Doing good, one cat at a time

I’m having another extended bout with insomnia (I get this way several times a year, where I won’t be able to sleep for more than a couple hours a night for several nights in a row), so I figured I’d update a little of what’s going on in my life. I’ll try to keep this post upbeat, because I’ve been dealing with so many lows right now, that I figure I need to talk about some positives in my life.

I volunteer for a fantastic cat rescue group called The Rescue House here in San Diego. We are responsible for rescuing cats and kittens who would otherwise be banished to the streets, put down, or get stuck in overcrowded shelters. I’ve been volunteering with them since January of 2013. I started out as a “center volunteer” which means that I would go into the adoption center (one of eight within PetCo and PetSmart stores in San Diego) and take care of the kitties that were waiting for adoption at that center. I had originally submitted a request to volunteer because I had just had to put my beloved Milo to sleep due to advanced kidney failure, and I wasn’t sure I wanted the commitment of another cat. I ended up getting another cat randomly, but also decided to volunteer as well.

Working in the adoption centers is very rewarding because you get to spend time with a lot of different kitties that have wonderful personalities, despite many of them having some serious hard-luck stories. It’s wonderful and bittersweet when they get adopted, because they all take a little piece of your heart with them when they go.

After I had volunteered at the center for a while, I started doing transportation duty; taking cats to vet visits or rotating them from center to center so they’d get more exposure. That’s fun, if you don’t mind upset cats crying while you’re driving. I also ended up on the fundraising committee and tried my hand at new volunteer intake, where we interview prospective volunteers to see if they would be a good match to volunteer with us, as it is a time commitment and training takes a while, so we want people who are dedicated, not just looking for some easy volunteer work to pad their high school transcript or fulfill legal requirements.

Eventually, I started training to become an adoption counselor, and that is what I’m primarily doing now. I interview prospective adopters to find out if they would be a good home for our kitties, and specifically if they would be a good home for the kitty that they have chosen. Sometimes a great home selects a cat that for some reason or another just wouldn’t be a good fit for that household. Sometimes there are crazy people out there who should not be allowed to have pets. So far, it’s been very rewarding to me. I’ve just approved my sixth cat for adoption, to a wonderful couple who want to adopt a very special cat with specific dietary needs. They’re excited to have her, even though she’s going to be a little higher maintenance, and we’re happy that they love her, because not everyone can see past the “special needs” to see what a wonderful cat they could be bringing into their lives.

I’m still in training so that I have a senior counselor who can help me with phrasing and how to dig deeper into certain questions to make sure that the home is going to be a good fit, but I’m starting to be cut loose a bit, so that I’m able to do most of the decision making. I think I’m doing a good job, and I’ve gotten good feedback, so it makes me proud that I’m able to help in this small way to enable these cats to find forever homes where they can live out the rest of their lives in a loving environment with people who truly love them.