Melissa Gurnett

Melissa Gurnett

Founder, President, and CEO

Meet Melissa, or Missy, who has the difficult job of interpreting our mission statement, putting it into practice, and keeping the company on track to fulfill the mission.

“Our mission is to give every kitten possible a chance to live, grow, and thrive in a permanent home.”

The reality is we can’t help every kitten, but we can help every kitten that it is possible for us to help. Intake is Missy’s responsibility, so it is her job to choose those animals we can take and say no to those we can’t. This is a thankless, sometimes heartbreaking, but necessary chore. She is on the phone all day every day, has worn out four cell phones, and takes a staggering number of calls a day from people asking her to take in animals. Because we are privately funded, are dependant on volunteers, and don't euthanize to make room, this isn't always possible.

Missy recruits and manages the foster parents, reviews all applications, transports animals to and from the vet, fosters, bottle feeds, screens potential adopters, collects aluminum cans, and makes life and death medical decisions. Melissa does not work in a paying job—although she was educated as a legal secretary and paralegal—but devotes all her efforts to Happy Jack Cats. It means everything to her.

Missy’s philosophy is, “The needs of the animal come first.” After all that is why HJC exists—for the animals. In most businesses, “the customer is always right.” At HJC, the cat's needs always come first because Missy is a fierce and relentless advocate for animals. She is a person with a crusty outside, but with a soft, squishy marshmallow center.

Missy feels it is important to establish a consistent business philosophy and guiding principles and beliefs, so that all team members are on the same page. For example; it is our policy—among others—that every feline be sterilized before adoption, a policy guided by the belief that the only acceptable solution to the overpopulation of community cats is spay and neuter. Every team member knows and believes this.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into Melissa Gurnett’s duties at Happy Jack Cats, but on the personal side: she is married with two grown, animal-loving children; has run successful resumé and jewelry businesses; likes to garden, but doesn’t have time; and has far too many cats.

Missy so much appreciates your donating to Happy Jack Cats, and she thanks so much. Her work absolutely cannot be done without your help.

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