8 Ways You Can Help Shelter Cats
According to the ASPCA, more than three million cats end up in United States shelters every year. But instead of focusing on that staggering statistic, we have excellent news to share: You - yes, you! - can help shelter cats.
There are some surprisingly simple and low- or no-cost means of assisting shelter kitties. And, doing little things to help homeless cats can make a big difference. For instance, donating old towels can help cats feel more comfortable during their shelter stay. And when shelter kitties are comfy, they are healthier, happier, and more personable, which means they ultimately stand a greater chance of being adopted.
So, without further ado, here are eight ways you can help shelter cats:
1. Create Clothes for Kitties
Did you know that many shelters and rescue organizations now use pet clothing to show off adoptable animals, including cats? It turns out animals are more likely to be adopted when they’re wearing dapper duds! If you’re handy with a needle and thread or have sewing machine skills, you can make togs that allow kitties to put their best paw forward to prospective parents. Search YouTube for DIY pet clothes videos, whip up kitty clothes in your spare time, then donate the finished pieces to the shelter or rescue of your choice.
2. Donate What You Can, When You Can
Budgets are tight these days for just about everyone. Fortunately, there are other ways to help organizations with funding than writing a big annual check. Websites like The Animal Rescue Site and GreaterGood.com allow you to donate or send care packages to shelter cats. Don’t worry if you can’t spare a lot of cash - every little bit helps, and your donation goes further than you think. For instance, 10 dollars translated into 100 bowls of food at one giving site.
3. Give Kitties a Comfier Cage
The item that animal shelters typically need most? Bedding. Try to snag throws and blankets at clearance sales and thrift shops, or simply donate those you don’t use anymore. Old towels also work great, since they can be used as bedding or during bathtime. Another option is to save newspapers and donate them in bulk - once contributed to the shelter, they can be shredded and used as surprisingly soft and warm bedding material.
4. Rain Down Love on Homeless Kittens
Have you ever heard of a kitten shower? These events gather funds and supplies for nonprofits during kitten season (i.e., every year from April to October). You can donate goods, such as kitten-formula food, or contribute funds that provide for the homeless kittens directly or help curb the “baby boom” by supporting spaying and neutering programs. Fun contests or events are often part of raising funds during these showers, as well. Want to get more involved? Consider volunteering during this kitten-centric timeframe. Most rescues need volunteers to help socialize kittens, which is pretty much the best volunteer gig ever.
5. Volunteer in Bite-Size Pieces
We are all busy these days, and family obligations and work responsibilities can make us feel like we don’t have a moment to spare. The solution? Mini volunteering sessions. Inquire at your local shelter or rescue organization to find out if they need volunteers to fill in for staff occasionally or to complete brief shifts in off-hours. You could be trained to help with tasks that are most appropriate for the hours you’re available, such as answering the phone or responding to emails at night or on the weekend. A little extra help can mean a lot to overworked staff and volunteers.
6. Go Old School
There are many tried-and-true ways to spread the word about the plight of homeless cats, and some are well-suited for less-tech-savvy or not-so-outgoing advocates. For instance, some organizations still offer printed advocacy materials, such as door hangers or brochures, which may be provided in bulk for you to disperse within your community. Or, simply put a bumper sticker on your vehicle - you never know when you might make the idea of spaying and neutering click for the driver behind you.
7. Offer Your Purr-fessional Skills
Professional skills such as graphic design, photography, PR, and many others are in high demand by countless shelters and rescues. Reach out to your local organization with a proposal outlining how you may be able to assist them. Virtual volunteer opportunities have boomed in recent years, so it’s likely you could complete many tasks from the comfort of your own home. You will broaden your experience, and the organization (and the kitties they help) will be grateful for your time and talents.
8. Put the "Write Stuff" to Use
So, you love putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) to share ideas and opinions. Consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper conveying the statistics on homeless cats or educating readers about the importance of spaying and neutering. You can also write to your local, state, and national legislators about causes related to homeless kitties. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Alley Cat Allies have some great advice on writing advocacy letters.
Every single one of us has the opportunity to make a difference. No matter how you choose to help shelter cats, now is the time to do it. Countless kitties are waiting for you to help them have a chance to live their best life.
Here at Meowtel, we want all kitties to live their best life, and we help achieve that every day by providing excellent care for cats while their loving parents are away. Find your purr-fect match here.
Photo by Jonas Vincent on Unsplash