PDSA estimate there are over 11 million pet cats in the UK. With a huge number of stray and feral cats out there too, we have a lot of feline friends in this country. They often need help and support just like humans do, which is why cat rescue centres are so important.
WHY VOLUNTEER WITH A CAT RESCUE CENTRE?
All too often, cats go missing, become lost, get abused or are tragically abandoned. Cat rescue charities such as Cats Protection help to reunite cats with their owners, or find them a new home. They also do lots of great work to promote feline welfare by educating people about cat care and by neutering cats to reduce overpopulation.
You don't have to be a cat lover to feel that every animal deserves the chance to enjoy a happy life. Volunteering with a cat rescue centre is a wonderful way to see exactly how your time helps animals who need help. From direct contact with cats to seeing a family reunited with a cherished pet, it can be a hugely rewarding experience.
HOW TO HELP CAT RESCUE CENTRES
VOLUNTEER AT A RESCUE CENTRE
There are lots of different things you can get involved with when you become a cat rescue centre volunteer. As well as caring for the cats that come into the centre, you may get to spend plenty of time playing with them and keeping them occupied. You might also deal with people who are looking to adopt a cat, and help to locate families of lost animals.
FOSTER A CAT
Whether you take in a number of cats on a temporary basis while new homes are found for them, or you adopt just one animal as the latest member of your family, fostering is a wonderful way to help. Some cats need to be closely monitored, for example if they're recovering from surgery or expecting a litter, while others are in need of a forever home.
HELP KEEP TABS ON STRAYS
Charities like Cats Protection run schemes where they monitor populations of strays, as they try to figure out exactly how many there are across the country. This can involve something as quick as joining a Facebook group or taking a photo if you come across a cat you think may be stray, and uploading it to an app with a record of when and where you saw it. Monitoring and neutering strays is a crucial part of limiting the number of vulnerable cats in the UK.
DONATE YOUR TIME AND THINGS TO A CHARITY SHOP
Whether you're having a clear-out or can just spare a few clothes, books or homeware items, charity shops are crucial for raising funds for organisations like Cats Protection - which has over 120 of them. If you can go even further and give your time to a shop, you could help with things like organising stock, helping customers and working the tills.
OPEN YOUR OWN VOLUNTEER BRANCH
Some charities, including Cats Protection, have a network of branches around the country which are run from home by volunteers who also act as fosterers. This system helps people to be as close to a branch as possible, and they're obviously easier to set up than a homing centre with a large number of animals. People looking to adopt a cat can come to visit your branch, which may consist of just you or a team of volunteers.
In the digital world of today, raising awareness is easier than ever. You can support a cat rescue centre simply by sharing their social media posts, and adding information about their campaigns to your own profiles. You might even be able to get involved in campaigning in a more hands-on way such as leafleting or setting up a stall at the local supermarket where you can talk to people about the cause.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VOLUNTEER
- The amount of time you need to commit to a volunteering role can vary greatly. Even if you only have an hour or two spare a week, you'll be able to lend a hand in one way or another.
- Most volunteering opportunities require you to be aged 16 or over, although younger people may still be able to help at a cat rescue centre with permission from a parent or guardian.
- You may need to go through training for some roles if you're working closely with animals, which may also mean a charity asks for a minimum time commitment of three months or more.
WHERE TO GET STARTED
If you can't wait to get started with helping a cat rescue charity, see what volunteering roles are available with these two great organisations:
People's Postcode Lottery players have already raised over £3 Million for these two organisations, so you'll be adding your support when you play People's Postcode Lottery too.
There are so many great charities - including cat rescue centres - doing great work in your area.