About Us

Our Mission

Our mission is to minimize the euthanasia of high-risk pets in Utah.

To achieve this goal our focus is:

  • Rescuing high-risk pets from Utah shelter partners: senior cats, medical cases, and special needs animals.
  • Keeping pets in homes by providing education, resources and promoting spay & neuter programs.
  • Providing veterinarian care to animals initially not considered “highly” adoptable and bringing them back to health.

Our Story

Whiskers believes that a group of dedicated people can make a huge impact on the lives of our feline friends. We believe in giving second chances, providing the care they deserve, and allowing them a chance to recover. Through giving these precious friends the time they deserve, we also grow as human beings. We strive to do our best for every single cat who comes to Whiskers.

Whiskers’ founder, Jessica Vigos, started volunteering in animal shelters in 2012. That summer, she also TNR’d (trap-neuter-return) her first colony of undersocialized cats. This really opened her eyes to truly how many cats in the community & shelters needed help. Learning that cats were the number one euthanized animal in the world was devastating. Jessica became heavily involved in doing TNR work for a large animal welfare organization for the next five years, working in shelters and helping as many cats as possible.

In 2017, while serving as the adoption specialist for another rescue, Jessica was alerted to a cat in desperate need of help. That night, she sat in the dark and waited for this fragile boy. She netted Sweet Rick, who was about 16 years old at the time. He was in horrific condition, but he was already neutered—which meant that at some point, he was somebody’s pet. The night she found him, netting him, she thought for sure gave him a heart attack. Sweet Rick went to the vet the following morning, and their journey began. She learned his caregiver had passed away, and the neighbors knew he was partially blind, partially deaf, and weighed only 4 lbs, yet they did nothing to help him. As she puts it, “Our journey to restore him to good health was beautiful. It was a miracle I was able to spend two years with him. He is a mascot and inspiration for what we do. Sweet Rick changed the trajectory of my life forever.”

Today, Whiskers is a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit organization that strives to end homelessness for pets in Utah. We invite you to explore our programs, get involved, and help us save lives!

Thank you!

Rick the cat stands on a folding chair, his paws bracing him on the back of the chair. Behind him, a cage is open, with bowls for food and water and two blankets inside.

Annual Report

Please find our most recent annual report here.

Meet Our Team

Whiskers founder Jessica Vigos snuggles a content looking white cat with a speckled grey pattern on his crown. The pair seems comfortable.

Jessica Vigos Founder

Growing up, Jessica Vigos always had animals in the home. Her mother was a foster and animal rescue advocate, and from a very young age “a home just was not a home without a cat.” 

In 2018, in order to further build on the passion for rescuing cats truly in need of medical, special needs, declawing issues & special needs she and her friends founded Whiskers.

Julie Davis, Board President, looks to the camera from the center of the screen. She holds a dusty grey cat in her arms, with front paws on her shoulder. The pair are in front of a white fence and trees.

Julie Davis: Board President (Operations)

Julie Davis is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1972. From 1985 to 2008 she worked as often as possible with the National Ability Center in Park City. She retired to focus on her family in 2009. Her next chapter of life is indulging her love of cats. 

When Julie's “cat mentor” Jessica Vigos, decided to start Whiskers, she raised her hand to help in any way she could. Being a longtime foster founding member of the Whiskers Board of Directors are roles Julie has been proud to play.

Ryan Tate, looks down at his arms as he cuddles a cat. The cat looks over his elbow, toward the left side of the image.

Ryan Tate: Board Vice President (Donor Relations)

Ryan started volunteering with Whiskers in 2019. His love for our mission inspired him and his wife Lauren Tate to adopt two of our senior cats. Both cats are certified emotional support animals. Ryan brings to the table an amazing voice. In addition to volunteering at Whiskers he founded another  incredible nonprofit.

Picture of Randi Beckstrom, Secretary. A woman in a wide-brimmed straw hat and a floral dress stands in a field of sunflowers. She smiles at the camera, reddish brown hair cascading down her shoulders.

Randi Beckstrom: Foster Coordinator

This busy mom of four little humans makes time to care for some of our most at-risk cats. Randi's love for animals is a priority In her life, whether it is nursing a sick cat back to health or taking care of the many farm animals on the Beckstrom farm. Randi is creative, has a flair for design, crafts, and outside of the box ideas for making things flow.

Picture of Melody Gritton, Treasurer. She wears a purple t-shirt and looks slightly downward toward the camera, eyes framed by silver-rimmed glasses.

Melody Gritton: Treasurer

Melody has been involved in rescue since 2012 starting out by transporting pets from remote shelters to their rescues and ended up fostering and is now on the board of Whiskers and still fostering. As a CPA, she ensures we keep in compliance with the tax laws.


Lauren Tate: Volunteer Coordinator

Lauren chose to be apart of Whiskers because we help the cats that get overlooked in our shelters; seniors and medical cases. “Serving neglected animals brings so much meaning to my life. I have seen Whiskers bring cats back from the brink of death and give them the life they have always deserved. I have adopted two seniors from Whiskers. Both have gone on to become certified PTSD service animals. Volunteering with Whiskers gives my life purpose. I am honored to be apart of their lifesaving team.”
Picture of Kenan Karalic, Web Administrator. A man with light brown hair and brown framed glasses looks at the camera, dressed in a blue sweatshirt. Behind him, framed art and a wooden shelf is visible.

Kenan Karalic: Web Administrator

Kenan serves as the volunteer web/tech admin for Whiskers. He is also a foster parent for animals needing a temporary home away from the shelter. Kenan has been involved with Whiskers since 2020.

Whiskers reviews inquiries of new board members during our semi-annual meetings held in January & June. To inquire about becoming part of the board please email [email protected].