Change One Life

Jackie and Paul founded Change One Life in December 2012, a cat rescue that is a non-profit, volunteer-based grassroots group on the Canary Islands of Spain. They provide a sanctuary for abandoned cats, all of which have been rescued in the Southern area of Tenerife Island.

The rescue does not re-home any of the cats. 99% of the cats were once in homes, but then they were left behind and abandoned. From their mission statement: ‘Change One Life’ Cat Rescue provides a safe place for these cats to heal and be happy again. Homeless cats find in our Sanctuary not only a second chance at life but also and most importantly a loving forever home.

cats in sanctuary room
One of the rooms at the Sanctuary.

A conversation with Jackie

cats in sanctuary roomHow did Change One Life get started?
We started out a few years ago by providing water, food and care to homeless animals on the streets of our community. Later on, we moved onto rescuing and fostering. Having experienced great difficulties in finding suitable adopters to re-home our rescues, we then decided it was time for us to make a much greater commitment to make a real difference. So in December 2014, we launched our Cat Shelter project, and the goal was to start providing permanent housing to the cats that were already in temporary “foster care” – and from then on, to all our future rescues.

What is unique to your group vs. a traditional cat rescue? 
Traditional cat rescues, at least where we are based, usually work as a network of private rescuers, volunteers and foster homes. There are usually many more people involved in the whole process of rescuing, fostering and adopting the cats out. We do everything ourselves, and we take full responsibility of the cats we bring in.

cat and kitten cuddling

What other support do you provide to community cats besides the Sanctuary? 
Paul takes care of several feral cat colonies within our community on a daily basis. Every month, we supply approximately 60 kg of dry food, dozens of cans of wet food and gallons of water amongst several feeding stations. Paul spends about 40 hours a month in these tasks outside the Sanctuary, and his hard work on the streets has always played a key role in the success of our cat rescue operation.

stray cats at feeding station

Do you have any sponsors?
We do not have any commercial sponsors yet! What we do have is a Sponsorship program for our rescues. Supporters sign up to make a very small monthly contribution to help in their basic care. So far, we have 64 active sponsorships out of 160 needed.

cats in sanctuary room

Do you hold fundraising events? 
Yes, we do. We’ve held two online Charity Raffles and a T-fund (funds raised by getting a minimum amount of T-shirts sold). Additionally, there was a raffle organized by one of our supporters in the UK and tickets were sold amongst people in their local community. We also have an online charity shop where we sell our merchandising and all proceeds go towards funding our cat rescue and shelter.

cats in sanctuary room

Is there a rescued cat that stands out in your mind?
Bono was our first rescue in 2016; he holds a very special place in my heart. Besides the fact that he’s been profoundly traumatized by abandonment, he also suffers from strabismus and vision loss, which makes him extremely fearful and vulnerable. Upon abandonment, he found a hideout at a building parking lot nearby and we started bringing him food and water every day – but some neighbors did not want him there and kicked him out.

He can only see shadows and walks with great difficulty due to some permanent injuries in two of his legs. He was too scared to roam, so he would just wait for us at a corner to get his meals and then he’d spend the rest of the day lying under cars to get some shade. Every single minute he spent on the street he was at risk; we wanted to bring him in since day one, but he wouldn’t trust us. We could feed him, but we could not touch him. After seven long months of trying, we finally rescued him on January 16, 2016. Bono’s full rescue story, pictures and videos can be found here.

stray cat under car
Bono before
cat in sink
Bono now

Anything else we should know about the rescue?
At the beginning of 2015, our rescues were being fostered in a vacant apartment we managed to “borrow” – a small place full of cardboard boxes and old blankets. Since then, the number of rescues has doubled and thanks to hundreds of people from all over the world who supported our shelter project with generous donations, we raised enough funds to rent a larger place to provide now permanent housing to 17 cats and 1 dog. So much has been accomplished in just a year, but all our hard work and our rescues’ future will soon be at risk again if we cannot find the financial support needed to carry on. Our Sanctuary relies solely on private donations, and funds are often really difficult to raise.

cats in sanctuary room

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
Well, I guess the most fun fact about myself is that 15 years ago I didn’t really like cats much at all. Although I had been an animal lover all my life, I wasn’t particularly fond of felines until my teenage daughter brought in an orphaned kitten in a shoe box she had found in the garden next door; we named him Tommy. He was so unique, clever and funny that he won me over in spite of me! He was the reason why I decided to become a rescuer a decade later and the heart of our Cat Rescue project. He welcomed many of our rescues and even helped us with foster duties. Sadly, he crossed the Rainbow Bridge last year, on June 24, 2015, just a few months before his 14th birthday. It was devastating for us. He has a memorial corner at the Sanctuary and hopefully his legacy will live on for many more years to come.

gray and white cat

A huge thank you to Jackie for sharing Change One Life with us and for helping abandoned cats of the Canary Islands. The Sanctuary sounds like a wonderful forever home for the rescued cats. You can learn more about the group via their website, Facebook and their LoveCATS Blog. You can also connect with LoveCATS via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Change One Life has a GoFundMe page you can visit if you’re interested in donating to the Sanctuary.

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81 thoughts on “Change One Life

  1. It is wonderful to hear of this group on Tenerife Island, my only other knowledge of Tenerife Island is that it was the location of one of the worst aviation accidents in history. I like having a good connection to the name now! Thank you for helping the animals in need.

    1. Thank you so much Leigh Farmer for your kind words and generous donation made to our Cat Sanctuary. Your support is truly and highly appreciated. Many Blessings. Jackie & Paul.

  2. Oh what a wonderful and CARING story…………just look at what people can do when they make their minds up to really get involved…..bless you Jackie and Paul for starting your sanctuary. The cats all look VERY happy and your rooms are gorgeous with so many nice things for the cats to do and spots for napping.

    Pam and Sammy

  3. What a wonderful sanctuary! So sad that so many cats lose their homes, however.

  4. This looks like a really wonderful sanctuary. The rooms all look so colorful and cozy. Mom was involved with rescue for many years and she know how hard fundraising is. She said she will share your story.

    1. They do, dont they? They deserve that and much more for all they’ve had to go through.Thank you :)

  5. Congratulations to Jackie and Paul for their amazing work! I’ve visited Tenerife a couple of years ago and I must say I wasn’t aware there were so many abandoned cats there. I wish them great success with their project!

  6. Really great post guys and what a fab rescue, thanks fur sharing we really enjoyed reading all about ti!


    Basil & Co xox

  7. Loved this post – and so great meeting you F2F. I like the idea of creating awareness for their sponsorship’s available since they do all the heavy lifting on their own! Ill share this broadly — looks like the are about half way to their goal!

  8. This is wonderful! I love that they offer a forever home to these cats right there. No waiting for adoption. Foster and adopt are needed, too, but these are some lucky cats!

    1. Lucy they are! but we are so lucky to be able to help them too!
      Thank you for your kind words.
      Many Blessings,

    1. Bono is precious indeed. Thank you for your kind words.
      Not to worry! he’s only hiding his leg in this pic :)
      Many Blessings,

  9. I have been blessed to visit that amazing island many many years ago :) What a wonderful program and am so happy to hear about sanctuaries in other countries, thank you for sharing

  10. This looks and sounds like a wonderful shelter for homeless cats. The idea of never having to interview prospective adopters or figure out how to rehome a difficult cat is sure refreshing.

  11. Thanks for sharing this story, I will definitely make a donation and share as well. I hope they find more donors and sponsors. Amazing that they also care for so many feral colonies as well.

    I love Bono’s story. He looks very much like a cat I had named Lillian.

    1. Thank you so much for reading our story and feel moved to share it and eventually support our cause. New supporters are truly needed and highly appreciated.
      Many Blessings,

  12. Love that they are doing so much to help these cats. What a wonderful set up they have for the cats. Wishing them the best in attaining their sponsorship goals.

  13. Oh, I had forgotten. Canary Islands and cats. How wonderful. My step-grandson is coming to the Canaries in Sept for a year to be working at the famous telescope. He is an astrophysicist and darling. Might he come by if possible and see your place? He adores kitties and is close to me, Loulou, so thank you for getting back to me.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Suzanne. For privacy and security reasons, we do not allow any visitors to our Sanctuary at the moment. If we eventually decide to do so, we’ll make sure to let you know. Best of luck to your step-grandson in his new job at the Observatory, we went for a visit there a few years ago and it is an amazing place.
      Many Blessings,

  14. Jackie and Paul are angels. We wish them the best of luck. Thank you so much for highlighting all the wonderful people around the world rescuing and helping cats. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  15. I loved Bono’s story!! And I’m really taken by the fact that so many of these kitties have personal stories and memories…not just cat #604. All it takes is one person to start caring, and others get on board! Having a little throw away dog that no one wanted, folks who do things like this always touch my heart! Thanks for sharing their story!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Sally. About 5 years ago, I watched a video of a couple who had more than 30 rescue cats in their ranch and while touring the place they would call each one by their name. I recall thinking to myself: “How can they remember so many names?” I know the answer now :) Would you forget your kids’ names even if you had a thousand? These furbabies are family to us, not only we remeber their names but also every single detail of the painful stories that brought them to us.
      Many Blessings,

  16. What a wonderful organization & wonderful people dedicating themselves to help these cats! Beautiful story.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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