Samantha Sullivan – Executive Director
Samantha grew up in Littleton, Colorado but has since lived all over the US. For the past 6 years she has been living in Los Angeles and has lived in the bay area for just over a year. She has over 17 years of experience in animal welfare including emergency and day veterinary clinics, animal shelters, humane law enforcement, and zoological settings. In addition, she has nearly 20 years of experience working in business management including retail and small business ownership. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, an MBA and most recently obtained her Master’s Degree in Biology focused in wildlife conservation. She lives with her husband Nich, and four black rescue cats; Susu, Mister, Pixie and Kindle. Samantha is passionate about cats, animal welfare and conservation. When she is not working or at home she can be found in a yoga studio, hiking the trails or listening to live music.
Dr Tiva Hoshizaki, Veterinarian
Dr. Tiva Hoshizaki is a 2012 graduate from Massey University, New Zealand. She completed 3 years of advanced training in shelter medicine at Cornell University and has always worked exclusively with shelter pets. Dr. Tiva loves every kind of cat, but is especially fond of neonatal kittens and geriatric cats. She has worked and consulted in a wide range of shelters, including kitten nurseries and foster networks. At home she is a bottle-feeder for very young or critically ill kittens. In addition to fostering, Dr. Tiva also adopts and provides hospice care for elderly cats. When not taking care of animals, she also works at a tech startup, designing shelter software, and teaches shelter medicine for the University of Florida. Dr. Tiva is very excited to join the Town Cats team and is looking forward to helping out cats in the community!
Elena Bauske Khalar, Foster Coordinator
Born and raised in Campbell, Elena Bauske Khalar brings over 20 years of animal experience. She has worked in a variety of animal establishments including: veterinary clinics, zoological parks, wildlife centers and animal shelters. On top of running the Foster Program at Town Cats, she is also a Zoo Keeper at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo in San Jose. She has worked with many exotic species, favoring big cats, lemurs and birds of prey. She lives with her husband and her three rescued cats- Parker, Deezel and Schmidty. When she is not surrounded by cats and zoo animals, she tries to visit Disneyland as often as possible. Elena is also very passionate about traveling to new places, cooking, drawing/painting and spending time with family. With a great love of cats, big or small, Elena is so happy to be working at Town Cats and is excited to watch the organization grow!
Melanie Silva, Cat Care Coordinator
Prior to working at Town Cats, Melanie Silva started out as a volunteer for the organization. She has worked at our shelter as a clean care staff member caring for all of our long term cats, and those who are just passing through on the way to our adoption centers. Now she helps coordinate and train our adoption center volunteers, finalize adoptions, kitty transport, and can still be found at our shelter several days a week. She has always loved cats, and since her feline overlord didn’t share her passion, she turned to cats in need! When she’s not working, she enjoys dorking out with anime and games, hiking, and spoiling her cat, Elphie. One day she aspires to reach the final form of Cat Lady Extraordinaire!
Jilliann Matteucci, Customer Service & Development Associate
Jilliann Matteucci has 17 years of experience in customer service, serving in both retail and healthcare industries. She worked as a Human Resource Manager in the home improvement industry before leaving to pursue a career in healthcare. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences, she worked in a high volume medical clinic specializing in chronic pain management. She has volunteered for various organizations, focusing on under-served community service. Her love for animals has spanned her entire life, as she was dedicated to cat rescue even as a young girl. She and her family and their 18 year old cat Serena, 10 year old dog Sophie, and 1 year old dog Lucy currently live in Gilroy. In her spare time, Jilliann enjoys cooking and baking, as well as taking day trips to the beach with her family.
Helen Navalta-Biala, Volunteer and Events Coordinator
Helen Navalta-Biala graduated from San Jose State University with an Arts Education Degree. She worked as a teacher out of college and took a break from work to raise her 3 children. Upon her return to the workforce she helped to successfully grow an arts program for her children’s elementary school as the Volunteer Coordinator. In addition, she has experience working in customer service for high-tech companies and bay area start-ups. Her path has ultimately strengthened her passion of building relationships. She lives in San Jose with her husband, three children, her loyal dog Jack, and her spunky cat Mimi. She loves all things sweet (including kittens and puppies), a good baseball game and garlic fries, but most of all traveling with her family. She is excited to be a part of the Town Cats Family.
Joanna Ray- Clean Care Specialist
Joanna Ray became involved with Town Cats in 2014, as a volunteer for a large TNR project in Gilroy. Even in her new role at Town Cats, she continues to TNR and monitor Feral Cat Colonies in Gilroy, San Martin, and Morgan Hill. Raised in Los Angeles, Joanna studied business and computer science in college and had a successful career as a systems engineer for major IT companies in Colorado. She moved to Northern California to be near family. Joanna grew up with dogs, cats, a duck and a turtle, and had a childhood job working with animals at a local carnival. Joanna has volunteered at non profit organizations caring for horses and has mentored troubled youth. When not working on business ventures or with family and friends, Joanna plays guitar, reads mysteries, is spiritually encouraged by Christian music and relaxes with her frolicking ferals.
Rylee Mae Garrett- Clean Care Specialist
Before joining the Clean Care Staff at Town Cats of Morgan Hill in December of 2017, Rylee Mae Garrett had been a volunteer with us since April of 2014. She is currently attending West Valley College, and is majoring in Animal Science! In the future, her goal is to eventually attend veterinary school. Having grown up around many pets, she has always loved animals and had a passion for working with them. Currently, her and her fiancé have 5 cats together: Momma Baguette, and her kin: Biscuit (pictured), Sourdough, Croissant, and Sweetroll. They refer to them as “Baguette’s Bakerie”! In Rylee’s free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories, playing some of her favorite video games, and playing badminton! She flaunts rainbow hair, so you can always pick her out of a crowd!
Melissa Cox- Clean Care Specialist
Melissa Cox was a previous volunteer several months ago before working for Town Cats. When not cleaning up after the cats she is giving as much attention as she can to every cat. She has been an animal/insect/etc lover since she was young but never had a cat of her own, which makes Town Cats the perfect introduction to the life of felines. When not working, she can be found playing various games or watching other’s play themselves. She hopes to either go into a career related to animals or gaming. Melissa is super excited for the future of Town Cats and can’t wait to see what comes next.