I just started volunteering at an animal shelter. Many of the cats live in a large room with lots of cat trees and scratching posts. So far I've just sat in there and it's amazing how quickly some of them just climbed onto my lap or just sat near me. They really seemed to appreciate some human companionship. I'd just like to recommend the experience to anyone who's been thinking about it. It's probably one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.
Judy F
I just started volunteering at an animal shelter. Many of the cats live in a large room with lots of ... to anyone who's been thinking about it. It's probably one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Judy F

Good on you! You've already learned how vital "socializing" is. We are so short on volunteers right now. But we started a program with the Handicapped Adult center, and two people are brought out on a bus every day, and their job is "socializing" (i.e. playing with) the cats. It's such a win-win situation. The other volunteers are freed up to do other tasks. We tended to get so wrapped up in the necessary tasks, like feeding and cleaning and paperwork, nobody had time to just spend time with theem. It's important.

Sheerry
I just started volunteering at an animal shelter. Many of the cats live ina large room with lots of cat ... experience to anyone who's been thinking about it. It's probably one of the most rewarding thingsI've ever done. Judy F[/nq]Good for you! I've been volunteering at an animal shelter for almost a year now, and it is one of the best things I have ever done! I always wanted to volunteer at a shelter, but I always had excuses (too busy, etc). Finally one day, a co-worker told me she was going to an informational meeting about volunteering at the shelter, so I went. After attending the meeting, I couldn't wait to come in and scoop litterboxes! It's important to find a shelter that is compatible with your philosophies about animals.

I could never volunteer at a kill shelter, I would end up taking everyone who's time is up home. At the shelter I'm at, we technically call ourselves low-kill, since they will put down cats that are very ill. They used to immediately put down in cases of FeLV, but have begun working with a FeLV+ shelter in the area, and are now keeping + cats in foster care until they can be placed at the + shelter.
Another good thing about volunteering at a shelter is you have an "in" somewhere. I can't speak for how all shelters run, but I know if, say, there was a stray at my condos and I wanted to rescue him, I have an immediate network of cat-knowledgeable people and potential foster homes. I know the shelter would take him when a spot opened up.

Also, when we were going away for our honeymoon, my cat sitter had fallen through. Guess what? I had right there an email list of about 50 people who volunteer with cats! Surely one of them might want to cat-sit! I sent the email out, and I had more responses than I knew what to do with. Plus, since I had a volunteer watching my cats, I could relax knowing they would recognize any signs of illness, etc.
Anyway, congrats! I hope you find it as rewarding as I do. :-)
-Kelly
kelly at farringtons dot net
Check out www.snittens.com
I think this is wonderful. BTW, for those who don't have a lot of time to volunteer donating to the shelter also makes a difference. Many times shelters could use donations (or even foster homes) to make life a little easier for the cats. I myself don't have a lot of time to volunteer but do donate items such as cat litter and food. I also donate money as well and try to hold drives in order to send money. If you can't donate money then you can also donate skills and time behind the scenes.

Right now I am putting together another page on our Web Site which will list feline rescue groups in the Phoenix area because there seems to be a need for it despite the shelters having Web Sites. The Sites which have listings and phone numbers of rescue groups are there but hard to always find in a search and doesn't always list all the feline rescue organizations in the area.

Kudos to you Judy. I think it is wonderful you are volunteering. I am sure you are making a wonderful difference in the lives of those cats. May many cats find good and loving homes due to your work.

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Thanks to you all for your warm responses! Of course the purrs and snuggles from the cats are the best reward of all!
Judy F
I just started volunteering at an animal shelter. Many of the cats live in a large room with lots of ... to anyone who's been thinking about it. It's probably one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Judy F

To the OP,
I wanted to say that it's so wonderful to read that you're going to give this a try. I've been volunteering at my local humane society (not a no-kill) for about three years, working with the cats, and it has been very rewarding. I too am the kind of person who attaches to things, but I've done very well. In fact, doing this kind of volunteering has allowed me to help co-workers choose a new cat.

I won't lie; there have been hard times, especially around the holidays when I realize the cats don't have a home to go to. And I had to leave crying once after seeing a cowering cat in a cage who was labeled as a "bite case." However, there have been many wonderful moments too, such as feeding a two-week old kitten, or seeing a scared cat come and sit on my lap.
The other volunteers I work with are great; so is the woman who's the head of the cat socialization program. They genuinely care about the cats' wellbeing, and that's a good feeling.
Rene