August Volunteer of the Month- Mary Jonse

by Rebecca Reid • Posted in: Special Needs Pets, Volunteer of the Month, Volunteering

Austin Pets Alive! is proud to recognize our volunteer of the month for August, Mary Jonse.

Mary is an indispensable part of the APA! team, almost single-handedly giving an honest chance to one particularly challenging (but no less wonderful) group of animals: incontinent cats.


Here is what fellow APA!-ers have to say about her:

“Mary Jonse has practically turned her house into a sanctuary for APA!’s incontinent cats. She is currently fostering six (!!!) incontinent cats, all of whom need their bladders expressed several times/day. On top of that, she manages the mentor system for the Neonatal Foster Program. She also mentors for the cat program. AND, as if that weren’t enough, she feeds in the nursery at least once/week. I can’t even begin to figure out how she does all that without going crazy, but she does it with grace and never a complaint. She even has a business and human kids outside of APA!… it’s true! She’s a superhero.” -Anonymous
“Mary has single-handedly taken on one of the most difficult foster groups, incontinent cats. She has outfitted her home and has changed her personal life dramatically to accommodate these cats. She has been a volunteer for years and has always been helpful, friendly, and very nice to work with” -Jordana Moerbe, clinic manager 
“Mary is one of our most experienced and dedicated volunteers. She is always ready to help, and her commitment to helping kittens and cats is inspiring. She is absolutely one of our best volunteers!!” -Cat Foster Manager
“She is very dedicated, and helps save so many of our incontinent cats! She is truly a cornerstone of APA!.” -Dr. K, APA! veterinarian

Now it’s time to sit down with Mary and learn a bit more about how she became a superhero here at APA!:

How did you get interested in volunteering at APA!?

I decided to help APA! in 2009 as I saw Ellen Jefferson DVM decide to join APA! and heard the advertisements about them. I had been fostering for a small rescue group for a couple of years and  was impressed with the the resources APA! offered their fosters.

What are you most passionate about at APA!?

I am passionate about helping the animals in transition as many just need more time to find their forever homes (too young, medical conditions, behavior issues, etc.). Fosters provide the extra space and needed for the those in transition. The animals can in turn help fosters as people (such as students) can also be in transition and not ready to adopt an animal but want an animal companion.

What is your favorite thing to do at APA!?

My favorite place at APA! is the bottle baby nursery. So much cuteness and sweetness in there! Feeding kittens as young as one day with their umbilical cord attached is very rewarding.

What are some words of wisdom for new APA! volunteers?

My advice to new volunteers is to look at all the many programs APA! offers and find the one that works best for the time you have to spend and that you enjoy the most. There is something for everyone. APA! is a great group of people with a common passion for the caring of animals. It is amazing to meet people that share that passion.

Do you have a favorite cat at APA!?

I stumbled into fostering the truly special needs cats, the incontinent ones. It is very difficult to find a foster let alone a  forever home for them. Goldie has touched a special place for me as she came to us from AAC underweight (4.75 lbs), 9 years old with an injured tail (that had to be amputated) and led to her becoming incontinent. We have discovered she has many old injuries indicative of a hard life but she is the sweetest and affectionate cat that just wants to sit in a lap. I am proud to be able to give her the home she needs while she waits for her forever person to find her.