Our Board

Dog that lives at shelter little tan and black mixed breed
Happy, CCST (Chief Cat Supervisor and Trainer)

Our first requirement is that every board member must love pets–especially cats! Experience with special needs animals is a plus, but it’s not required.

At this time, all board members are volunteers, and our goal is to build an organization that provides a multi-faceted venue for donors and businesses to provide for special needs animals and for aging and/or disabled pet owners without resources in Austin/Travis County area. All of us serve in multiple capacities. We always need more wonderful people to join us too.

Catnip Casa Cat Refuge is a 501c3 Texas nonprofit corporation. If you are interested in serving on the board or volunteering, please contact Penny through our contact form in the sidebar. Please note all events sponsored or benefiting our programs are required to be vegan as of 2019. We feel serving meat is inconsistent with our message and goals to protect animals. You do not have to be vegan, but you must be able to support and abide by this decision while serving this organization and during our events.

President and CEO – Penny Leisch (Texas)

Certified Nonprofit Executive credential badge You’ve seen our story and read about the commitment Catnip Casa has to animal welfare. Catnip Casa Cat Refuge is an organization created to allow the community to support and provide for special needs cats, as well as to educate those who want to foster them. We truly believe with education and support fewer aging and special needs animals will spend sad last days in local shelters.

In addition, we want to begin to fill the gap in services for our veterans, seniors, and disabled persons who are often faced with giving up a pet due to a temporary illness and lack of resources. My first hat is that of President; my second hat is intake and nursing for the animals; my third hat is that of Treasurer, and my fourth hat is Webmaster and designer.

Chief Technology Volunteer – Michael Leisch (Texas)

As of our annual meeting in 2023, Michael stepped down from the board. He continues to be our Chief Technology Volunteer in a non-voting position, as well as continuing to help with the other heavy lifting (cat litter and food deliveries come to mind) and technical challenges. According to Michael, he is a CTO (Chief Cat Trap Opener), but we know he does way more than that. He’s a very important part of this organization.

Over thirty years of banking and technical experience gives Michael the expertise to keep our software current and the site secure and online when technical problems befall us. He scoops, handles vet pickup and delivery, and keeps us online, on top of working full time in his day job. We are grateful for his time and labor in all capacities.

Director/Vice President – Tia Stevens (Arizona)

We want to give a big happy paws-up to Tia for joining us. As an adult student, Tia juggles university classes as a business major, being a mom, and advocating for animal rescue. She and her husband share their home with a son and daughter, a large rescue dog, and other critters that arrive from time to time, such as hamsters, fish, and a tortoise.

We look forward to taking advantage of Tia’s creative skills and business acumen.

Director/Secretary – Cynthia Stonacek (Texas)

Cynthia Stonacek (Cindy) joined the board as of March 26, 2023. Cindy comes to the board with over twenty years of accounting experience, along with prior experience working with shelter cats and sharing her household with several furry felines. In the past, she also shared her home with dogs. So she has a well-rounded pet resume.

We look forward to Cindy’s experience working with the cats through play therapy. Her accounting experience also makes her ability to help us evaluate our planning and budgeting process invaluable.

young kitty peeking through opening in dog bowl holder
Do you think I can surprise the dog if I hide here?