Caring for cats

By Caroline Klapper | Mar 04, 2013
Photo by: File photo

I’ve always been an animal lover, and with the exception of spiders and some insects, I really enjoy keeping company with the beasties.

Currently, my private menagerie consists of my hairy dog, Oz, a fat hamster named Norman and an aquarium full of fish as well as a betta named Mr. Fishy, who gets his own bowl. For me and the tiny house I rent, this motley crew is about at capacity.

But I do miss having a cat around. My dog, sweet as he is, has a tendency to treat cats like his own live-action squeaky toy, and he doesn’t seem to understand why cats don’t enjoy being chased, barked at and pounced on by a 60-pound slobbering mutt (I use that term as an endearment).

So having a cat is out for me right now, which is why I’m enjoying my role as a Sarge’s volunteer. For those who don’t know, Sarge’s is one of the local animal rescue groups in Haywood County working to find dogs and cats good homes.

I started volunteering with them last month and last weekend was my first time really “getting my hands dirty” for the cause. I spent my Saturday morning at PetsMart with another volunteer, Marlaine, taking care of the cats up for adoption there.

Sarge’s partners with the pet supply store to house cats looking for a home. The high volume of people coming through the doors every day ensures that these cats get noticed, and if they are lucky, adopted. However, the arrangement also means Sarge’s volunteers must keep up their end of the bargain by maintaining high standards of care and cleanliness in the adoption area, which is where I come in (on Saturday mornings at least).

While I would happily spend the day playing and petting the cats, the real work is the cleaning that must be done each and every day. In each cage, the windows are washed, the floor swept out, the litter trays cleaned, the floors and walls wiped down with cleaner, rinsed and dried, and the food and water bowls are replaced.

The cats get the chance to stretch their legs and play, while their temporary abodes are being cleaned by their personal maids (no doubt they view it so). Almost without fail once they get put back inside their little home, they each feel the need to try out their newly cleaned litter tray. Then a quick round of spot scooping takes place, and the cats are ready for the day.

I’ve been told the adoption program at PetsMart has been very successful so far, and it is all thanks to people who spend their time and energy making sure these animals have the best shot at finding a loving home.

Although I’m just starting out in my role as a volunteer, I can already tell how passionate the people who work for Sarge’s are when it comes to helping animals. Many of them have worked countless hours over the years for nothing more than the wag of a tail or the sound of a purr. But then, what more could an animal lover ask for?

On behalf of my former shelter dog and all the others still out there, I give a big thanks to you all.