You don’t need a special degree or specific expertise to lend a much-needed helping hand at your local animal shelter. All you need is the desire to participate in the worthy cause of helping homeless animals. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a lot of your time, either.
In fact, whatever your occupation may be, you’re likely to possess certain skills and talents that your local shelter can utilize. Volunteers with legal and accounting skills, and those who are handy with a hammer, can be especially helpful to a shelter with limited funds.
Socialization helps adoption
If you’re a cat lover, you may want to help your local shelter by spending time socializing shelter cats and kittens. Volunteers can play with the cats, groom them and keep them as happy as possible while they are residing in the shelter. A socialized cat or kitten is much more likely to find a home, so it’s time very well spent. And it can be very gratifying — and lots of fun for the humans involved, as well!
Computer wizards wanted
If you are competent working with technology, you can offer to customize a management program that can help adopters select the right pet for them. Some lucky shelters have a computer kiosk in their lobbies that allow visitors to preview the animals in the shelter and get detailed information on each one before meeting the pets in person.
Some animals aren’t great at “selling” themselves while caged or kenneled, so this opportunity to find out more about them first can certainly be helpful when it’s time to adopt.
There are opportunities online for people who can’t or don’t want to work hands-on with the animals in a shelter. Volunteers can take photos and write descriptions of the animals with staff assistance. Creating and maintaining a shelter’s website is also a very valuable way that a volunteer can help.
You can offer to design a newsletter, or work on creating or updating the mailing list. It’s a good idea to include heartwarming adoption stories and information on how to make donations
Fostering can be life-saving
When you agree to foster, you’re taking a homeless animal into your home to provide love, care, attention — either for a predetermined time or until the cat is adopted.
There are many reasons why fostering may be needed, such as: a rescue group doesn’t have an actual physical shelter and relies entirely on foster homes; a kitten is too young to be adopted and needs extra time and care; a cat is recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs an appropriate place to recuperate; a cat is showing signs of stress in the shelter; a cat badly needs socialization and contact with people; or the shelter is running out of space for adoptable cats.
Your best bet is to contact a local shelter and see what works for both of you. Chances are that there will be the perfect opportunity to make a difference in both your life and that of a homeless cat.