I volunteer at the SPCA. Once a week, I go socialize the adult cats. Just in our small community, there must be over 100 cats at our shelter.
I appreciate my own cats more after volunteering. The shelter is one of the nicest I know of, but it is still a stressful life for a cat. Cats are used to having space and a certain amount of solitude. The shelter is not this.
Each cat gets socialized each day. For most cats, this involves going out of the cage, but some are too fearful to come out. The most confident and at ease still only get out for six hours a day. At best, they spend 18 hours a day in a small cage, and the other six sharing a room with dozens of other cats, some of whom are hostile or fearful.
After spending time with these stressed cats, it is such a pleasure to come home to a cat whose belly I can rub, who purrs by the food dish, who begs by the front door. It’s a reminder of how much we improve their lives and how much they improve ours. I can come home and scoop up Belia if I had a frustrating day (if I’m willing to endure the whining). I can watch Erg jump five feet into the air, trying to rip the catnip from my hand. I can sit on the couch and whistle to Belia (and if I keep whistling it, receive a warning bite). We provide one another with constancy and rhythm and a companion.
We get to see the cats progress at the shelter. One cat tried to enter any open cage, even if it wasn’t her own, just to get off the floor; the next week she played with toys and explored for hours. A second cat no longer hisses at my ankles every time I pass. Another will finally come out of his cage. We get to see cats that were so shy open up and get adopted. Working just a little bit with the many personalities of cats makes me appreciate and admire teachers and people who work with troubled people. People are amazingly more complex, and the work all the more needed.
I’ve been taking pictures of some of the shelter kitties, to supplement pictures of my own kitties, to help with their adoption, and to practice photography. Take a look at some wonderful adult kitties. There are probably some awesome ones at your local shelter. With an adult cat, their personality is developed, whether it be lapcat or mouser or couch potato or shy sweetie. At our shelter, the volunteers know the animals, and this is probably the case in many places. Even if adoption isn’t in the cards, as it isn’t for me, take a look at some cats.