[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Spay and Neuter"][/caption]
Sunday I completed my third volunteer training session at the animal shelter and I'm now an official volunteer who can come in to clean cages or socialize with the cats. This is the most basic training, and I'll learn more as I volunteer more time and ask to be shown how to do more things. Over the last 3 weeks we've become familiar with how the cats are housed in different areas depending on their health and adoption status. As you enter the shelter you see the multi-cat "luxury suites". Then there are the rooms of cages with adoptable cats, and a room where the cats with the sniffles need to be isolated and observed or treated before being placed back in the adoptable area. Then there's the areas of cats that are not available for adoption. These may be strays that are held for a certain number of days in case their owner is looking for them, the recent or soon-to-be moms, and the animals that have been confiscated or are in protecitive custody.
The momma kitty we had seen the over the past two weeks had been moved from the maternity ward over to the adoptable area. The first week she had about 6 kittens. Last week she had 3 kittens. This week she was in a cage alone, waiting for her forever home. Our volunteer trainer thinks her kittens did not survive. But momma kitty seemed very content and was extremely happy to be getting attention and petting. She was like this even on the maternity ward, always wanting someone to pet her. I hope she'll find a home and I think she will because she is gorgeous and very affectionate.
In the unadoptable area of the shelter was a very friendly black cat who needed some TLC. The note on the cage card said it's owner had died. This poor kitty had fur mats over large areas of it's body, but was still very friendly and even started drooling when one of the volunteers started petting it. The cats on the unadoptable side of the shelter aren't given quite as much lovey-attention as the other cats because they're still adjusting to being in the shelter and are being observed for their behavior and medical status. When I go back I hope to see that it's "hold" period is over and maybe even gotten a "lion cut" to get rid of all the fur mats.
The three training sessions have been very interesting. We've gotten a glimpse into how the shelter operates, seen lots of rambunctious kittens and a wide variety of personalities among the adult cats. The kittens are all very cute and I hope they find good homes. But it's the adult cats who tug at my heartstrings. All the animals are there through no fault of their own and are fortunate to be getting shelter and good care. But I just imagine that the adult cats feel a bit confused about being in this situation and want to get out of their boring cage and be in a home with someone and sit on a couch or lounge in a windowsill.
If you or someone you know is looking to add a cat to your family, please visit your local shelter. There are so many wonderful cats to choose from that I'm sure you'll meet your new best friend.
If you're wondering, I'm not ignoring the dogs that are at the shelter. Learing to walk and provide basic care for the dogs is a different training class. Right now they have plenty of volunteers to walk and socialize the dogs, so I'm focusing on the cats.
Spay & Neuter graphic courtesy Tangri Adapt A Rescue