Volunteers Week 2020 : Stories from a Cat Shelter Volunteer
A Cat Shelter Volunteer – Feline Tales of Happy Endings
By Rachel Grant, Student Help Point Team Leader
I would recommend volunteering to everyone. It is all about giving – your time, your energy, your passion. Find something that ignites your interest, and you will find you gain back tenfold all you put in.
As a cat lover, I used to frequent the Cats Protection charity shop on George Street (it is now a tailor’s shop) and noticed one day a wall display of many different cats – all seeking homes! Unfortunately I could not home a cat where I lived, however enquired whether I could volunteer at the cat shelter. So began a decade of early Sunday mornings, and a deluge of feline tales, most with a happy ending!
I found out that all cats would gain a loving home. So when people would ask, is it not heartbreaking work, actually no, it wasn’t! There is nothing so heartwarming as getting to know a cat, perhaps with a traumatic past, and then seeing that feline move to a new and purrfect home. Happy endings were the norm!
I loved it when I was chosen to name a new arrival, although I did tend to get it wrong – the kitten who looked like a Laura became Laurel, and cute Thomas became Tina.
I wasn’t the only one to make mistakes. One volunteer named a stray mum Sasha; she came with two older kittens who would climb over her constantly, she did not mind and never got cross with them. However, on neutering day it turned out that Sasha – now Simon – was in fact not Mum but Dad!
The best happy endings were a testament to microchipping – yes, two or three years after losing a cat, you can be reunited! (Cats Protection scan all strays for a chip.) It would be a mystery where the cat had been for two years, including a beautiful long-haired cat whose coat was in beautiful condition and had obviously been looked after.
I loved the annual open day. I always manned the tea and coffee stall, which proved to be very busy and I was usually run off my feet!
I would do an update every week on Facebook about my cat pen shift, and now I am “retired” Facebook reminds me of all these beautiful memories. So many cats, so many stories.
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