We had the good fortune of connecting with Lizzie Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lizzie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had been fostering kittens through the LA City Shelter for a couple of years. When you foster through a shelter, you lose control of who ends up with the baby you’ve raised since it was just weeks old. I realized that I could not only help myself find great homes for my foster kittens, but I could help lots of other people do the same all while teaching people more about the life of homeless cats and kittens.
What should our readers know about your business?
I run a 501(c)(3) animal rescue in Los Angeles – Kitty of Angels (www.kittyofangels.org). We help homeless cats and kittens in the shelter system and on the streets, focusing on the most at-risk population – neonatal kittens.
I started the rescue after fostering and volunteering with Los Angeles Animal Services. It was difficult having to bring kittens that I gave so much love and attention to back into the shelter for adoption, especially since the city shelter system doesn’t have an in-depth application process and often time are in such need of space that they give cats and kittens away for free. I didn’t want my kittens to ever see the inside of a shelter again. I also wanted to help my shelter volunteers and foster friends have the same. So I decided to start a rescue.
It started out very slowly with just me and some other people who fostered through the shelter, but after 5 years, we have about 100 approved fosters in our program and have helped almost 275 cats and kittens this year.
When you start a business, you have to wear a lot of hats. In the past I had a blog, so the website development and social media were a easy start for me. My day job was a corporate paralegal, so the business end wasn’t complete Greek. But as time went by and we grew bigger, I just didn’t have the time to do every single thing – especially while overseeing all the day-to-day foster needs. It was very difficult for me because I have a system (which was starting to crumble because of time constraints) and I don’t like asking for handouts, but I finally started asking for volunteers. Some of our fosters jumped in to do administrative duties, tackling things like reviewing adoption applications to scheduling spay/neuter surgeries. After that, I continued to reach out about other tasks like transport and bio write-ups. People were overjoyed to volunteer and it was a game changer. Because of our volunteers, we’ve been able to grow in leaps and bounds. Between 2020 and 2021, our intake increased almost 25% and I believe it is a direct correlation to our growth in volunteers.
What I want people to know about Kitty of Angels is that while we’re part of a field that can be very depressing and it’s easy to get weighed down and overwhelmed, we try to stay lighthearted and non-dramatic. From our TikTok videos to our karaoke fundraisers, we want to have fun while helping animals in need. We want to focus on what we’re doing now and how much more we’ll be able to do in the future with more donors, followers, fosters, volunteers and adopters. We’re excited about our future.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A week feels like a long time to be entertaining company even though LA’s a big place. But here are some suggestions for Santa Monica and Santa Monica adjacent since that’s where I spend most of my time.
In terms of accommodations, I’d say the Proper Hotel because it’s new and fun and has a great rooftop pool to make all your friends at home drool.
From there I’d say drinks at Chez Jay are a must. It’s kind of an institution around here and always fun with the nautical vibe.
If you’re looking for wine I can spend hours at Esters wine bar that has an amazing wine selection and killer snacks, plus their outdoor patio is pretty magical.
Malibu just feels like a hop skip and a jump away so I would definitely recommend Malibu Farm. Even though it can be overrun with tourists it’s still worth the wait. I get the frose, even if it’s freezing.
In between drinking, it’s nice to get a little into nature. Plenty of Malibu hikes to choose from and if you’re feeling really adventurous, make your way over to Topanga. In addition to a few fun hikes, they have a really cute main drag, or you watch a little Shakespeare outdoors at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. Don’t sleep on the food either, Inn of the Seventh Ray is a pure out-of-body experience.
I digress, back to Malibu. I really love steakhouses and Golden Bull has been fully revamped. I’d suggest that for dinner, plus they built a dynamite patio for COVID. It’s gorgeous.
You might be broke and suffering from gout at this point so I think I’ll stop there! Unless you feel up for karaoke…
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Honestly, there are a couple (probably more).
It might sound strange to people that a rescue would thank a municipal shelter because they can be vilified today, but I’d really thank Los Angeles Animal Services. They gave me a solid background in how shelters work (sometimes great, sometimes not) and taught me a lot about animal rescue generally. Our rescue wouldn’t be here without the background knowledge I got volunteering and fostering through them.
Also, Best Friends Animal Society has been absolutely instrumental in our continued success. They do a great job of working with all sorts of animal welfare programs from municipal shelters to sanctuaries to small rescues like ours by giving us a lot of resources and really support the work we do. I’m extremely thankful to be a part of their network.