"Never doubt that a small group of
thoughtful,committed citizens can
change the World. Indeed, it's the
only thing that ever has."
We're trying to change the way our community manages its companion and feral cat populations. The traditional method of taking displaced cats to shelters for adoption is important -- but it's overloaded. Only about one in three cats or kittens that goes to a shelter finds a new home -- the rest are euthanized or caged for life. Adding another shelter into this equation would absorb a few more orphaned cats, but not enough to make a tangible difference. Because of this, we have chosen to augment the work of the existing local shelters by developing programs to reduce their intake.
We need volunteers to staff our programs -- working with our "show-and-tell" colonies of elderly and feral cats, assisting with our educational workshops, and working with the community to adopt, retain and manage the cats that come their way. If you'd like to participate in our programs, here's a brief summary of what we'll be doing:
Cat Caregivers. We've chosen to foster two small "show and tell" colonies of cats -- one of elderly companion cats and the other of displaced feral cats. Both types of cats are routinely euthanized at traditional shelters as unadoptable. These cats need your assistance in their loving care and maintenance. If you're available between the hours of 9-11 a.m. -- or 3-5 p.m. -- any day of the week, you could help us with this important work.
CAT Therapy Associates. For several years, groups have used dogs to lift the spirits of the sick and the elderly through visitation programs to hospitals and homes for the aged. Much research has resulted verifying the emotional benefits of the animal-human bond. We plan to build on these programs taking advantage of our unique farm location and older cat colony by inviting similar groups in to visit. Our previously-owned lap cats come with many years of experience and will also benefit from the attention. We're looking for associates to staff the visits and help in the development of this unique program.
General Volunteer Associates. There are many incidental tasks to running a cat welfare organization -- preparing mailings, running errands, staffing events, gardening, carpentry and the like. If you would like to help, our farm is open to volunteers from 9-11:00 a.m. and 3-5 p.m., 7 days a week. Just let us know what days and times you can help so we can be ready for you.
Home-Based Projects. If you're interested in volunteering from your home, we have project-oriented work that you could do. We've developed a data base of local cat resources so we can better alert individuals of the assistance already available to them -- names of cat rescue groups -- both local and national breed rescue, feline behavior therapists and the like -- see our Washtenaw County Cat Guide. Keep us informed of additions, deletions and changes.
We also need help on opening more apartment complexes to cat tenancy. Identifying those that already allow cats and working with those that don't takes a lot of time and effort. If you'd like to participate in this project, just let us know.
Kitten Fostering and Socialization. Although we don't actively seek out feral kittens to socialize, we invariably encounter them. Kitten socialization can be very rewarding work and is best done by individuals in the comfort of their own home. If you have a spare room and time to spend one-on-one with these kittens, we can teach you how to socialize and find homes for them. This work is seasonal -- from late winter to early fall.
Our programs are vitally dependent on volunteers. To maintain an effective, professional operation, we ask that volunteers conform to the following standards:
The single most important thing you can do to help the cat overpopulation problem is to spay/neuter your own pet cats!