Volunteerism. Or, How to Get Kitties to Their Forever Homes and Look Great Doing It.

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40s-Inspired Gothic Fashion

Thanks to the inspiration of a dear friend with a huge heart and an even bigger love of kitty cats, Mr. Kitty and I have gotten involved with a group that coordinates volunteer-driven transports for rescued kitties. This group is designed to remove the logistical barriers when an adopter falls in love with a kitty whose shelter or foster home is far from the forever home. Coordinators plan a route and then approved volunteers sign up to take short legs of the journey, forming a “love train” to bring each kitty home. Each driver only has to go about 60 miles each way. Occasionally, a volunteer who happens to be flying along a particular route will even escort the cat across the country by plane.

40s-Inspired Gothic Fashion

This was my outfit of choice on our most recent transport. Β We met another volunteer at LAX who had flown the kitty in from the east coast. Β We then took her on to her next stop on the way to Northern California.

Sometimes we wonder, can’t a person in California find a cat to rescue somewhere closer than Virginia? But the bottom line is, our hearts want what they want, and if spending a couple of hours in the car can help bring incredible happiness to someone, it’s WELL worth the time and gas money.

40s-Inspired Gothic Fashion

My mom got involved with volunteerism through her love of dogs (she did Pet Assisted Therapy for several years) and I’m thankful that her experience bestowed in me a love of doing volunteer work. I always wanted to do P.A.T. with our Maine Coons but it’s such a huge time commitment, so when my friend told us about these kitty transports I was delighted to find an animal-related opportunity that fit my schedule. I don’t get to do it as much as I would like to, but each small effort I am able to participate in fills me with a satisfaction that can rarely be beat. Plus, Mr. Kitty does all the driving. πŸ™‚

Do you participate in any kind of volunteer work? In what ways are you passionate about helping others?

All images and text Β© Sophistique Noir Gothic Fashion Blog. Do not use any photos or text from this blog without providing a credit to me and a link back to the original post.


  1. What a gorgeous outfit! I love that sweater. I don’t really do much yet … Well, except teach college and work on my diss. But when it’s all over I’d really like to volunteer at assisted living homes and adult communties by lecturing on art history and taking the folks (if possible) to local museums. I learned about this kind of volunteer work when Mom was in the hospital and there was talk of rehab at an assisted living home. The nurse and I had a very long coversation about how our elderly are treated with less and less compassion and dignity, and how they crave intellectual stimulation that is enjoyable and social. She told me about volunteering as a lecturer and I thought it would be an awesome idea. Not only will it put me in contact with folks who have tons to share about their lived history, but I can continue giving back to the previous generations in my Mom’s name. A win-win situation. πŸ™‚

    Kitties are very lucky to have you and Mr. Kitty helping them get to their forever homes.

    • Volunteer lecturing does sound like an excellent way to contribute! I’ve always wanted to volunteer with seniors. That’s what I hoped to do with the Pet Assisted Therapy, but it’s just not going to work with long-haired cats. I can imagine it can be emotionally challenging, but so rewarding to give back to those who have given so much in their long lives. I think not having kids has made me less self-centered about family, and more acutely aware of the need for giving and loving outside of family. Plus enough people have told me over the years, “If you don’t have kids, no one will be there for you when you are old!” I’d love to help make sure that is NEVER true, for anyone! Your mom would be so happy to know you wish to be so giving in her memory.

      • I don’t buy that bull that “if you don’t have kids no one will take care of you.” Mom had four kids. FOUR. And there was only one, me, who took care of her and visited her on a regular basis. The other three did nothing to help. Can you imagine if my parents didn’t have me 8 years after their last one? She (and my Pop) would have been alone for the majority of their adult lives. BOOOO!

        Yes, there are people like us who will make sure that our elderly are visited, listened to, and treated with the utmost dignity. It’s too bad about the long haired kitties. πŸ™ I can just imagine the “oooohhhhs” and “ahhhhhsss” when your kitties walk into an elderly home! HA! Those kids are pretty darned epic.

  2. This sounds wonderful. I really wish there was something like that around my area. I’ve been doing some volunteer work to built my resume but I look no where near as amazing as you when I work! :3

    • Volunteerism is an excellent way to build a resume! I wish more young people thought that way. In addition to experience, you get to learn at a young age how great it feels to give. Good for you!!

  3. Gorgeous outfit! What a great way to help unite kitties with a forever home! I briefly was a Foster parent for abandoned feral kittens. They were a brother and sister that were 3 weeks old, had to be bottle fed. That was 4 years ago, they are still with me so I sort of failed at the whole “fostering” thing!

    • Lol! I can only imagine the bond you formed with those kitties, nurturing them and no doubt worrying about them until they grew healthy and independent. I can’t blame you one bit for keeping them – I wouldn’t be able to part with babies after an experience like that. I’m sure they have a wonderfully happy life with you!!

  4. Well, it’s indeed really curious why poeple would adopt kittens from the other side of the country while I’m sure there are shelters nearby, but it’s a great cause nontheless. πŸ™‚ I worked at animal hospital amd ahwlter during my university years, we – me and other volunteers – looked after the animals until their recovery and organized open days, adoption weekends and took them to all kinds of events to help them find a new home. We also ‘delivered’ the pets. πŸ™‚

    Your ouffit is vey lovely, I love the peplum-like shape. Weren’t you afraid to have your outfit buried in car hair? πŸ˜›

    • What a beautiful way to contribute to the lives of kitties! Caring for them when they are sick and homeless is just about the most compassionate thing you can do. I imagine at times it would be heartbreaking, too, but wonderful that there are people there who will do everything they can to help the helpless.

      My outfit was fairly safe from kitty hair, since there is very little actual contact during transports. Kitties can be let out of their carriers only briefly to offer food, water and a litter box (only while the car is stopped and all doors/windows closed) but they are usually scared and don’t want to come out anyway. But just in case, I’m always armed with a lint roller in every car. πŸ˜‰

  5. That’s such a nice thing to do! πŸ™‚ I don’t do any volunteer work but I donate money to charity every month.

    • That’s wonderful!! Money is one thing that every non-profit group always needs. It’s incredibly giving for you to set some aside every month! So many people only think about it during the holidays, which never made a bit of sense to me. It means so much more to give because it’s from your heart than because the calendar says its time!

  6. What a great program! It’s lovely to think of the chain of kitty loving people getting cats to their new homes. And your outfit for kitty transport is fabulous. You look absolutely smashing!

  7. I volunteered with a wild life rehab & sanctuary. Unfortunately they had to move away to aquire more land, but I get to visit every few years. It was amazing working with baby opossums, baby squirrels, fawns, fixes, bobcats, tigers, cougars, woodchucks, minks, coyotes, & many others. Unfortunately I have not been able to find anything else in the area to volunteer. I do work with animals professionally, though.

    • Wow – what a wealth of experience and opportunity! How sad that they moved away, but if they needed more land then I’m guessing it’s because they were growing, which means success and helping more animals. I envy you working with animals for a living! Sometimes I really think that’s the direction I should have gone. I toss around the idea of becoming a veterinary assistant when I retire from Web development (which I plan to do when I am 50).

  8. Aaaaaw! ItΒ΄s so nice from you to volunteer for a pet rescue agency β™₯ I think Mr. Kitty and you are just amazing people, just the type world needs to be a better place. I am sure you are generating tons of good karma with this little-huge action. Seriously, guys, youΒ΄re the best.

    I hope you have a very merry Christmas, you do deserve it πŸ™‚

    Regards from Bucharest!

  9. I really enjoy volunteering and I’d love it if more people found causes close to their heart to support. I currently volunteer for a charity that supports writers, but I’ve volunteered for children’s charities in the past. I love those shoes πŸ™‚

  10. I love this skirt! The skirt flare and the peplum top make such a cute combination.

    This is unrelated to the post, but I have to share! It’s too big of a coincidence not to. I’ve been following this blog for a long time (though I don’t comment often ^_^; ), and I happen to be a huge typology nerd, so I was always trying to figure out your MBTI type. I suspected that you were an INFJ like me because you seemed to exhibit strong Ni with Se influence, and your fashion sense is very similar to mine.

    I’m an artist/graphic designer, but for several years now I’ve been struggling with paralyzing Ni perfectionism and weak Se that makes it hard for me to be productive. I have tried to find any advice I could about this problem, and talk to other INFJ artists about how they deal with it. It didn’t occur to me until recently to see what INTJ artists had to say about it, also being Ni-Se types. So the other day I googled “INTJ artists” and the first result I clicked on was a thread on an MBTI forum. I was reading one response, and halfway through, I suddenly noticed the avatar… It was a picture of you! And the username was VictorianKitty!

    I couldn’t believe it. What are the odds I’d run into you elsewhere on the vast internet, without even trying?

    (And I was right about your fashion sense indicating Ni-Se. Booyah!)

    It’s funny because ever since I found this blog, I’ve sort of thought of you as the type of woman I would ideally, yet realistically, mature into. It’s more than the elegant image you project with your fashion. You have an authentic poise that manifests in your dress but seems to come from a deeper place. I must have been picking up on the fact that, being of similar stock but older (hence more mature) than me, your Se is more integrated into your personality. I still have a very love-hate relationship with mine.

    Sorry for the rambling… I just thought it was an incredible coincidence, and also a good way to tell you why I admire you so much. πŸ™‚

    • That IS a crazy coincidence! I had forgotten about that forum – I discovered it back when I was really researching introversion shortly after a friend told me about a book called The Introvert’s Advantage. The whole journey really led me to embrace my personality type as a valuable commodity that is actually appreciated by the right people, rather than beat myself up for needing to “fix” something that shallow society perceives as “wrong.”

      It’s awesome that you had me pegged as INFJ. In tests, I vacillate between INTJ and INFJ. Those questions that distinguish between Thinking/Feelings always turn out to be the ones I am “stuck” on. Not just that I feel both, but that I feel both in such equal proportions that I truly cannot pick just one answer, or even go with gut instinct, in most of those cases. But I do fall just a bit more toward INTJ, it seems.

      I can’t say how I became so comfortable with the Se. It definitely took decades for me to achieve. I think a lot of it had to do with growing comfortable and confident with myself. It’s also about practice: Every day at work, I have no choice but to fake it till I make it. πŸ˜‰ This forces me to dig deep into a side of myself that is indeed very inferior, and makes me a more well-rounded person. But I’m still most content when I can set it aside and let my Ni and Fi shine. That’s when I’m truly being myself.

      Your thoughtful and profound comment means a lot to me, and I’m honored to be a role model to someone who is so committed to knowing and understanding themselves. Introspection is far too rare in humans, and I value it immensely!

  11. Cute! So far my only contribution has been as a kitty adopter. I got the little underfed black kitty who was hiding when all the people would walk through because she was scared. She’s still scared of new people but has otherwise blossomed into a kind, loving girl. She’d been in the shelter for months because she wasn’t initially outgoing.

    • Aww, it’s wonderful that your adoption turned out so well! Those scared, shy kitties do get overlooked at shelters. Its tragic. It’s SO hard to judge personality under those circumstances, in any case, but especially if the cat is already in the quiet side. You are wonderful for taking the chance on her, and giving her the environment she needed to blossom!

  12. Kudos! I knew you were a great gal and this further proves it! I’m glad you posted this to maybe jog some others into seeking where they can help. People might not think of the fact that it doesn’t require money – or a large commitment of time to do a lot of good for others. If everyone did as you did, and sought out a way to volunteer in an area close to their hearts – how very improved our world would be!

    Since you asked, I’ll share too! : )
    I’m an avid letter writer, so I found 2 charities to volunteer for writing letters. My very favorite is Chemo Angels, where I write encouraging letters to my assigned person through the duration of their battle with cancer. I’ve been doing it for about 5 years now and I think I’ll go on doing it forever! It really makes me happy!
    More Love Letters is another charity I like, and if you can write ONE encouraging letter you can participate in their Love Letter Bundle assignments.

    My other love that I can use to help others is my favorite craft – crochet. Project Linus and Newborns in Need are two that I regularly donate to but there are plenty out there!

    • You are so right – there a SO many different needs and ways to volunteer, beyond what most people think when they hear the word. Only the BIG organizations (like Make A Wish, etc) are totally money-focused. There are small groups everywhere with fun opportunities that meet real needs! All we have to pay is the gas money for kitty transports, which isn’t bad when we use my fuel-efficient economy car.

      I LOVE the volunteer work you described doing! I had no idea letter writing could be done as an organized volunteer undertaking. What a BEAUTIFUL way to enrich someone’s life. I teared up just reading that right now! Good for you for having such a huge heart and opening it to helping others.

  13. Yay for helping rescue kitties πŸ˜€ My Kuro Shinigami is a rescue – he was a street kitten before he got found and then adopted by us.

    Most of the volunteer work I’ve done has been conservation work up in the mountains – everything from fencing off vulnerable woodland near the treeline high on mountain slopes to laying stone paths so people don’t ride/walk/churn through wetland habitat at a local nature reserve. I like stuff that’s physically demanding and challenging – there’s actually a group in the UK called ‘Green Gym’ because hard work is good exercise!

  14. Cats are the best and that black suit is AMAZING.

  15. I don’t know how you make this look so sassy but it’s fantastic! I wish you had a line of clothes because I love so many of your outfits. But it’s more than that I think – you manage to put an entire look together and that goes beyond just an outfit. You’re like living art. πŸ™‚

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