Remembering Christine Irwin

Chris at C.A.R.E.

Chris at C.A.R.E.

Chris partaking in one of her favorite activities in Wisconsin

Chris partaking in one of her favorite activities in Wisconsin

Many C.A.R.E. supporters and cat adopters will remember Chris Irwin, C.A.R.E.’s long-time Volunteer, Cat Adoption Counselor and Feline Medical Director. Chris was responsible for finding homes for and helping many hundreds of cats and kittens during her 20+ years with C.A.R.E. Chris was the go-to resource for all our cat volunteers, and was responsible for creating the standard operating procedures that our cat volunteers followed for so many years.

Christine Irwin passed away on February 7, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. Please join the C.A.R.E. family in remembering Chris for her dedication to homeless animals. She will always be missed, and deeply appreciated for all the lives she touched.

If you have a memory of Chris that you'd like to share, please write us at


Chris was a very special lady and a dedicated 20+ year C.A.R.E. volunteer. I know she's caring for God's stray kitties just like she cared for C.A.R.E.'s, and she'll make it look effortless.

– Linda Gelb

I had the pleasure of volunteering with Chris for 22 years. As the Feline Medical director and an adoption counselor, she saved and found homes for thousands of cats. People like Chris are the heart and soul of C.A.R.E. and I am so proud to be a part of this family. Our loss is great, but we are better for having known her.

– Megan Lutz

I will always remember Chris as one of C.A.R.E.’s most dedicated workers whose devotion to our cats was boundless. It was my privilege to work with her every Wednesday night for a dozen years. She was a demanding teacher and steadfast friend who never asked more of me than she herself gave every day. This was her gift to all of us. 

– Patsy Thrash

All of the "best practices" C.A.R.E. cat volunteers follow today we owe to Chris. We can't begin to know all that she quietly did for the animals.  I'm still learning of the "above and beyond" tasks she performed with no recognition. She had complete integrity in her dealing with people and complete devotion toward the animals. 

– Marsha Niazmand

I am so sad to hear about Chris. She was such a great support to me on Wednesday nights cat shifts at the shelter. I miss her and think of her all the time. She always worked so hard for the cats at C.A.R.E.  Now she will be their guardian angel.

– Michelle Demos

Chris was such a great person. I used to volunteer at C.A.R.E. on Wednesday nights, before I moved back to Nebraska. I will always remember her warm and caring spirit. She will be missed!

– Michelle Evans

Chris really was one of those rare individuals. She was passionate, but in such a quiet way. I've told my sister that when I imagine my own death, I hope that I will be led skyward by all the kitties, dogs, birds and other critters that I've stopped and cared for along the way. If this is the way it works, Chris' entourage will be miles long.  

– Cordelia Maloney

There's so much that I would like to say about Chris. She trained me as an adoption counselor and we worked together adopting cats on Saturday afternoons for three or four years.

I think of Chris as a person of absolute integrity -- rare in any walk of life. She had rules and standards for adoption and for care of the cats in the shelter, rules that existed for good reason, and she stuck to them, and to her beliefs, even when it would have been easier or more convenient to fudge a little in one way or another. I know she occasionally rubbed people the wrong way, but it was just because she had such high standards.

She was also one of the most organized people I've ever known. Just about every situation that could come up that had to do with cats was covered in a note in a book somewhere, written in her incredibly legible, distinctive handwriting. With a pang, I still come across some of those notes in various places.

This makes it sound like Chris was a stern, unbending person, and that wasn't true at all. She definitely had a sense of fun. We used to talk about the funny things our cats did and about the TV shows we watched -- her taste ran a little more to the reality genre than mine did, but we could always find something lighthearted to talk about.

Chris was unselfish, unpretentious and hardworking. She had as little ego as anyone I've ever known. I don't think I'll ever meet anyone quite like her again and I miss her terribly.

-Pauline Yearwood

To my good fortune, Chris Irwin facilitated my adoption of Templeton, a handsome black cat, four years ago. During the process, Chris revealed a determined nature and a devotion for preparing the animals of the Evanston Shelter for forever homes. She had informed me that Templeton had come to the shelter somewhat guarded and distrustful, a definite sign of abuse. Under her watch, he became an charming rascal who adapted very quickly to domestic life. I have praised Chris in my mind many times for this accomplishment, and offer heartfelt appreciation for her professionalism and compassion.

-Arnetta Carter