Volunteer Spotlight: Kathie Osborne

In lieu of flowers, Kathie Osborne’s obituary suggested that her loved ones consider rescuing, fostering, or adopting a cat or kitten. Her last request was a reflection of a life spent dedicated to animal welfare.

Kathie passed away last year, and THLN is honoring her for her work as a founding member of the Houston-based nonprofit HOPE (Homeless & Orphaned Pets Endeavor), a cat and dog adoption group; for her decades-long commitment to improving the lives of Texas animals; and for a generous gift she left to our organization.

Natalie Lynch, who serves on the board of THLN, said Kathie worked “smart, tireless, and without compromise” on an issue that is constantly hard and heartbreaking. The two met in 2001 when Natalie contacted HOPE about fostering a cat, and the two kept in touch over the years. “The tough decisions I make as an animal advocate and a practicing attorney have not gone away but 20 years later, the principles and integrity Kathie taught me stick with me.”

Lynch said Kathie grew HOPE into an organization that represented values that were admired by many and that, not ironically, the Texas Humane Legislation Network also maintains.  

THLN Advisory Board member Lisa Gilchrist met Kathie in the early 1990s, and together with others, they founded HOPE and worked side by side, remaining close until Kathie’s passing.

She said Kathie had a soft spot for feral cats. She was a tremendous kitten foster, and had fostered more cats and kittens than people who knew her could count. She recognized that a lot of the kittens who came into their program every year were the offspring of feral cats, and it was her mission to cut down on the feral kitten population. In addition to fostering, she was hands-on in bottle feeding kittens when she was able. But once kittens turned six weeks old and didn’t need to be bottlefed, she was often one of the first to take them in.

According to Lynch, Kathie insisted that HOPE policy, and the volunteers associated with HOPE, be diligent, transparent, and full of integrity.

“With her moral and institutional infrastructure, I became a 22-year-old that could have tough but transparent conversations with people abandoning animals, pet store managers hosting our events, and folks we chose not to adopt our animals to,” Lynch said.

Kathie believed in THLN’s mission, and we will work to honor her legacy and continue to make Texas a better and more humane home for all animals.

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