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thanks for having me

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey to everyone on this board.

I am Mom to my 3 cats and stepmom to 2 abandoned outside cats. And caretaker of another persons 43 or so cats at a private sanctuary/rescue type place.

I'm the ONLY person allowed there to care for the cats. Thats a lot of poop for one person. So I'll have lots of questions for you all. I'll start with one.

I've been at this job for about 2 years. Prior to this I had no experience working with this many animals. I'd offered to volunteer there a couple days a week because this santuary was willing to take an abandoned cat that my parents had been feeding for a few years on their front porch. They were moving to another state with a very hot locale and were unable to take her because she is somewhat feral and they were afraid she would eat their toy poodle if she was in the house. (she had attacked the dog before) I was there as a volunteer for a few months when the the person who cared for the cats was fired for stealing and the job was offered to me. I took them up on it.
It's 7 days a week and I can accomplish everything in a matter of 4 to 6 hours. When we have any sick cats that need to be caged separately {or God forbid, with diarrhea!! Oy the mess!} that can tack on an additional 2 hours. And giving medications....yikes! But I'm getting pretty good at that. This place is not zoned for the amount of cats we have so we are unable to advertise for volunteers for fear that we would get in hot water with the city and all the cats taken from us. So it is just me and to put it mildly... I am overwhelmed!

These cats are all well taken care of with lots of roomy enclosures and immediate visits to the vet if they are sick. But it's not the amount of work that is getting to me. My problem is the guilt I feel because I can't give them even a fraction of the love and attention they all deserve so much. I find myself putting off going to work because of this guilt which in turn makes me feel even more guilty. sheesh.

Does anyone else ever get this awful debilitating guilt? If so, how do you deal with it and have a life outside of the sanctuary?

btw... holy that's a lot of great smilies! I spent 20 minutes checking them all out! How fun! Oops! gotta get to work!
post #2 of 6
You shouldn't feel guilty because you are doing everything you can to help these kitties. Keep up the good work! I wonder if you would be able to find volunteers by word of mouth since you can't advertise in the paper

Welcome to TCS! You are going to love it here!
post #3 of 6
I moved you to a forum where people who do this type of work will be able to see it. I know that one year, I had 23 cats- at that number, a lot of kitties fell through the cracks. It is unfortunate you are living outside the law in this place and can't find the means to find volunteers to just sit with the cats.
post #4 of 6
Since the kitties visit the vet when sick, and you've been doing this for some time, is it possible for you to ask at the vets for anyone who may want to volunteer to play with the animals - even just once a week? Or if they have any siblings or friends that may want to help out? I vote for the word-of-mouth method of finding help. We support a shelter that - although legal - relies on word of mouth for volunteers, and through the vets has been the best avenue. Most of the help and the vet techs there are there because they love animals, and they've been a great source of help - both for assisting when medication is necessary or for just playing with the kitties.

You are obviously a complete angel, and the reason you feel guilty is because you love these animals so much! Try to focus on how much better off they are now with what you give them than if they were off on their own - unspayed, unneutered, having litters, getting into fights, getting sick - with no way to get any help or even a break in finding food.

With 43 cats - of course you are overwhelmed.

Another quick thought - what about approaching local high schools to see if they're interested in a "pet care" seminar? A half hour talk about the importance of spay/neuter, health issues for cats and dogs, the importance of the rabies vaccination, etc. - and put a little brochure together with your name and number at the bottom. Work into the talk that "at the shelter we're always looking for volunteers to play with the kitties..." or something. High school students, especially when volunteering, aren't the most reliable people in the world - but if it's to play with cats and not scoop poop, you may get a number of regulars.

post #5 of 6
Oh - another quick idea. Check out resources at www.alleycat.org and www.bestfriends.org - I expect they have ideas for finding volunteers. I know it's been discussed in the No More Homeless Pets forum of Best Friends. And on their resources page is an e-mail addy where you can write to ask if there's anyone that's a member of their network in your area. That might turn up some help, too.
post #6 of 6
Do any of the cats go up for adoption? If you only take cats in, and none go out, you end up overwhelmed.

I know someone with about 80 cats. But at least she takes a few to Petsmart on Saturdays, and sometimes they are rehomed. If you are not offering these cats up for adoption, I would suggest listing the "top ten" on Petfinders. And/or call a local rescue group and see if they can help with rehoming the healthy, friendly cats.

Four to six hours 7 days a week is an awful lot of poop scooping. My friend uses big rubbermaid storage containers for litterboxes, and scoops all of them daily. They get dumped and refilled on a rotating basis. Her cats don't get much human attention either, but they seem very content with each other.

Honestly, I think you should let the owners know that 7 days a week is too much for anyone, and they need to get some help in to give you a few days off each week. All the responsability is on you, and if you share it will become a lot easier.

Best of luck, and bless you for caring for those sweet cats.
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