About us

You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals
– Paul McCartney

Our History:

The First Lucky Cats

More than 15 years ago a colony of nineteen cats was discovered living in the woods behind a new business in Cornelius. When looking for a humane way to prevent this colony from continuing to breed and grow, it was learned that the only existing option was for animal control to “remove” the cats, which generally results in euthanasia. Not satisfied with that option, an effective alternative was sought and research revealed a method known as Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage (TNRM).  Moving forward with the assistance of local veterinarians, it was deemed a big success. Once word got out that there was a humane alternative for feral cats in our area, the public began reaching out for assistance. The rest is history. As for the feral colony behind the business, they lived out their days happily, their numbers dwindled, and today only two cats remain.

Abigail Jennings

Abigail Jennings

Lucky Cats Founder & President of Lake Norman Realty

Abigail didn’t realize that her wish to help a large colony of feral cats behind her business would one day evolve to becoming the preferred solution for humanely managing the Lake Norman region’s community cats. However, after she learned that the only option for feral cats in the Lake Norman area was trap and kill, she decided to create a small TNR (trap-neuter-return) program to provide TNR services and the word began to spread. Several years later, the program was officially awarded a non-profit status, and the rest is history. Today, she remains passionate about providing community cats with spay/neuter services to alleviate the serious issue of over population and the high rates of cat euthanasia within our shelters.

In addition, Abigail also creatively and successfully operates the oldest real estate firm in the Lake Norman region. Since 1998, she has served as president of Lake Norman Realty. However, the impact of Abigail’s leadership is felt not only within the real estate industry, but in her community as well. One of her favorite quotations is by Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and her commitment to creating positive change is apparent throughout her community. Abigail is a founding board member for blueharbor bank, a community bank serving the Lake Norman region. She is also vice-president of the non-profit economic development organization, SICDC (South Iredell Community Development Corporation). Furthermore, Jennings is a co-founder of Pioneer Springs Community School, a charter school rooted in the arts and nature, where she serves as Chairman of the Pioneer Springs Board of Trustees. Abigail graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree. She and her husband, Randolph Lewis, live in Cornelius with their daughters Genevieve and Ia, and their eleven adopted cats. Abigail enjoys being with her family, gardening, and painting. In 2012 her artwork was featured in a two-woman exhibit at the Iredell Museum.

 
Robin Byrd

Robin Byrd

Executive Director / Vice President

A native of Columbia, SC, Robin’s compassionate nature toward animals developed at an early age as the result of her father, a biology teacher, instilling in her the value of both appreciating and respecting nature.     

Upon graduation from Clemson University with a BA in education, Robin served as an intern on Capitol Hill for Senator Strom Thurmond, prior to pursuing a career in commercial aviation.  After 24 years as a flight attendant with US Airways, Robin transitioned to corporate aviation as a demonstration flight attendant for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation out of Savannah, Georgia.

Quite literally traveling the globe while working for many high-profile clients and foreign government officials, her travels afforded the opportunity to experience how other cultures viewed animals and she was saddened by the reality of what she witnessed.  Having been a lifelong lover of all animals, she realized the worst thing she could do was stand by and do nothing and the best place to begin was right in her own community where it was possible to measure the level of success.

Calling the Lake Norman region home since 1991, Robin currently serves as Executive Director of the Lake Norman Lucky Cat Program (LNLCP), where she has elevated the program to its current success and it continues to expand under her leadership.  From educating to advocating to engaging the community, Robin has made it her mission to raise awareness and promote improved animal welfare, in particular the humane, long-term solution to managing community cat populations through Trap/Neuter/Return/Manage (TNRM).

A 2014 graduate of Leadership Lake Norman, Robin has also served as retail Co-chair for the Bag Lady Luncheon, benefiting Patriot Charities (serving our local wounded veterans).  Additionally, Robin is a charter member of Partnership for Pets and has recently been selected to serve on Charlotte’s Community Cat Task Force. She was also proud to mentor a Girl Scout, whose Gold Star project was the development of a free 5K event to raise awareness of community cats.

Together with her life partner and biggest supporter Ray Harris, they maintain their home for the comfort and convenience of their four cats, three Australian Lady Gouldian finches, and their lake dweller friend, an Eastern River Cooter turtle named Wilber.

 

Jackie Kieffer

Jackie Kieffer

Spay Day Coordinator

I am a stay at home cat mom that’s married to a wonderful guy, Dave, who makes it possible for me to volunteer at the Lake Norman Lucky Cat clinics.

I first got involved with the Lucky Cat program like most of us do, out of necessity. In February 2012 I began feeding a few cats that unfortunately had been left behind, at our apartment complex. This is a common problem in apartment living and one of the reasons for the increase in stray/ feral population. For whatever reason, many cats do not go with their owners when the moving vans leave. Having 2 Cats already, Snuggle, a hurricane stray from when we lived in Florida and Gypsy, one of those left behind at the apartments a year earlier, I couldn’t bring in another Kitty, but I fed the strays on my patio.
That spring one of the now “stray” cats (Mr. Spot) brought a feral kitten to my door, and then 2 months later he brought another one. I knew I needed to get all these kitties fixed before I had litters of kittens out there. I contacted Robin through the Lake Norman Lucky Cat Webpage and the two kittens, Elcie and Billie were the first to go to a Lucky Cat clinic. After meeting Robin and seeing the great work she does, I just knew this was where I was planning to be on the first Monday of every month!! Now, Mr. Spot and a few others that were also abandoned have gone through the Lucky Cat program too. Elcie and Billie decided that the inside life was what they truly wanted, and are now permanent members of our family.

I know it’s called the Lucky “Cat” Program, but seeing so many kitties receiving the help they desperately need, and me getting to play a small part in it, I feel like I’m the Lucky one!!

 

Carol Roth

Carol Roth

Social Media Director

A longtime animal advocate, Carol began assisting the efforts of Lake Norman Lucky Cat over 10 years ago. A proud native of Montreal, Canada, Carol lived in Europe for 12 years before coming to the US. She worked in Florida prior to making North Carolina her home, and after a successful career in event and sponsor management for both Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Safe Alliance, Carol now works as a Development Director for The National MS Society of the Greater Carolina Chapter. When not working, she enjoys cycling, traveling and reading. Carol is “owned” by two very Lucky Cats.

 
Henry Schultz

Henry Schultz

Website Management

Henry is an experienced leader with an eclectic background. After spending thirty years in the automobile industry he was President/COO of a non-profit in Washington DC for six years and has been sole proprietor of a management consulting firm.

 

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