About Us

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Our history ...

Founded as the Arizona Animal Anti-Cruelty League by Sister Theresa Seraphim, a Russian Orthodox nun from England. Sister Seraphim moved to Tucson in 1969 and lived at this location until she passed away in 1990. During her tenure at The Hermitage, Sister Seraphim rescued not only cats, but chickens, guinea hens, peacocks, a handful of dogs, and a donkey.

In 2013, through the American Sanctuary Association, our cage-free shelter became an accredited sanctuary. We remain the only accredited cat sanctuary in Arizona.

In October of 2017, we moved into our expanded 9000 sq-ft, cage-free shelter. Here we house 200+ cats at any given time and rescue about 700 cats annually. With the addition of our medical suite, The Hermitage can provide state-of-the-art care for our cats including spay/neuter surgeries; dental procedures; laser treatments to assist in recovery; and more. Every cat is given a full exam every six months, allowing us to take a preventative approach to their care. Our in-house X-ray equipment allows us to diagnose many conditions without costly visits to outside veterinarians. This care is especially essential for our cats with special needs, such as FIV, FeLV, diabetes, or other chronic issues. Our ability to provide this comprehensive care in-house greatly reduces the stress on the cats, reduces our costs, and improves the cats overall well-being.

No-Kill Philosophy...

At the Hermitage, we adhere to the principle of No-Kill in that no cat in our care will ever be euthanized to make room for another, nor will any cat in our care ever be destroyed except in cases of terminal and painful illness or when compassion demands it because there is no reasonable alternative.

Who We Are

Our Team

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Amber Nix

Executive Director
Amber joined the Hermitage staff in August of 2017. She was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and began working full time at the age of 18. Amber lived in Arizona until the age of 25 when she moved to Ketchikan, Alaska and started her family. Amber has worked for non-profits in education and medical and is excited to now be working in the animal welfare sector. Amber states, “I am thankful to wake up and go to a job I can feel good about doing every day. I know my effort at the shelter impacts and improves the lives of the kitties and it is an awesome way to earn a living!” She was named as the Executive Director in May 2023 after working as Shelter Manager for many years.
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Emma Crawford

Donor Relations & Program Coordinator
Emma moved to Arizona after a life-long gallivant across the country and throughout Europe; she was a writer and political scientist in her "previous life". She started volunteering as a foster parent for The Hermitage in early 2013. Employment followed shortly thereafter, and she's been here ever since. She's had everything from a dairy cow and a large sow, to goats, to dogs, fish, rabbits, and of course cats as pets in her life, but is currently only owned by cats.
Cat & Facility Sanitation Specialist
Emma has worked at the Hermitage for a little over two years. She has spent a majority of her working life around animals because she finds peace and happiness with them.
Certified Vet Technician
Candace started at the Hermitage as a volunteer hoping to get some cat handling experience for school. She found more than experience; she found a purpose. Advocating for the animals who don't have owners. Seeing a cat come in scared and watching them blossom, teaching them that people can be good, every day is a blessing.
Dr. Giles

Erica Giles

Shelter Veterinarian
Dr. Giles is an Ohio native but has called Tucson home for 4 years. She’s been active in the shelter world since she was in high school. Her passions are low stress feline care and exotic pet medicine. Her love for cats and shelter medicine led her to Hermitage, where she gets to cuddle and cure the many cats that call Hermitage home. During her time out of the clinic, she spends time with her mini zoo (cats, dogs, ferrets, a hedgehog, birds, and reptiles) and exploring the outdoors.
Veterinary Assistant
Angie grew up in Las Cruces, NM and has always had a love for animals, dreaming about being in the vet field since she was a little girl. She moved to Tucson in 2019 for better opportunities and started school at Pima Medical Institute (PMI) in 2020. For her externship she was placed at The Hermitage. She felt blessed when she was offered a position to actually work here. Every day she learns something new and every day, she believes we make a difference in the world of cats. When not working, Angie likes to spend time with her amazing one-year old daughter (and her 5 cats, 2 dogs and 2 reptiles)!
Adoptions & Foster Assistant
Annette moved to Arizona in July of 2020 to be near her daughter and family. She joined the Hermitage team as a volunteer in the Fall of that same year. Before moving to Arizona, Annette founded and co-owned River Kitty Cat Cafe in Evansville, Indiana which today has placed over 1,000 cat adoptions. Her love and care of cats has been a passion since childhood. Annette is honored to be part of the Hermitage family as both staff and volunteer. She lives with her husband and three felines and is a very proud grandmother.
Volunteer Coordinator
Coming soon!
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Nancie Hubbard

Accounts Payable/Receivable & Certified Vet Technician
Nancie grew up in Tucson. She has always loved animals, and originally wanted to be a veterinarian. In 2004, she graduated from Pima Community College AAS Veterinary Technician program, and passed national and state boards that same year. Nancie worked in a small animal general practice for eight years and then at Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson in Internal Medicine for seven years before joining the Hermitage team. When she is not working, her hobbies include cooking, reading, spending time with her two kids, and adopting cats (Nancie has adopted a few of her cats from The Hermitage!).
Veterinary Assistant
Jerrett was born and raised in Tucson. He came to the Hermitage as an extern from Pima Medical Institute (PMI). Going to PMI was not easy and probably one of the most difficult things he's done after high school. Jerrett doesn't feel like he's the greatest with books but if he can get his hands on what he needs to do he will overcome. He's come to realize one of the hardest things being in the vet field is always pushing himself to become the vet assistant he dreams of being. He is always seeking out new challenges and working on improving his skills. He credits both his family and CVT's for their help. His family supported him in so many ways and his CVT’s showed him the ropes and are always working with him to improve his skills. He has fostered for the Hermitage many times and 3 of those fosters stayed with him as companions. During his free time, he likes to watch anime with his cats or play games with family or friends.
Foster & Intake Coordinator
Michelle was born and raised in east Tucson. She graduated with her Vet Assistant Certificate from PMI in 2008. She has spent time at several different clinics and rescues. Kittens have always found her; she has lost count of the amount of bottle babies she has raised over the years. She decided to return to fostering at The Hermitage when she moved back to this side of town a few years ago. This is when she claimed by two red tabbies, Talkeetna and Yogi Bear. When the position for Foster and Intake Coordinator opened up, it was a no brainer for her; this was her calling. Michelle is also kept by a 10 year old rescue Australian shepherd and ten chickens.
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Victoria Martel

Marketing Coordinator
Victoria was born and raised here in Tucson and received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arizona. She worked with local restaurant suppliers and a remote marketing agency before deciding that she wanted to do something more meaningful with her skills. With two cats of her own from The Hermitage she felt it was only natural to apply when the opportunity came up and is excited to use her marketing knowledge to spread our mission and help more cats find their furever homes. In her free time, she enjoys watching documentaries, playing video games with her friends, hiking when it’s not too hot out, and taking naps on the couch with her cats.
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Tina Myers

Cat & Facility Sanitation
Tina grew up in Indiana but moved to Tucson in 1988 and has been in cat rescue in some form since 1992 and couldn’t see her life going in any other direction than working in making the world a better place for felines. She has been a volunteer and foster mom for almost 2 years with the Hermitage, so when the opportunity came to work at the Hermitage, she was extremely happy to join the team. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 4 rescue cats.
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Tiffany Naylor

Medical Supervisor, Certified Vet Technician
Tiffany moved to Tucson in September of 2001. She then retired after 20 years in the Air Force in January 2015. In 2017, Tiffany graduated from Pima Medical Institute as a Certified Veterinary Technician. She worked at Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson in Internal Medicine from 2017-2018, and taught the Veterinary Assistant Program at Pima Medical Institute from 2018-2021. Tiffany has adopted 6 cats from the Hermitage (soon to be 7!). In total she has 10 (soon to be 11) cats, 6 dogs, 5 goats, 8 tortoises and 16 chickens. "Even as a child, I was finding stray animals and bringing them home to care for," Tiffany says. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys pet sitting, geocaching, off-roading.
Cat & Facility Sanitation
Dave is a former welder fabricator who relocated to Tucson in 2020. Growing up, Dave always cared for the family cats. Dubbed 'cat whisperer' by friends and family Dave finds caring for the Hermitage cats therapeutic. Dave and his wife recently lost their 21- year-old cat Sebastian and hope to adopt soon. Dave is very grateful to work with such amazing an group of cats and cat people.
Events Coordinator
Born in Tucson, Katelyn graduated from Arizona State studying Digital Audiences with minors in Political Science and History. A huge animal lover that has always adored cats especially, working somewhere like The Hermitage is unfathomably awesome. In her free time, she loves going to concerts and collecting vinyl. She does not have any pets ... yet.
Veterinary Assistant
Eddie was born and raised in Tucson. He’s always had a passion to work with animals since he was little. During his free time, he likes to spend it with his family and two dogs. He recently finished high school and went straight to Pima Medical Institute (PMI). He is planning to go back to school to become a Vet Tech. Right now, he’s enjoying his time at the Hermitage and learning as much as he can.
Diane Siefkes

Diane Siefkes

Development & Communications Coordinator
Diane is a recent Tucson transplant – she came for the weather and fell in love with the whole vibe! She has decades of experience in communications and working with businesses. After working for profit businesses for many years, she wanted to work somewhere with a larger purpose. She found it at the Hermitage! If you’d like to talk about how you can help extend the mission at the shelter & sanctuary, or if you have any suggestions for must-see things to do in Tucson, please give her a call.
Holly

Holly Simon

Adoptions Coordinator
Holly joined The Hermitage staff in January 2019 as a Cat & Facility Sanitation worker before moving into her current position as Adoptions Coordinator. She has volunteered and worked for numerous animal welfare agencies in a variety of positions. Holly is a Veteran who worked as a correctional officer and sergeant for over 10 years. She was just one of a small number of females selected to be a Class Sergeant, leading cadets from their first day at the academy to graduation day, seven weeks later. Holly currently has four cats and two dogs…all are rescue pets.
ayla

Ayla Stephens

Cat & Facility Sanitation
Ayla is a lifelong Tucson resident. She began her career with rescue animals in 2021 at Pima Animal Care Center where her love for cats turned into a passion for their care and wellbeing. As a hardcore cat lady, she feels very privileged to be able to serve the cats of the Hermitage and contribute to an organization that shares her values. Ayla lives with her partner, 3 wonderful cats (all rescued from various places in Tucson), frogs and a tarantula.
Kennel Technician & Administrative Assistant
Cara is from southeast Idaho and has been living in Tucson since 2006. She's worked in landscaping, retail, and as a pastry chef at Beyond Bread. Although those jobs were great, Cara found nothing more rewarding than working with cats. It gives her the chance to love the unwanted and save lives, while helping to control the cat overpopulation. She has 2 sons living and one who passed, as well as 4 cats and a dog at home. At work, she enjoys making sure the cats have a clean place to live while waiting for their forever home. During her "off" time, she enjoys movies, tv and music.

Board of Directors

Captain-Felix

Captain Felix

Feline Board Representative Emeritus
Captain Felix lost his battle with several illnesses and crossed the rainbow bridge in December 2022. The Board thanks him for his tireless dedication by making him our Feline Board Representative Emeritus. Thank you Captain for being the master of the front desk, keeping all of us in line and focused on our work duties. He enjoyed helping our Adoption Coordinator “work” by sitting on her paperwork, typing up funny emails (lots of ossssspojskjlhf;aelkhrfas because he wasn’t the best at typing), begging for treats, and taking her chair. He was a very chatty boy so he gladly told you all about his day. He wasn’t the strictest of bosses, but miss one feeding time, and we never heard the end of it! You will be missed.
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Peep

Feline Board Representative
Peep came to the Hermitage in May of 2020 when a good Samaritan found him in their neighborhood in Phoenix. Peep is hands down one of the most entertaining cats at the Hermitage. He LOVES his toys, food, and humans (especially the kids) very much and earned his name by his happy squeaks, peeps, and chirps. Peep is a staff and volunteer favorite around here and has earned a spot as one of our lobby cats due to his fun, playful and humorous personality. We all love him and can't wait for him to find his own forever family who recognizes what an amazing cat he really is. He is also FIV+ and as such will need a special adopter.
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Olivia Arrestad

Director
Olivia moved to Tucson in 2021 after graduating from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing a rotating small animal internship and spending some time working in emergency medicine, she now works as an associate veterinarian at Briarcrest Veterinary Care Center. During her internship, she got to work with the medical team at The Hermitage and see firsthand the excellent medicine and care given to the cats residing there. She joined the board of directors in 2023 and is grateful to be a part of the team that helps these cats have the best life possible. Her cat, Ginny, is a Hermitage alumnus. Despite being fluent in cat, the Wisconsin native spends most of her time constantly reminding her feisty feline to stay off the kitchen counter.
Kate Durfee

Kate Durfee

Secretary
Kate Durfee has been volunteering with The Hermitage since November 2021 and is excited to give back to The Hermitage by serving on the Board of Directors. A graduate from Arizona State University, Kate works as a technical writer. Kate has nearly two years’ experience as a volunteer grant writer for animal care organizations. After moving back to Tucson several years ago, Kate adopted a rescued cat. He is a beloved rascal! Kate is so appreciative of The Hermitage for providing a loving forever home for cats who haven't found one through adoption.
kyler bell

Kyler Bell

Director
Kyler Bell is a Tucson local attending Arizona State University for a Bachelor's Degree in Business Economics. Prior to attending ASU, Kyler received an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Pima Community College in Tucson. He currently works for Sun Auto Tire & Service as a Sales Auditor where he has been working since October of 2022. Kyler's business career started at CarMax in 2020 where he learned fundamental practical knowledge of sales and business administration for over two years. In his free time, Kyler plays in a local band with his high school friends covering many classic rock and metal songs for crowds all over Tucson. Kyler has always been a cat lover, despite mostly growing up with dogs, and hopes to contribute to continuing The Hermitage's role in helping the lives of cats and families alike.
Katie Filous

Katie Filous

Vice President
Katie Filous Malka became a partner at criminal defense firm Ferguson Hill Filous, PLLC, in Tucson, Arizona in January of 2022. Prior to founding her own firm, Katie was a felony trial attorney and supervisor at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office for four years, where she honed her skills in all types of felony cases. Katie’s reputation for skillful litigation, honesty, and the utmost care in serving her clients brings excellence to her criminal defense practice. She is passionate about advocating for the fair treatment of all people, challenging injustice in all its forms. Katie sees her board service as an extension of that belief. In her spare time, Katie loves spending time with her family, including her son and her 4 dogs, getting outside, cooking, and enjoying all Tucson has to offer.
Katie Foust

Katie Foust

Director - Medical Committee
Katie is a Certified Veterinary Technician with a BS in Veterinary Science from the University of Arizona and an AAS in Veterinary Technology from Penn Foster Academy. She was born and raised in Tucson and has worked locally in the veterinary field since 2001. In 2011, she joined Pima Medical Institute and began a career path as a veterinary technician educator. Katie is dedicated to serving animals and spends most of her time volunteering or working with local animal welfare organizations. She is grateful to be a member of The Hermitage’s board of directors and join in their mission to provide sanctuary for at-risk cats.
Sandie Fox

Sandi Fox

Director - Volunteer Committee and Morale Officer
Sandi was born in Pennsylvania, a 40+ year resident of Tucson, Sandi is a semi-retired Registered Nurse (RN), former Air Force nurse, and teaches Yoga. She adopted a mother cat and her kitten and lives happily with her two cats. Love and concern for animals led her to join the Board of the Hermitage. She now has time to volunteer and work to ensure the safety, sheltering and sanctuary for cats.
Andy Kiel

Andy Kiel

Treasurer
Andy is currently the President of Optimize Investments Inc, a Tucson based private equity company. Currently treasurer for the Board, Andy became involved with the Hermitage when he adopted Dellyla in 2020. Since then, a few other Hermitage cats have found their way to his home. Obviously, Andy is a cat lover and found the Hermitage mission compelling and he looks forward to helping build their legacy to save even more cats.
Natalie Meier

Natalie Meier

President
Born and raised in rural Indiana, Natalie came to love and appreciate all of the animals that showed up on her family’s doorstep. Before moving to Tucson in 2015, she worked as a Registered Veterinary Technician in Oncology and Internal Medicine at a specialty center in Indianapolis. Natalie served as Technician Supervisor at the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson before joining the faculty at Pima Medical Institute in their veterinary programs in 2017 where she now works as Clinical Director. She lives with her husband, their 2 dogs, 5 chickens, and their 5 beloved Hermitage cats: Walter, Peach-Pear, Raimi, Mort, and Newt. She is excited to continue her dedication to advocating for animals that have no voice.
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Jean Parker

Board Member
Jean Parker, Ph.D., is on the faculty of Regis University where she teaches in the Global Nonprofit Leadership Program in the School of Business and Economics. She also facilitates courses on economics for the Wilmette Institute in Chicago. She lived and worked as a radio journalist in India for ten years where she became interested in animal welfare. She is a lifelong crazy cat lady.
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Liana Sharp

Director
Liana has lived in Tucson since 2020. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Liana started volunteering at the Hermitage in Spring 2023. Prior to volunteering for the Hermitage, she volunteered for different shelters since 2017. While she does not have any cats (yet!) she does foster for the Hermitage when possible. She is excited to continue teaching others about the mission of the Hermitage and helping every cat.
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Kristen Vann

Immediate Past President
Kristen has lived off and on in Tucson for the last 46 years. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree and obtained her master’s through Northern Arizona University. Kristen has volunteered at The Hermitage for almost five years and helps with cleaning tasks and training. Kristen has two grown children and four feline children: Star, Stormy, Charlie, and Wilford. She believes in The Hermitage and is so grateful that such a cat haven exists with such dedicated staff and volunteers.

The Hermitage Board of Directors meets monthly, usually on the fourth Thursday of each month.
Public attendance is welcome.

If you are interested in becoming a Board Member, please fill out our application and give it to one of the current board members, drop it off at The Hermitage, or email it to [email protected].


*Applicants are subject to Board approval.

Download the application in the format you prefer below:

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We appreciate your generous support!