It’s tough to believe that someone has the job title “Kitten Lady,” but Hannah Shaw is the woman lucky enough to hold it.
She devotes her life to saving lives. The day
she stumbled upon her first orphaned kitten,
“my whole world changed!” she said.
Hannah discovered that very few resources were available for neonatal kitten care and
that many shelters aren’t equipped to handle
their unique needs, which would sometimes
“I found my first orphaned neonatal kit-
ten about eight years ago,” she said. “Once I
discovered the extreme challenges they face,
I felt compelled to step in and become the
hero they so clearly need.”
Without specialized, around-the-clock
care, they stand no chance of survival.
“Once I began to rescue orphans, I started
finding them everywhere and receiving call
after call asking for my help,” Hanna said.
“After a few years of taking in kittens from
the streets, I started to work with local shel-
ters, offering to save their neonatal kittens
rather than let them be euthanized simply
for being too young.”
Hannah’s project, Kitten Lady, is about
more than just rescue. She makes herself
available for lectures, trains shelters in
kitten care, helps manage anti-cruelty
campaigns, lobbies for policy changes,
and teaches others how to build sus-
As she’s grown in her career as a “pro-
fessional cat lady,” Hannah has seen a tre-
mendous gap in public awareness about neo-
natal kittens and wants the animal advocacy
world to look at the struggles kittens face
on the streets and in our shelter systems.
“Saving neonatal kittens requires specialized
knowledge,” she said. But with some training
and a little experience, anyone can do it.
Hannah’s hard work pays off, but she
still faces challenges. As Kitten Lady’s
reach expands, she’s faced with more
opportunities to save lives. “My great-
est challenge is scaling in capacity so
I can say yes when a shelter wants help
developing a program or when an orphan
needs me to come to the rescue,” she
said. Funding is also a factor, which cov-
ers everything from basic necessities to
expanding the program to advocacy work.
Hannah continues motivating those
around her with outreach. “Knowing that
Kitten Lady is inspiring so many people to
save lives gives me tremendous motivation
to continue the push to change the world
for kittens. I truly believe that once people
understand the challenges these neonates
face and have the tools to save them, it will
be a new day for orphaned kittens. And until
that day comes, I’ll be here ... sticking up for
the little guys!”
Elisa Jordan is a Southern California freelance writer
specializing in pets. She has a terrier, Gidget, and
a cat, Izzy.
BY ELISA JORDAN
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