Dr. Kate Warpeha, PhD
My fondest memories are when an older cat gets adopted, especially if the person coming in intended on adopting a kitten. Every person has a cat that fits them, and it is great when it happens for cats young and old.
What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago? How long have you been a volunteer?
My son and I were walking by one day and we saw the cats, and we are cat lovers and decided to go in, and soon we adopted Claudia, our first PAWS cat.
I started volunteering with my son in the Family Service, eventually I also did the basic training for cats and dogs each, specializing in the cats, where I am a Level 2 now.
Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?
At Kitty City, I help clean or ask animal care if there are any cats upstairs who need socializing or interaction. At the Medical Center, I try to do whatever the volunteer coordinator and the animal care staff see is greatest need which has been socializing with the cats who have been relinquished or are new and/or ill in isolation, or have some trust issues. I write detailed comments on cat behaviors and hope that helps them get ready for foster care for eventual adoption more quickly. I would do it full time if I could, the cats are so amazing, and looking for good experiences with humans.
Is there one favorite experience or fondest memory?
I love the time I get to spend with Pierre, the charmer aged 13 at PAWS, but my fondest memories are when an older cat gets adopted, especially if the person coming in intended on adopting a kitten. Every person has a cat that fits them, and it is great when it happens for cats young and old.
How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
I am a biologist and chemist and while I do not study cats directly, I study plants and how they are important sensors of stress and how we can utilize these chemicals plants make to promote digestive health (microbiome), reduce inflammation (that precedes cancer and many neurological problems) and behavior--important for humans and cats and dogs. I encourage our biology majors to consider careers in animal care because our pets make us so happy.
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?
I love how organized the adoptions are and I am glad that people are given so much information. It is important to really interview people so humans and pets get the best experience and best match. The experienced volunteers and dedicated staff have really taught me something about making a difference for human-dependent animals.
Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets - or any other pets - at home?
Yes, we adopted lovely kitties ranging from four months to six years.
Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?
Yes, I have volunteered in an Angels with Tails, a couple fundraisers as well including a gala and a race.
What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?
I have learned a lot from the frequent efforts of the mentors, leads and the incredible knowledge of the cat behaviorist and I really appreciate the dedication of the staff in both Lincoln Park Adoption Center and Medical Center.