their own way) save other animals who would otherwise not have a chance at life.”
What she may be too humble to admit, is that she is an absolutely amazing person who has dedicated her life to ALL animals.
They are sure to sense her loving, calm and happy nature which no doubt allows them to react the same in return.
Rebecca is part of a group founded by more past and present amazing animal heroes from Big Cat Rescue, Scott Lope and Jennifer Ruszczyk. Animal Warriors is a group of like minded individuals from all walks of life, who share a common goal of helping animals.
They have active volunteer groups in both Florida and North Carolina and Rebecca can be found at numerous functions, volunteering her free time.
Going back to 2014, her Facebook and Instagram pages are FILLED with adorable animal shots, volunteering events and caring for creatures of all sizes.
I’m sure there were many more to mention, but I spent a “stalky” amount of time going through them and had to limit myself to the last 4 years! =)
Whether if be stopping by to volunteer at the local SPCA and share some love with the cats at the facility…
…to helping repair fences at Equestrian Inc. Equine Rescue…
I thoroughly enjoyed one of her more recent posts from another animal filled day of enjoyment. This photo prompted those who know her to exclaim, “Only you would hug a hen!”
She is always ready to help out the Big Cat Rescue crew too. This could be cleaning enclosures, doing enrichment with the animals or travelling to help promote their cause with pure dedication.
Here she and another unbelievable animal hero, Jenn Leon, the director of animal outreach at Big Cat Rescue, helped Cat Man Chris share the plight of big cats with Jackson Galaxy at Cat Camp 2018 in New York.
Just this weekend, the two ladies most recently helped advocate for greyhounds and ending dog racing in Florida. They spent hours passing out flyers and talking with people in support of ProtectDogs.org.
I did apologize for not accompanying them to CatCon 2018 though. She helped at the joint Big Cat Rescue and Cole and Marmalade booth, and I was very happy Chris had a “meownitor”! HAHA
But my favorite part of each of these photos, is the contagious smile on her face in every…single…one.
You can tell that helping the “voiceless have a voice”, brings her a sense of peace and unrivaled happiness.
So while Rebecca is just ONE of the many outstanding and extraordinary volunteers at Big Cat Rescue, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to showcase what she does every day.
We are all very blessed to have such a selfless soul in the world! Thank you for all you do Rebecca!
Remember to Adopt, Don’t Shop and always Spay/Neuter!
Related story (and another Rebecca fantastic tale!): New Tempurrary Employees Find Pawffice Work Is Harder Than Expected!