Many cat lovers want to give back – and what better way to do so than by volunteering your time. Today we have a guest post by Stephanie Lynch on one aspect of volunteering. The pictures in this post are from when I volunteered at Cat World at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in October 2015. ~Rachel
Volunteering at a Cat Sanctuary
By Stephanie Lynch
Do you love cats? If you’re looking into volunteering at a cat sanctuary, it’s probably safe to say that you are a feline enthusiast. Volunteering your time at a shelter for cats can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be hard work. Here are some things to consider when volunteering at a cat sanctuary.
Having Experience with Cats
This may seem obvious, but a lot of people who want to volunteer with animals do not have much experience. While a cat sanctuary will offer you full training, you should still have some personal experience in dealing with cats, even if you don’t have one of your own.
Practice being around cats. Your neighbor or friend may have a cat you can pet sit or play with if you do not have your own cat. Try interacting with cats you see. Learn some cat language so that you can approach them gently and make friends.
Learn to Work with People Too
While working with cats will be the main focus of your volunteer duties, you will also have to work with people. If you’re not accustomed to being part of a team, or taking orders, you will need to get used to this before volunteering.
You may also have to put aside some personal beliefs or feelings in order to work well on a team. Some sanctuaries may have rules or regulations that you disagree with. But regardless of how you feel, you must obey these rules if you want to maintain a successful volunteer position.
Be Prepared to Work Hard
Working with animals can be hard work. You should be aware that you may be very active on some days. You may do heavy lifting, such as carrying large bags of cat food, or you may have to stand for long periods of time. This may be taxing on certain individuals who are not used to this amount of labor.
Besides the physical labor, working at a cat sanctuary can be mentally and emotionally tiring too. Are you prepared to work hard in the office, answering a telephone or talking to visitors? And are you emotionally prepared to be around animals that deserve good homes but may never get them? What about answering complicated questions such as the cost of a cat procedure or why a cat isn’t being adopted?
Be In It for the Long Haul
Some shelters and sanctuaries require a time commitment from their volunteers. You may be asked to agree to as much as a year of volunteering before you are signed on. This is because working with animals requires dedication. Cats are creatures of habit, so any changes to their routine can be stressful.
Along with being committed, you will also need to be flexible. You may be asked to work extra hours some weeks, or to help out at special fundraisers during certain times of the year.
These are just a few of the important things to consider when you are preparing to volunteer with cats. Working at a cat shelter can be a lot of fun, but it will never be all play and no work, so be prepared!
About the Author
Stephanie Lynch works with howmuchisit.org, a cost-helping database that helps consumers find out what the unknown costs in life are. She has written on many topics regarding the costs of caring for a cat. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys hiking, biking and spending time with her family and two cats.
Have you ever volunteered at a cat sanctuary? What are some other things to consider?
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