About Us Feral Cat Project Leadership
Lauren joined Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project in July 2009. She came to the organization with a long history of serving in the public sector and a lifelong commitment to animals. After completing a B.A. in geography at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, she spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Nicaragua where she adopted Pepino, her first feral-turned-house-cat. Upon returning to the United States, she spent five years working as the Volunteer Program Manager at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Wildlife Center. It was in this position that she saw the vital link between helping animals and the application of sound professional practices. To strengthen her skills, she entered graduate school and received an M.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences with a focus on leadership and organizational development.
Lauren then founded FORAY Consulting & Associates out of a commitment to bring professional consulting services to those working in the field of animal welfare. She has worked with organizations locally, nationally and internationally to help them improve vital processes and learn from their experience. She is a certified compassion fatigue specialist and provides compassion fatigue workshops for those immersed in the field of animal welfare so they can maintain a healthy and resilient stance.
Lauren has served as a board member and Fundraising Chair for the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest as well as Crooked Trails. She currently serves on the advisory committee for Grey Muzzle.
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Kathy comes to the Feral Cat Spay & Neuter Project after a long career as an Executive Assistant at the Woodland Park Zoo where her duties included administrative work, event planning, marketing, guest relations,and revenue tracking. She also volunteered at the zoo's jaguar exhibit, and as a Wildlife Care Assistant at the PAWS Wildlife Center for 5 years.
Her concern and compassion for free-roaming cats blossomed in 2000 when she began managing a colony near her home. Prior to joining FCSNP, she spent 6 months caring for, and eventually re-homing a feral cat that had taken up residence under the administrative offices at the zoo.
Kathy and her partner share their home with a kitten-like 15 year old white Persian-mix cat, Scratch, and their 8 year old sensitive and outspoken Chihuahua, Bodey. In her spare time, she loves to play games, watch movies, do crafts, read, and write. Kathy earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at the UW, focusing on environmental science and conservation.
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Maria joined the staff after a long history as a relief technician with Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project. Maria first came on board as a relief tech back in 2006. She has also worked on the Kitten Clinics in 2007 and 2010. Much of Maria’s work has been in day practices and emergency clinics, but she is most happy when she is able to focus on low-cost, high-quality spaying and neutering. She’s a firm believer that this is what benefits the animals most.
During the Katrina Animal Rescue, Maria volunteered with Pasado’s Safe Haven and saw firsthand what happens in a devastated area when animals are left to fend for themselves, and this further confirmed for her that aggressive spay/neuter is what will make the biggest difference. Upon her return, she worked on the Spay Station and found her niche.
She comes to us directly from the NOAH Spay/Neuter Clinic in Stanwood.
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Dr. Janet Gray
Dr Janet Gray joined the staff of the Feral Cat Spay Neuter Project in August of 2009 as the staff surgeon. She came from the Humane Society of Indianapolis, where she spent the past 7 years treating and advocating for the shelter animals. Prior to that, she practiced at a family-owned small animal clinic in Indianapolis.
Janet grew up in Wisconsin, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin, with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She spent her spare time as a vet student volunteering at the Dane County Humane Society (DCHS), in Madison, Wisconsin. It was while she was at DCHS that Janet was first exposed to the world of shelter medicine. It was love at first sight.
Janet enjoys sewing, gardening, reading, walking with her husband, and playing with her 4-legged kids.
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For many years, Rita LaFuze has rescued homeless cats, many with kittens that eventually were homed. Rita began her career in the veterinary medical world in the 1990’s at a private feline practice in Edmonds. Her keen perception of cat behavior and her deep compassion for all living things led her to become highly trained as a veterinary assistant.
Rita not only has experience with robust pet cats, but also worked many hours caring for intensively ill cats from all types of disease: cancer, renal failure, poisoning, infections. Her knowledge base is broad, yet her compassion never wanes. Each cat’s life is valuable and deserves the best care in her hands. FCSNP was lucky to add Rita to our team in 2006.
Board of Directors
Dr. Sandy Willis
Dr. Sandy Willis is a small animal internal medicine consultant for Phoenix Central Lab in Everett. Phoenix is one of the few privately owned veterinary labs doing blood work for all species of animals in the United States. She graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 and became board certified in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1992.
Dr. Willis is past president of the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association and serves as a Washington representative to the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is co-host and creator of “Ask the Vet” radio show airing Sunday mornings on AM 570 KVI. As an internist, Dr. Willis’ particular interests are diagnostic testing and diseases of the endocrine system and the liver. She is passionate about educating pet owners to be the best health advocates in partnership with their family veterinarian.
Dr. Willis serves as staff for Bill The Black Cat, Lilly the Himalayan, and Tiger (you guessed it, the tiger cat). Dr. Willis’ hobbies are triathlons and cycling, the arts, wine
appreciation, and reading, the latter two hobbies preferably enjoyed with one of the aforementioned cats.
Lucia is an employee of Puget Sound Bank/KeyBank since 1982. She is currently Branch Manager of The Holman Road Keycenter, located in the North Seattle/Ballard area. Lucia's interests/hobbies include sports, cooking and organizing.
Previous board positions and non-profit organization involvement include: The Ronald McDonald House; The Seattle Milk Fund; NW Burn Foundation; University District and Greenwood Chamber of Commerce; Business Networking International; and The Shoreline School District Advisory Council. Lucia is a cat lover and servant to M.J., her orange and white tabby.
Vicki has worked for Puget Sound Gastroenterology, PS for the past 22 years. Prior to that, she worked in the veterinary field as an Animal Health Technician where she worked in several emergency veterinary hospitals as well as a small animal clinic. She then went to work at Cats Exclusive Veterinary Hospital where she truly learned the ins and outs of feline healthcare, and became forever dedicated to cats.
In 1998, she joined the Feral Cat Spay and Neuter Project as a volunteer and has contributed her time and skills in different aspects of the clinic since. She has done check-in and check-out, surgical prep, anesthesia, tabling at events, trapping and being a valuable resource for the Project.
In 2001 she turned to TNR as her primary focus after seeing a small ball of fluff sitting on a curbstone not three feet from traffic! She asked for a mentor to help her learn the ropes and has brought many ferals into the clinic since. She believes in the ‘one cat at a time’ mission and is committed to improving the lives of free roaming cats one at a time.
Vicki currently lives amongst four feral born cats, two of which were her first foster kittens. She learned quickly that keeping them was not going to work for all the cats needing homes and has since only added those ferals that were in need of veterinary care. Vicki’s owners are Clarence, Sissy, Pierre, and Dilly. Each has a personality unlike the next and that’s what she finds so fascinating in this world of felines.
Shelby has worked for the Bellevue School District as assistant general counsel since 2002. She learned about TNR in 1999 when she and her husband, Tim, adopted two feral kittens that were living in the alley behind their apartment in Japan. She currently volunteers with FCSNP at community events, educating the public about TNR.
Shelby and Tim share their home with several former free roaming cats that adopted them, including Slim, who is pictured here, and the two former feral kittens from Japan. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, and cross-country skiing.
Whitney began doing TNR with her mom when she was 13 years old. As soon as she could drive it was her job to shuttle the cats to and from surgery. She and her mom quickly became involved in fostering and adoption as well because many of the cats they trapped were friendly free-roamers who were adoptable.
Whitney is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with nine years experience, seven of which has been in feline specialty practices or feline centered shelters/non-profits.
Whitney is currently studying law at Seattle University School of Law while focusing on Animal Law. This shift of focus from Veterinary Medicine to Law is borne out of the simple, yet profound desire to increase the quality of life for animals by utilizing law as a tool for large scale change and improvement.
Whitney has been with FCSNP in a variety of roles for about five years. She has done LVT relief work at the clinic by running prep, administering anesthesia, etc. In fact she was one of two LVTs who ran our first ever kitten clinics and did so the following year as well! Whitney also was the executive assistant one day a week and now serves on the board of directors. She is completely committed to the mission of FCSNP and loves what FCSNP is able to achieve by staying focused on spay/neuter!
Whitney shares her home with three lucky felines, all of them rescues, of course.
Siris, Maynard (FIV+), and Fruit (former feral, and that is a former for-real-feral!)
Melanie is Director, Marketing and Brand Management at Premera Blue Cross of WA, OR and AK. Previously she was Managing Director of Ruth: Edelman Integrated Marketing, the marketing division of Edelman, the largest independently held public relations firm in the world. She shares her time and resources to assist with marketing and public relations projects.
Melanie was introduced to Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project and the gravity of feline homelessness at a community street fair and became an instant contributor and supporter to the cause of helping feral and free-roaming cats live happier, healthier lives. A long-time cat lover, she is mommy to former feral Louie and his indoor Burmese brothers Leopold and Theodore.
In addition, she joins her neighbors in caring for a small colony of well-fed feral and free-roaming cats - Shadow, Miss Kitty, Mac, Gabby, Precious, Rumple and occasionally Clyde, Nina, Cosmo and Sharkey — most of which have benefitted from FCSNP's spay and neuter services.
She has served on the board of the Pride Foundation, and as a commissioner on the Seattle Commission for Lesbians and Gays. She enjoys fitness; kickboxing,bicycling, good food and wine, and making her fur-kids go crazy for "Da Bird."
- Christine Wilford, DVM
- Daniel Smith, Attorney, Millar & Smith, PLLC
- J.A. Woodfield, DVM, ACVIM, Northwest Cardiology
- Janet Fagan, Artist
- Jeri A Hastava, Technical Advisor, Leap of Faith Web Design
- Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, College of Veterinary Medicine,
University of Florida
- Rick Hall
- Virginia Dalton, Seattle Animal Control
- Jennifer Hillman, Director, Western Region, HSUS
- Lea Lucky, Manager, Animal Relocation, ASPCA