Liz Finch, director of national community cat programs

Liz Finch started her career in animal welfare in 1997 by volunteering for several small nonprofits and Los Angeles Animal Services. In 2000, she co-founded a cat rescue organization and began devoting herself more seriously to animal welfare. By 2005, she had made the decision to give up her writing career and moved to Kanab, Utah, to work for Best Friends Animal Society.

She started her career at Best Friends in the animal help department, where she provided guidance and support to the public and rescue groups on all aspects of animal care and welfare. In 2008, she took over the department and oversaw its transition into one that focused on working strategically with shelters and rescue groups. She then served as the director of the Best Friends Network, which comprises several thousand municipal shelters, rescue groups, spay/neuter organizations and other animal welfare groups working toward the goal of becoming a no-kill nation by 2025.

Today, Liz is the director of Best Friends’ national community cat programs (CCPs), which are changing the way shelters relate to cats and cat issues. Instead of impounding stray or feral (aka community) cats, CCPs spay or neuter (and vaccinate) those cats, and return them to their neighborhoods. The result is that CCPs reduce the killing of cats in shelters and reduce the population of free-roaming cats over time in a humane and effective way.

Liz currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she shares her home with two mischievous rabbits and nine cats, who frequently interrupt her workday by taking over the desk or wreaking havoc in some other part of the house.