About Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter

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Arizona's first no-kill animal shelter, The Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter and Sanctuary has been a refuge for at-risk cats and kittens since 1965. Since 2015, over 700 cats and kittens were transferred to us from municipal shelters where they may have been unnecessarily euthanized. We are both an adoption facility and a long-term sanctuary. We will work for animal welfare and protection, advocating a no-kill philosophy, until it is the standard across the nation.

To advocate for the welfare of cats by being a model cage-free sanctuary and no-kill shelter.


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

Dr. Giles

Erica Giles

Shelter Veterinarian
Bio coming soon...

Amber Nix

Shelter Manager
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!”

Nancie Hubbard

Clinic Supervisor, 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!).


Development and Communications Coordinator
Karina 2021

Karina Levine

Financial Coordinator & Social Media Specialist
Karina joined The Hermitage staff in October of 2015. Karina has degrees in and worked in the field of Criminal Justice for ten years in New Mexico and Arizona, primarily as an investigator for state probation and parole agencies. At the age of 36, Karina decided to completely change her career aspirations and joined the compassionate forces of Animal Rescue. Karina loves all animals and has been a crazy cat lady her entire life. She is passionate about everything The Hermitage stands for and wants to continue to help The Hermitage grow and thrive in whatever way she can.

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.
Foster and Intake Coordinator
Michelle was born and raised in east Tucson. She graduated with her Vet Assistant Cert. 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.

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.

Tiffany Naylor

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.
Volunteer Coordinator
Veterinary Assistant
Adoptions and 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.
Veterinary Assistant
Veterinary Assistant
Kennel Tech. and Administrative Assistant

Board of Directors


Captain Felix

Honorary Feline Director - Feline Relations
Captain Felix is the master of the front desk, keeping all of us in line and to our work duties. He enjoys helping our Adoption Coordinator “work” by sitting on her paperwork, typing up funny emails (lots of ossssspojskjlhf;aelkhrfas because he isn’t the best at typing), begging for treats, and taking her chair. He is a very chatty boy so he will gladly tell you all about his day. You can easily win him over by giving him loves, treats, or cat nip; he loves his nip! He isn’t the strictest of bosses, but miss one feeding time, and we never hear the end of it! Ha! Come meet our Captain Felix, you’ll be glad you did and doesn’t he look so dapper in his tie! Meow!

Kristen Vann

Board President
Kristen has lived off and on in Tucson for the last 43 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 two years, and is the current volunteer facilitator and a mentor. Kristen has two grown children and three feline children, Star, Stormy, and Charlie. She believes in The Hermitage, and is so grateful that such a cat haven exists with its dedicated staff and volunteers.
Natalie Meier

Natalie Meier

Vice 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 four years ago, 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. She lives with her husband, their dogs, and their beloved Hermitage cat, Walter. She is excited to continue her dedication to advocating for animals that have no voice.
Cathy Peterson

Cathy Peterson

Born and raised on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin, Cathy developed an appreciation and love of animals at a young age. She moved to Arizona in 1999 to pursue her career in healthcare and recently retired as the Chief Financial Officer from the Children’s Clinics. She is the doting mother of two cats and one dog. Retirement has allowed her to expand her love of animals and join the Board of the Hermitage to pursue their mission of advocating for animal rights and ending needless euthanasia of at-risk felines through protection, adoption, and sanctuary.

Jean Parker

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.

Dr. Kimberly Olson

Director - Medical Committee
Kim was born on Long Island, New York though moved with her family as a child to Jacksonville, Florida. She attained her undergraduate degree, Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine with a certificate in shelter medicine at the University of Florida. Prior to obtaining her degrees, Kim worked for over ten years as a small animal emergency technician and still enjoys emergency and critical care medicine today. During veterinary school, Kim became involved in wildlife rehabilitation, zoo and exotic animal medicine, which remains a passion. Kim also studied and participated in shelter medicine including high quality high volume spay and neuter services, TNR, shelter animal behavior and welfare, and animal cruelty and forensics investigation. Kim is excited to be an advocate for the Tucson feline community. Her four spoiled rescue cats at home cheer her on in the Hermitage mission!
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.
Mary Grant

Mary Grant

Director - Medical Committee and Foster
Mary is a native of Connecticut, where she spent far too many years shoveling snow and retired to Oro Valley and sunshine four years ago. In Connecticut she was a paralegal for over twenty years, working in Family Law. In retirement she has finally been able to devote some time to giving back. She and her husband have been volunteers at the Hermitage for four years, and members of the foster group for the past two years. She traveled with one cat from Connecticut, adopted one from the Hermitage after three months and foster failed with two sisters who were born in their home.
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

Director - Financial Committee

Kevin Sanders

Director - Volunteer Committee
Kevin has lived in Tucson for the past 2 & a half years. Originally from Long Island, New York, Kevin started volunteering at The Hermitage in the beginning of 2020. He has never been to a shelter like The Hermitage before, and is glad to be a part of their mission. He recently adopted two cats from The Hermitage in March, Churro and Flan.
Linda Updike

Linda Updike

Director - Fundraising Committee
Linda (Lazzeroni) Updike is originally from Titusville, PA. She has fostered kittens in Tucson for over 20 years and has wanted to serve on the Hermitage board for much of that time. After living in AZ for over 30 years, Linda moved back to PA in 2016 where she began a new career as an in-house music specialist and hospice chaplain for a large assisted living facility. She and her husband, Alan, married in March of 2020 and moved to the east side of Tucson in May of 2021. Alan is retired from a lengthy career in real estate and auctioneering. Linda is employed at Fairmount Assisted Living as their music specialist/pianist and chaplain. They have 2 rescued cats, Tuxedo and Maggie MAE.

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.

We appreciate your generous support!