City Kitties is run entirely by volunteers, from our board of directors to our foster homes. We have no paid staff and rely on the generosity of our donors to continue our work.

City Kitties was founded in 2005 by Louisa Alexander & Lori Horwedel. Determined to be a part of the solution, Lou & Lori linked up with some amazing volunteer foster homes, found a rescue-friendly veterinarian, and with the help of volunteer attorney Lori Odessa, filed for a federal 501(c)3 non-profit status in 2007. Since then, City Kitties has grown to a collective of volunteers with a common goal: prevent suffering among helpless stray cats and kittens, and find loving homes for as many as possible.

core values

  • Small Rescue.  We recognize that we are not able to help all, or even a majority of cats and kittens in need. City Kitties prioritizes being able to help as many cats as we can while maintaining quality of care for our cats and kittens, and maintaining a level of commitment that can be reasonably managed by volunteer oversight. We focus our efforts primarily within the West Philadelphia and University City area.

  • Network of Foster Homes.  Recognizing the challenges of operating a centralized space, City Kitties operates solely as a network of foster homes. Foster homes are essential to our mission, and we value the personalized relationships with our foster parents.  We always provide ongoing support for foster homes (including centralized screening of adoptions and coordinating all vet care).

  • Quality Adoptions.  City Kitties is committed to ensuring to the best of our ability that all cats adopted through our rescue are adopted by responsible, loving forever homes. We reserve and exercise the right not to adopt cats to homes that are not a good fit, even when it means that the cat stays in foster care long term.

  • Low Operating Costs.  As a volunteer-run non-profit organization that is sustained exclusively by donations, the leadership of City Kitties is committed to a financial model that allocates a majority of donations to providing for the cats in our care. The board of directors works to ensure that 80% (or higher, when possible) of our income is dedicated towards veterinary services and supplies for our cats.

  • No-kill Rescue.  City Kitties does not euthanize animals to make space in our foster homes, and we do not euthanize animals for medical problems unless deemed humane and necessary by a veterinarian.

  • We Provide High-quality Veterinary Care.  All of City Kitties foster cats and kittens receive high-quality veterinary care. We will never turn away a homeless animal due to illness or injury, if we have the means and capacity to help. We make sure that all of our cats and kittens are fully vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and otherwise healthy prior to adoption.

  • Helping High Needs Cats When possible and within our financial means, City Kitties works to help care for cats and kittens that otherwise would not survive on the streets or in the shelter systems. This includes our “Meatball Fund” kitties who are particularly high needs cats and kittens that are currently within the shelter system and face being euthanized due to lack of resources to address their medical needs.

  • Collaborative Leadership.  City Kitties is aware that animal rescue work can be challenging and emotionally draining, particularly for volunteers in leadership positions.  As an organization, we are dedicated to supporting each other and maintaining a leadership model that allows us to focus our energy on rescuing cats in need.

  • Volunteer Run.  City Kitties is run exclusively by volunteers – including the Board of Directors, Coordinators, and Foster Homes.  This ensures that we are able to function with low operating costs, and dedicate a majority of our funding to caring for the cats and kittens in our care.