A Reader’s Experience Working At A No-Kill Cat Shelter

Trisha has written for us before. She’s charming young lady who’s always got something to say. This time it’s about her experience as a volunteer at a no-kill cat shelter with some tips on how a volunteer can ease the load for employees so they can get more done.

As a former volunteer I’ll add a bit about how being a cat shelter volunteer has hidden perks for people. During my orientation at the San Francisco SPCA they said that many volunteers reported that their time there was better than therapy. I took that to mean: “Walk in depressed, walk out happy and at peace.” One high school aged girl who was trapped at her abusive parent’s house until she turned 18 said she could tell the cats all of her problems which became less of a burden because the cats listened. Others said that it gave them a mental health break from their own mind’s chatter. And dog walkers reported significant weight loss.


My Experience Working At A No-Kill Cat Shelter

By Trisha Miller

For the last 8 months I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering weekly at a no-kill cat shelter near me, called Simply Cats. Due to time constraints I’ve had to stop volunteering for the time being, but I enjoyed every second of it. If you have a few hours of your day to dedicate to a shelter in your area, I highly suggest that you do so. Even if on a small scale, I knew that I was making a difference in these cats’ lives. I was helping to provide them with a safe, clean home and did my best to provide them comfort. What’s more, I helped to relieve some of the full-time staff so they were able to attend to critical matters that demanded their attention. If you’re wondering if volunteering is right for you, I’d like to share my experience with you and hopefully help you form your own conclusion.

Why Volunteer?

I started volunteering at my local shelter simply because I’m a cat lover and I had a free day each week with nothing to do. Why not help out some cats and make the lives of the shelter employees a little bit easier. In addition, one of my two cats is a rescue cat, and sadly was not living at a no kill shelter. If I wouldn’t have chosen to take him home I’m afraid the worst possible imaginable scenario might have taken place. That being said, I have a soft spot in my heart for rescued animals.

If your local shelter is anything like mine, then you’ll agree that shelter employees have very little time to do so many tasks, and can really use the help. Running the shelter, greeting guests, accepting cats, and trying to organize events is more than enough to make an employee feel overwhelmed, I’m sure.

On top of all of that, my local shelter has about 20 individual rooms that house cats in each. These rooms need to be attended to twice per day. When you have, on average, two or more cats in each room, the room gets messy in a hurry. They need someone to clean up the mess and to just be with the cats and comfort them during their stay.

My Job Duties

My assignment at my particular no kill shelter was to clean the rooms of the cats. As I mentioned before, this needed to be done twice per day. So, I stepped in for an earlier shift on my off day, which only took up about 2 hours of my day. I would scoop litter, clean all surfaces, sweep and mop, and make sure the cats had fresh water. After I was done making sure their living area was sparkling clean, I was able to just enjoy my time with the kitties, play with them, and pet them (the best part!).

As volunteers we also had the opportunity to spread awareness about the shelter via social media and throughout the community. My shelter has regular events that we were encouraged to attend in order to help raise funds to keep the shelter open and get the cats all the necessities for maintaining a fulfilled and happy life while they are at the shelter.

What You Need to Know

A friend of mine recommended that I volunteer at the shelter because she is currently a volunteer as well. We discussed the possibility back and forth and among my many other delights, I was especially happy to volunteer for a no-kill shelter. However, even if you choose to volunteer at a no-kill shelter, you should prepare yourself for some things you might see or learn during your stay.

Some cats do come from hoarding or abuse situations. My local shelter has a veterinary staff on hand to help any kitties that need medical attention. You may come into contact with cats that have illnesses or impairments due to their neglect or abuse. So, you’ll want to mentally prepare for that before you walk in the door. As heartbreaking as it is to see, all of the cats that I encountered with illnesses or impairments were completely healed, thanks to the dutiful veterinary staff, and were as full of life as any other cat I came across in the shelter.

All in all it was an absolutely wonderful experience that I am sad has come to a temporary close. I plan on volunteering again as soon as my schedule opens up again and I suggest that you do the same if you are able. There is simply no experience like it. It is extremely gratifying, fulfilling, and rewarding!

Have you volunteered at a shelter? I’d love to hear about your experience 🙂
 
 
 
 

CATio of the Week – Anne’s

Recently we featured a story about cats and wildlife, and how building a CATio, an enclosed patio just for a cat, can allow your cat fresh air, sunshine, flowers, and their own little garden without hunting and killing birds or bothering other wildlife. A CATio would protect your cat from being harmed by owls, coyotes and other predators – like bad people. Everyone loved it!

Here’s another CATio to inspire your own creative outlook outlet for your cats! You’ve got all Winter to plan it, then have it built this Spring!


“You can see at the bottom of the picture an area of wood chips for their business, an enclosed shed with suitable shelving and cat beds, and a ramp from the top shelf in the shed up to a cat door thru the wall of our house into my laundry room. It has complete cat fencing, lots of shade and they can even go up on the roof of the shed for a Birdseye view of the surrounding woods. My two black-and-white cats are very happy there. ”

Anne, TX

 
 
 
 

Catio of the Week – Linda’s

Recently we featured a story about cats and wildlife, and how building a CATio, an enclosed patio just for a cat, can allow your cat fresh air, sunshine, flowers, and their own little garden without hunting and killing birds or bothering other wildlife. A CATio would protect your cat from being harmed by owls, coyotes and other predators – like bad people. Everyone loved it!

Here’s another CATio to inspire your own creative outlook outlet for your cats! You’ve got all Winter to plan it, then have it built this Spring!


“What a great idea to share different designs! I love my catio! I did it after I found my cats had wandered out to the road on a couple of occasions. It keeps them safe from all the things that can harm kitties and keeps all the things that kitties can harm safe as well! I basically framed in my back porch, added a couple of screen doors and a pet door that fits in the sash window. The cats can go in and out as they please and I no longer worry about them.”

Linda

 
 
 

CATio of the Week – Lilly’s

Recently we featured a story about cats and wildlife, and how building a CATio, an enclosed patio just for a cat, can allow your cat fresh air, sunshine, flowers, and their own little garden without hunting and killing birds or bothering other wildlife. A CATio would protect your cat from being harmed by owls, coyotes and other predators – like bad people. Everyone loved it!

Here’s another CATio to inspire your own creative outlook outlet for your cats! You’ve got all Winter to plan it, then have it built this Spring!

From Lilly…



 
 

CATio of the Week – Janice

Recently we featured a story about cats and wildlife, and how building a CATio, an enclosed patio just for a cat, can allow your cat fresh air, sunshine, flowers, and their own little garden without hunting and killing birds or bothering other wildlife. A CATio would protect your cat from being harmed by owls, coyotes and other predators – like bad people. Everyone loved it!

Here’s another CATio to inspire your own creative outlook outlet for your cats! You’ve got all Winter to plan it, then have it built this Spring!



“This is a wood frame covered over all with deer netting. We made the top removable because really wet snow can make the roof cave in. There’s a cat door into the house so they can get out there all day.”

Janice
 
 
 
 

CATio of the Week – from Karen in Chicago

Last week we featured a story about cats and wildlife, and how building a CATio, an enclosed patio just for a cat, can allow your cat fresh air, sunshine, flowers, and their own little garden without hunting and killing birds or bothering other wildlife. A CATio would protect your cat from being harmed by owls, coyotes and other predators – like bad people. Everyone loved it!

This week we feature another great example of a CATio and the happy cats who get to hang out in it!

Our Malcolm is always moving, always into mischief! He loves being able to go outside and enjoy the ever-changing scenery!

Karen from the Chicago area



Here are Rudy (red kitty) and Malcom (black) enjoying their deck time. We have a Cat fence, hinged at the top, all around our deck and along the side of the house. They LOVE being out there!



This CATio is particularly timely – black cats and pumpkins! And it’s really beautiful.

A thought we’d like to add is if you already have a CATio or are planning to build one be sure that the door that leads inside is locked to keep predators of the 2-footed kind from harassing your cats! You might install an alarm to the door too. Some may want a security camera out there as well.