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Anyone who volunteers at a shelter?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I'm moving in about two months and I've found a shelter I would love to volunteer with, a no-kill all-feline group.

My question is, is there any danger to Zissou from this? Is it possible that I could bring something home to her and what do I need to do to prevent this?

Any other tips would be great, I have volunteered with a shelter before but it was mostly in fundraising.
post #2 of 11
i was told to wash my hands with strong antibacterial soap before touching my cat when i get home. i also changed my clothes and put the old ones in the hamper where Wonton can't get near them. i don't think there's much risk really, but better safe than sorry...
post #3 of 11
I volunteer sometimes at the Humane Society and have never passed anything to pets. As long as they are vaccinated and you wash your hands, Zissou should be grand!
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
I know this shelter quarantines all incoming cats until they are tested, I'm more worried about fleas or worms or kitty sniffles than serious diseases I guess.

Should I have special clothes or something I wear? I will certainly wash my hands before I leave and as soon as I get home, but should I take a shower?
post #5 of 11
I volunteer at a shelter, and I always make sure I wash my hands and halfway up my arms before I leave.

I mean to change my clothes as soon as I get home, but I often forget if I go somewhere straight from the shelter, and do a few things before I come home. Our shelter tests all cats for diseases, and they're in quarantine for at least a week before I get to see them, so I'm not too worried.

If a cat has something like tapeworm, a flea that's eaten a tapeworm egg would have to jump onto me, come home with me, land on my kitty, and have her eat it before she got it, and she's been "Advantaged", so the odds of her getting something like tapeworm even if a flea did manage to come home with me are low.

As for kitty cold, I'm not really sure how it gets passed from one cat to another, and at what stage they're infectious. If any of the shelter cats has runny eyes, runny nose or so much as sneezes once, they are checked over. Because there's volunteers with the kitties for 6-7 hours a day, kitty colds get picked up pretty fast and they go straight into quarantine. I'm confident my shelter is clean enough for me not to bring anything major home to my kitty. We're only a small shelter, so they're pretty easy to monitor.

It may happen, but I'm not worried enough that I feel I have to strip off the moment I walk through the door and take an immediate shower.

Assess the situation when you get there, and ask the vets there what the risk is. I'm sure they'll tell you what they recommend.

Have fun!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your advice!

I will ask for sure, and if I don't feel comfortable with it I'll make sure to help somehow that won't put me at risk. I will also talk to Zissou's vet to see if he thinks she should be on a flea med before I start. I know people can be carriers of earmites and ringworm and stuff, has that ever been a problem?
post #7 of 11
There is always a risk when dealing with stray cats. I always wash my hands, arms and face before going home for the night, and then I take off my work clothes right away when I get home, and I also leave my shoes in the hall so they can't smell them. Better to be safe than sorry.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, anything left outside and not nailed down would be stolen where I'm going to live, so I can't do that. I could go to Goodwill and get an old pair of keds or something and keep them in a bag in the pantry or something?
Has anyone actually had anything happen, or are you all so careful that it won't. I'm willing to change clothes when I get home and everything, I think I'll wear my old work shirts lord knows I have dozens of those from all over the state of Ohio.

Okay, here's my next thing. I will be able to help a whole lot for about a month, and then I'll start school and can only help on Fri Sat and Sun (they're open every day) for Fall Quarter. After that I will need to get a job so is it bad if I may not be able to stay longer than a few months? Or is it bad if I get a job and then can come back to help again during breaks or every now and then? Do they just hate that and will they think of me as an airhead college kid or do most places just take what they can get from you as long as you don't commit to any big responsibility like being in charge of something?
post #9 of 11
I have never had anything happen, I just take precautions. I would think that any volounteer help they get, they'd appreciate, just make sure you tell them that's what they should expect. Good luck and have fun!
post #10 of 11
Definitely let them know what you're planning. At our shelter they actually have heaps of volunteers, and a (short) waiting list. They may prefer someone who will hang around for longer.

They'll probably appreciate your help though, and will be glad for more volunteers during the busy season. They'll probably be glad to have someone all trained up that they can call in as backup on a weekend if they're stuck.
post #11 of 11
Good on you for wanting to volunteer. I have to say that I haven't changed clothes when I have gone to local rescues, it honestly never occured to me. But neither let you near any of the obviously sick ones, and one does make you dip your shoes in disinfectant first. As for your time, I would just let them know your arrangment and let them decide, but I am sure they would appreciate help for a short period, esp as summer is a busy season.
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