It has been over two months since the local SPCA told all of us volunteers to stay home. They are still taking care of and adopting pets but they are doing it with just their paid staff. That means the cats and dogs are still finding homes but they have fewer people around to pay attention to them while they are there.
While I was volunteering, I took photos of some of the cats almost every time I was there and I thought this would be a good time to share some of the ones from this year. The last time I was there was March 19th, over two months ago, so I’m sure all of these kitties have found homes by now. At least I hope so. I also have forgotten all of their names except Grampa Hulu who was unusual because he was a male tortie.
Hopefully they will be letting us volunteers come back pretty soon.
A couple of months ago I wrote about the many cats I saw who tended to spend their time lying in litter boxes at the SPCA shelter where I volunteer (see here). I suggested, and people agreed, that this is a behavior caused by stress. Since then I have accumulated several more photos of cats in litter boxes. Many, if not all, of the cats shown here have been adopted so enjoy the photos but don’t worry about the kitties.
Being in a shelter is no fun for anybody but usually, the end justifies the means. I’ve noticed the turnover is relatively quick and a cat that spends three months in our shelter is pretty rare. Now that the shelter is by appointment only that might change but my hope is people won’t forget about these pets in need even though they have other things to worry about right now. What do you think?
As many of you know, I volunteer for the SPCA here in Largo, Florida. I work as a cat counselor every Thursday from 4-7. Usually there are three of us counselors but a week ago two of my fellow volunteers did not show up. When I went in this Thursday I was expecting the shelter to be closed to the public but I was pleasantly surprised that it was open and pets were being adopted, although they have adopted an appointment only policy that started Friday.
I was again alone this Thursday, and I hope the two ladies I work with are well, but it does make my work seem even more important now. During the three hours I was there I saw three cats go home with their new families. It is a good feeling.
My wife and I have been throwing around the idea of adopting a female cat. Unfortunately, we are only allowed one pet where we live and are already over our limit so it probably won’t happen but I still think about it while I am there. This last month there have been a string of female black cats that have been extremely friendly and affectionate. Three of these cats have been in isolation because they supposedly do not get along with other cats. We considered adopting one of them, Jezebel, which I wrote about here. When my wife came in to check her out she proved herself to be intolerant of others.
While I was there Thursday, I kept an eye out for the most friendly female cat at the shelter. This, of course, is impossible to determine on one visit because cats might act differently depending on how tired they are or for other reasons. However, I do think a six year old cat named Kiki would get my vote. Coincidentally, she is another female black cat and I noticed how friendly she was the previous week too.
I think the friendliest male cat at the shelter would be a one year old named Kitty, who is a very special cat with a not so special name. He is in isolation because he is on a special diet but I think that is temporary. When I opened his cage he was all over me. He would push his head into my chin and then put his paws on my shoulder and snuggle with me. As an outgoing and rather well built male, I think he would cause jealousy among our other two wannabe alpha males.
On the way out after my shift I noticed a beautiful cat that was just outside the door. He meowed at me and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was one of our cats that escaped. I took a photo of him and went back inside to ask someone.
It turns out his name is Chunks, or something like that, and he is a stray that they take care of. It seems strange that a stray cat would be a permanent resident outside a shelter but if he is feral and unadoptable, that is probably the best place to live. When I came back out I bent down and reached out my hand, hoping he would come to me, but no such luck. I think he his trusting but to a point.
How are things where you live? Do you know if shelters are still open?
Since starting as a volunteer at the SPCA a few months ago, I have noticed a surprisingly high number of cats who spend there time lying in litter boxes. I don’t know why. The pods at the SPCA are about 100 square feet with plenty of vertical sleeping areas. Perhaps it is a reaction to stress. Considering there are between four and eight cats in each pod and the pods are constantly changing as cats come and go, I can understand why it would be stressful, especially for the more timid cats.
Since today is National Cat Day, a day to raise awareness of homeless pets, I thought I would share some recent pictures I took while volunteering at a local SPCA in Largo, Florida. Most of these cats are very friendly and still available for adoption. If you don’t live near me, I’m sure your local shelter has plenty of cats that would love to share your home with you.
As you can see, many cats need a home and the pictures shown here are perhaps five to ten percent of the shelter’s total.
Lately, my wife and I have considered adopting a female cat to help keep our boys in line but we are currently two cats over our legal limit so I don’t know what will happen. If we do decide to adopt, one possibility is the cat shown below. Forgive the quality but I couldn’t get a decent photo of her face because of low light and too much movement.
This girl came to me as soon as I walked in. She got on my lap and purred up a storm. I was a bit concerned because she was practically skin and bones. When one of the shelter employees saw this she said, “Wow, Mama Girl is coming out of her shell.” This surprised me for two reasons. First, out of several cats in the pod, this one seemed the most outgoing and affectionate. Second, I thought she was still a kitten. How could she be a mother? I was told she was about a year old and had already had a litter of kittens.
I expressed my concern about her weight and the employee said she would make a note of it and watch her. If she didn’t improve they might have to remove her from the pod and isolate her. I hoped that wouldn’t happen but sometimes a bully cat can keep another cat from eating. She brought her a container of wet food and asked me to watch and make sure nobody took it from her, which I did. I then noticed a sore on her front leg which I also mentioned.
I will keep on eye on her for as long as she is there. Hopefully she will gain a little weight. Perhaps if I bring her home Chris could show her how to eat for weight gain.
As some of you know, I found Chris in 2009 at a shelter that I volunteered for in Myrtle Beach. I left Florida and moved to Myrtle Beach in July of that year because my wife was offered a promotion to go there. I could only find a part-time job so I volunteered at the Grand Strand Humane Society to fill my time. I was not happy there, partly because I didn’t like that all of the 200 plus cats were kept separate in small cages, and partly because we were not able to take out more than one cat at a time and there was no way to know which cats had already been let ot that day and which had not. I did not feel very useful.
After a month or so I left the Humane Society and volunteered for a place called Sav-R-Cats. I liked it there because the cats were kept in groups in larger cages and most were let out into the large community area during the day. Some did not even have a cage and stayed out in the community area full time. I was also able to be more useful there. I set up their Petfinder profile and photographed the cats and put them on Petfinder. I also updated their website and created a brochure for them. In addition, I helped clean cages occasionally when they were at PetSmart, which is where I met Chris.
We moved back to Florida in late 2010. This was after the economy collapsed and I again could only find a part time job so I again signed up to be a volunteer at a place called Suncoast Animal League. I was only there for about a month when I was offered a full time job. I kept my part time job for awhile too so I had to give up the volunteering.
I now have two businesses that keep me fairly busy but also give me a lot of flexibility. I will be losing some of my work next month because the company is for sale so I decided to look into volunteering again. I signed up to be a volunteer at the SPCA many weeks ago. I chose the SPCA not for any particular reason except it is the closet shelter to my home.
After about three weeks, maybe more, I still had not heard back from the SPCA about my volunteer application. That is when Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas. I heard about volunteer crews that were being sent there to help out and I had a strong desire to be part of it. I knew that was impossible. People sent into disasters have training and experience so I decided to start at the bottom. I signed up with my local Red Cross.
About a week later, and within a couple of days of each other, I got a call from both the Red Cross and the SPCA. I did phone interviews with both and then went to an orientation with the Red Cross on Friday and then with the SPCA on Tuesday.
At the SPCA I was with one other new volunteer while we were shown how everything works. Most of the cats that are for adoption are kept in small groups of eight or less. Each group has their own room that is about half the size of a typical bedroom. While it is not ideal, it is way better than small, cramped cages. They do have the smaller cages but cats kept there are either in isolation for health reasons or they new intakes.
We were brought into one of the larger rooms and spent some time interacting with the cats there. There were two young ginger kittens and a black kitten that was a little older.
It was fun playing with the kittens but then we moved to another pod where there were two adults and an older kitten.
Both of the adult cats were loving the attention and the gold kitten was quite playful, when he wasn’t eating. After about ten minutes we realized there was another cat in the room, hiding in the cat perch tube.
This fellow was not exactly exited about us being there. Perhaps he, or she, just needs more time to get used to people.
It looks like I will now be helping out there every Monday and/or Tuesday afternoon. I am also on call tomorrow, Friday, for the Red Cross. I am a little nervous about that since I have had no training and don’t really know what to expect but going out on calls is the training so I also look forward to it.
I understand that many of the calls are for house fires. When someone’s home burns down they are put in a situation where they have nothing. The Red Cross helps by giving them access to money to buy clothes and stay at a hotel. It is only short term help but it is desperately needed and I look forward to playing my part.