Behind The Lens: Giving Back To The Community & Cat Town



Early on in my photography career, I decided that I wanted to give something back to the community with the skills that I have. I wasn’t sure how I could help, only that I should. It became even more important to me right after the 2016 elections. It felt like I was seeing more and more bad things happening out in the world and I felt powerless to take action to make any sort of change.

Martin Luther King Jr once said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” That quote has always stuck with me and even though I felt powerless in the wake of so much political turmoil, I decided that I would do something even if it was small and I would try to make a corner of the world a better place than I found it.

And that’s when I found Cat Town as I was driving through Oakland one day on an errand. It was fate. As soon as I arrived back home, I did some research and discovered that Cat Town is an incredible place where they save Oakland’s cats that are most at risk of being put down at a shelter and rehabilitate them in their cafe & adoption center as well as a foster program. They save hundreds of at-risk cat lives every year.  I found out that they are always looking for volunteers to help with the adoption center that is open to the public. I immediately signed up to be a volunteer and go in for training.

After hearing more about their programs, I ended up meeting another volunteer who was fostering a sweet but traumatized little black cat. She had a sad backstory that breaks my heart but somehow she still is a wonderful, special cat with so much love to give. Within minutes of hearing about this cat, I was already in love and knew without a doubt that she was the cat for us. Paul and I visited her foster parents and met her in person soon after and fell even more in love with her. We signed the papers and adopted her right away and named her Iona. She has been our hilarious, sassy yet sweet and loving cat ever since.

As soon as we adopted Iona, I was in love with the work that Cat Town does at the adoption center and cafe but also the foster program that goes unseen by a lot of the cafe visitors. It became really important to me to help these foster cats get adopted and find them forever homes just like Iona. Since then, I have been a volunteer photographer for cats in the foster program and doing my best to help these cats that wouldn’t have a chance or even be alive if it wasn’t for Cat Town. If Cat Town wasn’t around, we never would have found Iona and I know she’s changed our lives for the better.

Cat Town does incredible work and I believe strongly in helping these animals get out of overcrowded shelters that are really scary to them. I urge everyone to head over to the adoption center and cafe to spend time with the cats and enjoy the amazing space. Every time you visit Cat Town, your visit and entry fee supports their amazing and life-saving (and life-changing) work. They are also always looking for more volunteers and fosters. You can donate, sign up to volunteer, or schedule a visit on their website (here) and help make this little corner of the world a better place.