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First day as official volunteer

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Today was the first day I was "officially" a volunteer at our local shelter. I've been going there for years, off and on, donating food or litter, taking photos and videos, etc.

First, they let me take all the cats into their "play room," which is actually a large restroom, and play with them if they wanted to, brush them if they'd tolerate it, and snuggle with them if they were in the mood.

But first things first. There was a woman waiting to come in when the door opened. She rushed in and adopted "Puddin'," of whom I have posted videos. He's long-haired, cream-colored, with faint yellow spots. He was also neutered and declawed, and he looked a little "rough," like he wasn't grooming very well. Not that I blame him. And he has had trouble with the areas around his eyes looking "dirty," but oh, what gorgeous blue eyes he had. The lady said she knew he needed to be away from the small cage and stress. She said she saw him there about a week ago, and hadn't been able to get him out of her mind. And she said she needed to think of a Gaelic name for him. What's Gaelic for "pudding?"

Most of the cats wanted to climb into my lap and be brushed. They have one orange tabby boy who looks like a cross between a cat and a panther; he stands almost 18 inches high at the shoulder! It's spring, and all the cats are shedding their undercoats. I got enough fur off him to knit a couple more kittens.

It's really odd to see the difference in personality in cats, even in kittens. We have two cages of two identical pairs of kittens, an orange tabby boy and a tortie girl in each cage. One set are gregarious, wanted to be cuddled and to play. The other set were cautious, not unfriendly, just not seeming to know how to play or what to make of me.

Two cats show signs of being abused. They would flinch every time I moved my hand toward them. The little calico girl, especially, was perfectly content to be in my lap and get petted and brushed, but if she got down, she was very skittish about me picking her back up again.

Then, after all the kitty cuddling was over, I took a little screech owl someone brought in over to the wild bird rehabilitation center.
post #2 of 14
Oh, what a fullfilling day! Bless you for doing this...I don't know if I could handle it, truthfully. And, I'm so glad Puddin found a forever home on your first day! You may be good luck!

Keep us up to date on how it's going. Oh, and how did you handle that Screech owl? I've seen them, but never dealt with one up close. Was it hard?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
The owl was in a pet carrier, perched on a piece of a branch. There was a towel over the carrier to keep him from being frightened. The girl at the wildlife rehab center put on a big glove to pull him out, but he wasn't particularly feisty. However, he did take one snap at her pen, so I'm sure she was glad she had the glove on. She thought he might have gotten into something poisoned, but it might also have been that he was somewhat asleep when she opened the cage.

Here's a video of "Puddin'."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-mTD5E2Y8I
post #4 of 14
PUddin' is a darling boy and it sounds like he went to a good home.
post #5 of 14
That must be a very rewarding position. I'm so glad Pudding got adopted!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Two cats show signs of being abused. They would flinch every time I moved my hand toward them. The little calico girl, especially, was perfectly content to be in my lap and get petted and brushed, but if she got down, she was very skittish about me picking her back up again.
You know, this might not be from abuse. I have a cat (my tortie, Isabel) whom I took home from a horse barn when she was 9-10 weeks old. She wasn't handled much by humans until I got her, and she retains some feral instincts. She will flinch a bit if I reach for her (and she hates being picked up!), and as far as I know, no one has ever abused her. She loves to snuggle, but on her terms only.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabel View Post
That must be a very rewarding position. I'm so glad Pudding got adopted!



You know, this might not be from abuse. I have a cat (my tortie, Isabel) whom I took home from a horse barn when she was 9-10 weeks old. She wasn't handled much by humans until I got her, and she retains some feral instincts. She will flinch a bit if I reach for her (and she hates being picked up!), and as far as I know, no one has ever abused her. She loves to snuggle, but on her terms only.
I was going to say the same thing. Mika is very skittish even now after several years with us and believe me she's never been abused, if anything, she has been treasured. She's fine with Jennifer but still nervous with us if we walk toward her. At other times she'll come to us and make her little noises to let us know she wants to be picked up or she wants a treat.
post #7 of 14
My Jack is skittish as well. Theres times if i walk in the room and he hasn't seen me, he swings around and freezes on the spot with a look on his face screaming fear, but like yourselves he gets smothered with love Once i talk softly to him he's fine and he comes running over giving a squeeky meow
post #8 of 14
Daphne was brought home at 8 weeks old and has never had any abuse. Yet she is a scardy cat. Only with me and Seb is she completely comfy. If anyone else comes around, she hides and shivers with fear. Poor little thing

Congrats!! You are doing a wonderful thing
post #9 of 14
Sounds like you had a great day!!!! What fun!
post #10 of 14
What a sweet boy Puddin' is!

It's great that you play with the cats.
post #11 of 14
I agree. I learned with dealing with barn cats (both my indoor and the outdoor ones) some just don't like to be reached for. I've learned to hold my hand out and let them sniff...then the ball is in their court. If they want more, they will let you know, either by wrapping around your legs and trying to trip you or just coming pack for more pettings. The best thing you can do if they aren't familiar with you is to act as their back and tail scratcher..if they stop then scratch the base of their tail. If they don't, just keep your hand down and wiggle your fingers. If they want more they will come. If not, there is always tomorrow. But, picking them up could damage the trust they just delevoped by you not hurting them, or scaring them. If they don't want you to pick them up, it could either be because they don't trust you, or...they just don't like it. Some cats just don't like to be picked up period. I have a few like that (Little One and Monster), but Gizmo and Harley will act like my baby! It all depends on the cat.

It sounds like the calico does trust you...on her own terms. I have one just like that. She will come for lovins, but if I try to give them on MY terms, forget it!! Gotta love em!

Just wanted to say, the video of Puddin' was ADORABLE!!! HE just melted my heart! I am SO glad he found his home!
post #12 of 14
very good my friend, I move my hat in front of you!...
I envy you my friend!.... my city doesn´t have a great shelter........


for you can help many kittys!...
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabel View Post
That must be a very rewarding position. I'm so glad Pudding got adopted!



You know, this might not be from abuse. I have a cat (my tortie, Isabel) whom I took home from a horse barn when she was 9-10 weeks old. She wasn't handled much by humans until I got her, and she retains some feral instincts. She will flinch a bit if I reach for her (and she hates being picked up!), and as far as I know, no one has ever abused her. She loves to snuggle, but on her terms only.
I notice one cat would back up and blink her eyes rapidly as soon as I picked up the cat toy wand, as if she had been hit with some sort of stick. It was very similar to the reaction of our first cat whenever anyone got near him with a broom.

But you're right, you never know what sort of experiences or preferences a cat might have.
post #14 of 14
Puddin' looks like a very sweet cat - it's great that he got adopted! You're going to love volunteering, by the sounds of it.

I have to agree about some cats just being scaredy cats. We've usually had very affectionate lap cats that begged to be picked up, and petted even by strangers. Jamie won't let anybody but me pick him up, although he'll lie on top of my husband and demand scritches. A few regular guests are permitted to pet him, but only if he approaches them. I know he was never mistreated, and since his brothers are the same way, I think it's just a question of personality.

Some scaredy cats react differently when it's a one-on-one situation, but put them in a room with other cats, and they become a bit defensive or shy.
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