Hannah Shaw, or Kitten Lady, has what many see as a dream career: fostering a revolving door of kittens, traveling from coast-to-coast to speak at some of the world’s top cat events, running an Instagram with a massive following of cat lovers, and saving literally hundreds of feline lives. (Side note: she even recently met Queer Eye’s Jonathan van Ness, a crossover that we will never fully recover from).
Now, Hannah can add “published author” to her list of credentials. Her new book, Tiny but Mighty: Kitten Lady’s Guide to Saving the Most Vulnerable Felines is the most anticipated read of the summer by animal rescue communities and feline enthusiasts alike. In a Youtube video unboxing her book, Hannah described Tiny but Mighty as the book she wishes she had back when she started caring for orphan kittens. As frequent fosterers, we were especially excited to find a copy on our fur-covered desks earlier this week.
Tiny but Mighty is part manual, part memoir, part myth buster. Kitten rescuers will continuously return to this book for its practical advice (preparing your space for neonates, critical supplies, week-to-week care information, and how to trap ferals for TNR are just a few topics covered). Even those who have never so much as picked up a kitten nursing bottle will be drawn in by the sweet, touching and funny anecdotes about Hannah’s past fosters. (Among my favourites? The grocery store clerk who mistakenly thinks Hannah is buying food for a human baby. When she asks what “the little girl’s” name is, she’s horrified by Hannah’s response: “Earthworm”).
Hannah does stress that rescuing orphan kittens isn’t all cuddles, taking cute Instagram photos and brainstorming fun litter names. She openly addresses the very real hardships—experiencing the death of a foster, for instance, or facing the number of healthy kittens euthanized annually due to lack of space and resources in shelters. She suggests healthy ways to help combat burnout, from practicing yoga to seeking out counselling. Contrary to the belief that “real” activists must be constantly selfless, Hannah advocates that we can only take the best care of others—and do our best, most sustainable work possible—when we take the best care of ourselves.
Whoever you are, and whatever your background, Tiny but Mighty is the book you want it to be. It’s the ultimate go-to resource for newcomers in kitten rescue, a nugget of light for seasoned activists struggling with compassion fatigue, and a charming-but-eye-opening read for the merely curious. It will leave you feeling empowered, assuring you that there is an infinite number of ways you, too, can be a champion of change for the small and vulnerable. You don’t need a lot of money, space or even a cape to be a feline-rescuing superhero. All you need is compassion…and maybe this book.