Back in March I started doing something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. I became a regular volunteer. My organization of choice? The MSPCA. I go in once a week, where I’m a Cat Condo Cleaner & Cuddler. I love cats, I think they are some of the most precious souls and their range in personalities, the variety in their soft furs (long, short, dark, light, striped), and the love they can bring into a house are something I will always cherish. I love dogs too, but I knew the cats at the MSPCA needed my help. They sometimes have up to 6,000 or more cats come through their doors each year.
I love that the MSPCA will do everything it can to make sure a cat gets adopted. They do not have a time limit on how long the cat stays with them. If they have deemed the cat ‘adoptable’ it will stay there until it gets adopted. They do not take it lightly when they decide to put a cat down. Each decision is made on a case-by-case, and they do everything they can to avoid that decision. But the sad truth is until more people become responsible pet owners and make sure they spay/neuter their cat, keep them indoors where they will be happier, safer, and live longer, a place like the cat adoption center in the MSPCA is necessary and so are it’s many volunteers.
I spend two hours, one day a week cleaning the cages, refreshing food, water, and litter and giving each cat some pets and the warm attention they need. At the end of the shift the cries for food and attention have quieted, cats lounge lazily, satiated and satisfied and ready for potential adopters to visit later on. I leave every single time feeling a sense of happiness and pride knowing I’ve made that cat’s stay a little more comfortable and hopefully helped him/her towards an adoption success. I also leave so happy that I have met some of the most amazing people ever. While we clean we talk about everything- cats, dogs, family, life, vacations, school, work, and more. We laugh and sometimes have music playing and between the wonderful cats and the equally wonderful people those two hours fly by way too fast.
I will be so sad to leave the MSPCA when we move in August, but I will keep in touch with some of the folks I’ve met. I’ll keep tabs on the sweet cats that come in and hopefully I can come back at some point, or find a place in our new home while we’re there where I can do something similar. It’s been only 6 months, but each and every cat and person there has touched my heart and changed my life in a way I could never have expected.
If you’re interested in volunteering with cats, dogs or other animals such as birds and rabbits reach out to the MSPCA or another local shelter. Maybe become a foster parent or donate. Maybe even adopt one of these awesome guys yourself. E. is fully aware of the fact that the only reason we don’t have a dog and two more cats in our 1000 square-foot condo is the saving grace we are moving…but maybe someday…. Does this all make me a crazy cat lady? Well, if it does I’ll wear that badge with honor. These little guys need someone in their corner, who appreciates and loves them rather than treats them poorly or disparages them for being who they are; cats.
Do you do any kind of volunteering? Do share your experience with us in the comments and give folks ideas for ways they can get involved.