Contact Info
Phone: (916) 434-6022
Joy Smith
Founder / Ambassador

About Joy Smith

Growing up on a farm in New Jersey, Joy knew from childhood that cats were special animals. She always had a number of cats, but her first “rescue” was Toad, a tiny kitten she saved from a nearby farm. Toad went to college with her, then traveled across the country to California where she moved with her husband, Preston.

Joy had a successful career in Health Information and Technology Management that had her traversing the country working in various hospitals. She always had her cats to come home to, except for Louise, who was a traveling cat before her time. Louise traveled far and wide with Joy in the late 90’s as, what we now call, an emotional support animal.

In 2001, Preston and Joy, along with their 10 cats, 2 horses and 1 dog, moved to Lincoln to “put down roots” on the property which is now home to FieldHaven Feline Center. Louise was the inspiration for the black cat in the FieldHaven logo.

In 2003, with her sister, Jann, Joy co-founded FieldHaven Feline Rescue.  In 2012, the name was changed to FieldHaven Feline Center.  By 2014, it was apparent that FieldHaven had grown to the point where it required her in more than a volunteer position, so Joy became the full-time Executive Director. When not devoting her time to the shelter and cats in need, Joy and her husband Preston enjoy boating in classic wooden boats and riding their horses.

Joy proudly and consistently leads FieldHaven by creating new and exciting ways to help cats and their people, with a goal to always maximize positive impact.

In 2018, Joy led the mission to help FieldHaven recover cats from the tragic Camp Fire in Paradise, California. During the seven-month long rescue, over 650 cats were recovered, and some of those experiences are chronicled in the newly released documentary The Fire Cats.

To get through some of the most challenging days, Joy leaves you with a couple of her favorite mottos:

  • “When people say “If I win the lottery, I want to build an organization just like FieldHaven” Joy replies, “You don’t need to win the lottery, just do it.”
  • And when she gets bogged down in the minutiae of running a large, lifesaving nonprofit, she reminds herself “I just wanted to save a few cats.”
  • And, lastly, “Why be normal when you can be eccentric? Normal is boring.”

Posts by Joy

06/21/2023 – A Change is Coming
12/17/2021 – 12 Saves of Christmas: Day #5 – Chuva
12/16/2021 – 12 Saves of Christmas: Day #4 – Clifford
12/15/2021 – 12 Saves of Christmas: Day #3 – Snowflake & Cullen MacRobbie
12/14/2021 – 12 Saves of Christmas: Day #2 – Pete’s Lifesaving Journey
12/13/2021 – 12 Saves of Christmas: Day #1 – The Highway 70 Family

Engaging and empowering communities to ensure every cat has a safe place to live.

- FieldHaven Mission Statement