Joan Avent, the dedicated head of SpayMart’s Kitten Foster Program, was recognized with a prestigious award from PetSmart, honoring her achievement of facilitating nearly 700 kitten adoptions last year.

Joan’s journey with SpayMart began in the early 80s, born from a simple act of kindness toward a stray cat. She reached out for help to Lynn Chiche, who had not yet founded SpayMart but offered what assistance she could.

During Hurricane Katrina, Joan and Lynn worked together saving pets displaced by the storm. Joan also opened her home to dogs and cats left behind in the floods. Out of this crisis response SpayMart was born, operating a sanctuary for homeless cats as well as spay/neuter and adoption programs.

Joan’s involvement with SpayMart deepened over the years, culminating in the Kitten Foster Program. Under Joan’s leadership the program has saved countless feline lives, providing care to orphaned kittens that shelters usually lack the resources to help and finding thousands of kittens homes through its PetSmart adoption location.

Reflecting on her years with SpayMart, Joan said, “I guess the most valuable thing I’ve received from these years of service is the satisfaction of knowing I made a difference.”

“Joan’s compassion for and commitment to the homeless kittens of New Orleans are truly inspiring,” said SpayMart co-founder and president Lynn Chiche. “She is one of the most selfless, caring people I have ever met.”

Lauree Nunez, who works closely with Joan in the Kitten Foster Program, said, “She works tirelessly. Everyone knows Miss Joan, knows that she will help, and that she has a kind and giving heart.”

As kitten season hits Lousiana, the need for new volunteers and support for SpayMart’s mission is more critical than ever. Interested individuals are encouraged to step forward to support the vital work of saving and caring for kittens. To volunteer, contact Lauree Nunez via phone or text at 504-343-7000, or donate to support their cause at

About SpayMart

SpayMart’s mission is to ensure no animal enters local shelters at the risk of losing their lives. Our success is achieved by providing the public aggressive, proactive spay/neuter initiatives, robust adoption programs, and access to medical care regardless of income. Learn more at

For further information, please contact Christie Keith at

– END –