Today the Venice Paparazzi Spotlight shines on Beach City Kitties Founder: Katelyn Michele .
How many years in Venice? What is your connection to Venice?
I’ve been in Venice 18 years. In college I took a road trip to California, and as soon I saw the Venice Boardwalk, I knew I was home. Four years later, I moved here from Chicago for good, and never looked back.
Tell us about your company?
I run Beach City Kitties, a non profit cat rescue, out of my Venice Beach bungalow, where I live with my husband-James, cats; Bella, Jinksie, Jem, Lil’ Bit, Willie and our chihuahua Pepper. We rescue kitties from the streets and high kill shelters, rehabilitate and foster them, spay/neuter and then find them chill forever homes. Beach City Kitties’ goal is to end the problem of homeless cats, make Los Angeles a “No Kill City” and have fun while doing it. We concentrate on cat rescue efforts in Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Playa Del Rey and Marina De Rey. After all, what kitty wouldn’t want to live by the beach? We throw fun adoption events and fundraisers in Venice and surrounding beach communities. Beach City Kitties philosophy is to combine beach lifestyle, creative Venice spirit and cat rescue. My passions include art, photography, media and events. We use these to build awareness, find forever homes and raise money for cat rescue.
How long in business, and how did you get started?
I’ve been in cat rescue for 5 years, but officially started my own rescue in June of 2016. I have always been a huge animal lover, but I was previously unaware that thousand of cats are killed in LA City and County Shelters every month. Even kittens are killed daily during spring/summer months! (Called Kitten Season). There are nearly a million homeless kitties on the streets in Los Angeles. When I found this out, I had to do something, so I started fostering kitties in my house, spaying and neutering, and finding homes for them, and before I knew it, it had become pretty much a full time job!
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
In the past 18 months, I’ve rescued, fostered and found home for over 100 kitties. There is no better feeling then not only saving a life but also giving someone their new BFF for the next 20 years.
I have a background in event, marketing, and street promotions, and have managed campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 companies. I also have a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. I’ve dabbled in writing, acting, modeling and TV hosting. I was born in Chicago, IL, grew up in Europe and been in Venice for the last 18 years. I started Beach City Kitties after two successful years at the Cat Club Rescue, where I was in charge of all Marketing, PR and fundraising, and headed up an Indiegogo campaign that raised nearly $20,000. While at the Cat Club I got us write ups in the New York Times, LA Weekly, Mashable, and Catnip Times.
Beach City Kitties is in the process of fixing up a 1954 Metro van, that will serve as as a mobile cat rescue center and will be out every weekend throwing pop up events at street fairs, art crawl, First Fridays, farmers’ markets, pier concerts, the boardwalk, etc. We’re also focusing on spaying and neutering as many neighborhood cats as possible this spring in order to reduce the number of unwanted kittens on the street and in shelter. We’ll be launching a huge fundraising campaign on YouCaring.com next month to raise money for kitten season.
What advice would you give someone starting out in your field?
My advice for people who want to get involved in rescue, is just focus on one kitty at a time! Its easy to get discouraged and feel like you’re not doing enough, when the problem is so huge. Know your limitations, and don’t feel like you have to save them all. Together we can make a difference, one kitty at a time! And please open your heart and home to a foster kitty/kitties. A lot of people are hesitant to foster because they think it will be too hard to give the kitty up when they find a home. And sure, it’s a little sad, but would you rather see that cat die alone in a shelter!? The sacrifice is well worth it. If you would like to get involved, don’t hesitate to reach out to Beach City Kitties. We are always in need of foster homes, volunteers, people to transport our cats, street team to help trap and neuter community cats, and of course donations!
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m constantly finding inspiration in my own furry babies. They’re all rescues, (four of them were “foster fails” haha) and they provide me with hours of love and entertainment. I am lucky to have a supportive husband, who allows us to bring dozens of foster kids into our home every year, and a great network of supporters. And, I of course live in the purrfect, location, a block from the Venice Boardwalk. When the stresses of cat rescue get to me, I just take a quick bike ride or walk on the beach to reset.
Favorite affirmation, mantra, or quote?
Janes Addiction is my favorite band, and I always felt that Venice like the embodiment of their music. Maybe thats why I immediately felt at home when I got here.
Favorite book, band or movie?
I love horror movies, but “the Shining” is the only one that really scares me. And of course, anything with cats. I recently watched a “StreetCat Named Bob”-very cute!
What causes do you support?
One of my favorite organizations is FixNation, a non-profit organization committed to cats, and to supporting Trap-Neuter-Return. They provide a free, full-time spay/neuter clinic for cats (Wednesday-Saturday) with two full-time veterinarians capable of sterilizing as many as 100 cats per day. They also provide low-cost, affordable spay/neuter services for tame pet cats. They loan out humane traps and equipment to the public free of charge, provide training on how to humanely trap feral cats and kittens, and offer guidance and information on long-term care and management for feral colonies. FixNation also partners with local humane pet stores and animal rescue organizations to facilitate the adoption of friendly strays and kittens.
What’s one thing we can do to make the world a better place?
Be positive and happy! Be friendly to strangers. And strange animals!
List 1-2 things on your bucket list, and 1-2 on your VENICE bucket list?
Anything else you want to share about yourself to the world? Fun facts.
To me Venice is a place where everyone is welcome and anything goes! You never know what’s going to happen, or who you are going to meet. And that eccentric, disheveled hippy you talk on the boardwalk, may be a homeless person, or may just be a billionaire.
Describe your perfect day in Venice? (start from morning to night)
My purrfect Venice day starts with my cats waking up for their breakfast by swatting me in the face, walking to the boardwalk for some coffee, lazing around in my sweats (or bikini if it’s summer), taking a cat nap, and then biking to happy hour!
What is your craziest or fondest Venice experience?
One of my favorite Venice Beach memories is when I used to live on the boardwalk near Rose, one summer an amazing Jimmy Hendrix cover band in full costume played on the grassy knoll outside my window every day for a week! It was awesome!