Fun with Shelter Cats

Yesterday I spent the morning playing with some fun felines at our local animal shelter. Last semester, several of the guys I go to school with started a partnership through ORCA with our local animal shelter. They’ve been going out to the shelter several days a week, helping with training and also with everything else that needs to get done at a busy shelter, from cleaning cages, to walking dogs, to talking to potential adopters. I started working some with them at the end of last year, which was a lot of fun and a great learning opportunity. It’s great to see how just a bit of training, attention, and love can make a big difference in a dog’s behavior and dramatically increase the dog’s chance of getting adopted.

Dogs are fun, but shelter cats need some love and attention too! Actually, this shelter already has a great and very devoted group of volunteers. But, as in any shelter, they can always use a few more hands. So, starting this past week, my friend Kat and I are helping out in the shelter’s cat room. We spent several hours this morning at the shelter, cleaning cages, talking to adopters and giving the cats lots and lots of attention!

The big handsome guy at the top of this post is Rocky. He’s a big, muscular guy and had obviously been on the streets for awhile. Rocky was terrified when he first came to the shelter and it was thought that he might have been a feral cat. However, he is becoming quite a love bug! He wanted all the attention today and meowed sorrowfully when I would stop petting him and walk over to another cat.

The petite gray kitty is Echo. And the rather large Calico in the last two pictures is Patches. Both these gals were pretty timid when they first came to the shelter as well. Shelters can be pretty scary places for both dogs and cats–tons of strange sights and smells, and lots of new people and other animals. It’s not surprising that it can take an animal several days to adjust to all of this.

Patches was pretty unsure of her surroundings when she first showed up at the shelter. When we were at the shelter on Thursday, she was starting to come out of her shell and really enjoyed some scratches and petting. Yesterday, however, she wanted to be the life of the party! We let her wander around the cat room a bit and she had a great time exploring. When anyone new came into the room, she wanted to rub up against them and say “hello.”

A rescue group came in the afternoon and was impressed by her sweet personality. So, Patches is in a foster home with them now and hopefully they will be able to find her an awesome forever home.

I think Kat and I are going to have a lot of fun helping out at the shelter this semester. I have lived with several cats, but don’t actually have a whole lot of experience with training cats and have never worked with cats in a shelter environment. So, I’m looking forward to getting to help out the kitties at the shelter while learning a lot. The hardest part, of course, is going to be resisting the urge to bring them all home with me! I’ll make sure the cats appear on the blog every now and then, for all of you cat lovers out there.

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