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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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need opinions-updated

Ok.. I am thinking about voluntieering at the local shelter again..

I have done it before, but always had to stop because i get to attached and upset about putting animals to sleep.

The no kill shelter i got both my kittens from needs volunteers, but, they need cleaning volunteers which i do not mind doing, but i like to give the animals attention too. They are just so understaffed that they can;t afford to give someone just socializing dutie.

The kill shelter does had a need for a socializor, they just come in, hug, clean cuddle and love the animals. But i don't know if i could watch these animals be put to sleep.

What should i do.. work where they need me to clean, and not really be social with the animals? or work where i can make a difference with the animals and then possible lose them to bad circumstances?

Where do you volunteer? what do you do there? what makes you feel like you have done the best for the animals?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 02:59 AM
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Oh Gosh this is a hard one.
I too would get attached to the cats.

I have not done any volunteer work, but know I would not be able to volunteer at the kill shelter.

I would volunteer at the no-kill shelter. You also mentioned that the no kill shelter is understaffed, so you will probably make difference there.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 03:53 AM
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I have done volunteer work and non-volunteer. It was all when I was a bit younger but 1 was stricktly a cat place and it was a kill shelter, it was cleaning and playing. The other was a kennel, which obviously is no kill, and that was mostly cleaning.

To be really honest I would go for the NO KILL shelter and clean cause like you said you dont mind, and I am sure that you as a pet person, just like I am will find time to socialize with the animals. How could you not make some friends? Ya know? It would break my heart to walk dogs and play with cats that could be killed the next morning. I hope that helped you. I know its tough but you will make the right decision for you! BIG HUG!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 08:27 AM
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I wish I could help you out here. I've wanted to volunteer for a while, but I think I would run into the same problem that you did. I would definitly find myself attatched to the animals. I got Mateo a few weeks ago from a kill shelter. They said that the turn over was so great that they rarely had to put any animals to sleep. I'm not sure how true that was. Of course even before I knew that my heart was breaking walking around looking at all the cats and dogs. I wanted to take them all home and I must say I was over joyed when I saw a sign saying they were adopted.

I know this doesn't help your decision, but I thought I would let you know you aren't the only one out there who would be upset working at the shelter.

I personally would probably go for the no kill shelter....since you know that no one will be no one getting put to sleep.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 09:38 AM
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Our shelter is a low/no-kill shelter (only major health or behavioral problems are euthanized...of course for me, that ends up being quite a few of my favorites, because I dote on the sick and psychotic cats ). My job is the cleaning grunt detail, in the mornings, and maintaining the cat page on the shelter's website (photos & bios). IME, no one would mind at all if I stayed after cleaning hours to socialize cats, but the desperate need is to get that cleaning done first. I've also gone in on vet day (when we're closed to the public) to help with medical and grooming jobs...but I had to help with the AM cleaning first. It's similar with dogs...everyone wants to walk dogs, but no one wants to clean poop out of the kennels.

In a small shelter, you can often expand your job if you're willing to do the work as you prove yourself. I started out just cleaning, but I had noticed that only a portion of the shelter's cats were on their website, and that none of them were on Petfinder (though all the dogs were). It turned out that no one had the time to keep up on cats, so I volunteered to do it for them and have gotten a weekly photo session and web update established.

I look at the cleaning as the basics of what needs to be done. I've caught a lot of health and behavioral issues during morning cleaning, and seeing the same cats every week gives me a good base to know when something's not right...I think that if I was just socializing and not cleaning, I wouldn't know the cats as well as I do. I have learned a lot about cat behavior and health by cleaning cages, and I always get a good feeling when I see something wrong with a cat and it gets fixed because I noticed it.

Honestly, I'd go for cage cleaning (personal bias...I know how hard it is to find people to do it ), and if you want to socialize, I'm sure that no one would mind if you stayed a little later to cuddle a cat.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 10:07 AM
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I agree with Gudewife, I did my first shift as a volunteer at a no kill shelter. The cleaning was not a big deal. Sometimes there is more cleaning then other days, depending on how many volunteers show up but I was still able to socialize while cleaning and when the cleaning was done I spent time with the cats. I was allowed to stay as long as I wanted to and I was also told I could come in any time. There will be days when there isn't a lot of work to do and you will get time to socialize. The kill shelter would be too hard on me as well. I already have my favorites at my shelter that I would take home if nobody wanted them! I would have way too many cats if I worked somewhere where they were euthanized.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 10:53 AM
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As an example: We used to have a gorgeous huge tuxedo DLH that I secretly called "Mr. Bojangles." He was terribly aggressive, and no one could work with him too much. The socializers would try to brush him, but got as far as his hips and he'd bite, so they'd stop. Well, Mr. B ended up getting terribly matted on his hips because all that undercoat was getting pulled down and left there. No one could brush him, and he got more and more aggressive. I noticed two things about Mr. B while cleaning...1.) He acted like a cat who was fear and pain aggressive, and I thought that the mats on his hips were pulling on his skin, based on the way he moved. 2.) He was so big that he couldn't get up on the shelf to use the cat flap (at the time we were VERY overcrowded and desperately waiting for our new cat condos to be finished) he was relegated not only to being the lowest-ranked cat of his condo in terms of vertical space, but also to spending all his time sitting on the floor because he couldn't get anywhere else. No wonder he was nuts.

I suggested that we knock him out and demat him (shaving him if necessary), and volunteered to come in on vet day and do it myself. I spent two hours dematting him, cleaning his ears, trimming his claws (I figured that since I had him unconscious, I might as well give him the works). Two days later, he started a transformation...he wasn't as aggressive, his gait was much freer, and he didn't scuttle like a cat in pain anymore, he made slightly better eye contact...but he was still grumpy. A few weeks later, our new condos were done, and I bickered incessantly to get Mr. B placed in one of them (lower shelves and flaps, more horizontal space, ideal for a big fat cat). He got a space in the new condos, and turned into one heck of a nice cat. I was so excited the first time I saw him use the cat flap to go out on his porch, something he could never do in his old condo...I actually called everyone to come and look. He has a new home now and at last report was doing well...and we all thought he was unadoptable.

If I hadn't been cleaning and watching him, I probably wouldn't have made the connections...but I had time to watch him move and time to watch his interactions with his condo-mates, so I started to understand the reasons he was such a psycho. But when you're on your hands and knees scraping poop off the floor, you get a chance to see things from cats-eye view. I looked up one day and realized that there was NO way he could ever have gotten up on the shelf of that condo, and everything fell into place for me.

Now, the socializers did a great job of working with him and getting him used to patting and cuddling once he was on the way to happy, but before that could happen, he needed certain things...a good grooming, more horizontal space, a lower shelf so that he could get off the floor. I'm still very proud of Mr. B...he was a cat right up my alley (no pun intended). I adored him, even when he was a misery to work with.

So, there's quite a bit you can do to help a cat even if you're "just" cleaning cages...often you notice things in the AM that aren't apparent to people who come in later in the day.

Or, as my husband one can do everything, but if everyone does something, everything gets done.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for all the replys. i has sent an email to a shelter i had found on the internet to see what there needs are for volunteers.

Here is the response i got:

We are a cat rescue organization. All of our cats are in foster homes and we do adoptions out of Petsmart on weekends.
We desperately need foster homes and we need people to clean cages and feed at petsmart during the week either morning when the store opens or evening before the store closes.
If you have a second bathroom or a guest room you could foster a litter of kittens until they are ready for adoption, or a shy cat that needs more socializing or a nursing mother cat. You could start with as many or as few as you like.
Let me know if you are interested.

I then wrote back:


I am very interested in getting more details.

How long do kittens stay in foster care?
How much time and work do they need? ( I work at home so it doesn't matter, it's just a question)
How are supplies and food paid for?
Are the kittens allowed to be introduced to my cats?
How old would the kittens be when I get them?
How often are there kittens with no mothers?
How much are you adoption fees?
Do you adopt out of anywhere other than petsmart?

Like I said, I work out of my house, and am able to be around as much as a kitten would need. I have 2 wonderful cats of my own, Tierney a 12lb Orange Tabby 1.5 years old, and Teagan a 6lb brown tabby, 8 months old. They are the best cats, both rescues. They do not hide, they are total lap cats. I am very proud of them, and how I have raised them to be such social animals. I would love to help new kittens become wonderful cats and find new families.

If you would like to call me or email me back with the answers. I would love to start helping out.

Thank you,


is there other questions that i missed?

what do you guys think?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 02:02 PM
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Hey yes it is very very hard to see them just get put to sleep but the way i look at it is that that is the best way because you have to think of all the pain the animal was going through when it was alive and know it can be free and wont be going through all that suffering any more it is free and no more pain it is at peace. Well I have never done that or volunteered to do anything like that but i would like to be a volunteer it is just that i am only 17 years of age and you need to be 18 but anyways i would do any job i would clean the mess up but I am like you i would rather be with the animals than just clean their messes upLOL. But cleaning up their messes also gives them more time to live and better health becuase they are not in the mess any more so they are always breathing in fresh are so it is not affecting any of their llungs or anything like that.
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