Once a week, I go straight from work to the sanctuary for my volunteer shift. You’d think this would be an exhausting end to a full work day but, as I think many volunteers would agree, it’s actually quite a relaxing way to wind down the day.
The evening shift involves some combination of putting out wet food, topping up dry food and water, and scooping litter boxes. We generally work in pairs or small teams, each with a regular area of the complex to take care of. My shift takes me to the larger of two trailers, the double wide.
There’s a table I use as a feeding station when I’m on wet food duty and the cats, being cats, start congregating the minute they see the telltale stack of plates and a fork. They don’t even wait for the flats of cans that must follow.
Of course by the time I do bring out the flats, my workspace has effectively vanished.
It takes 16 plates to feed the loose cats in the double wide, each plate getting 4 full cans. Different flavours. And fluffed, thank you very much. Shelter cats and ostensible charity cases or no, some of our diners will snub food that’s just dumped out of the can and not plated nicely.
That’s just some of the cats, though. Members of the feeding station fan club can barely wait for the food to come out of the can before they’re going at it with pushy, greedy tongues. Once sauce hits the plate, there’s just no stopping them.
If left unchecked, this crew will ensure that the first few plates to be put down for the general population of the trailer have not a drop of sauce remaining.
It’s possible to slow them down – somewhat – by constructing retaining walls out of yet to be opened cans, but I find it hard to begrudge them. Anyway, they’ve soon had their fill and turned to washing themselves. In the end, there’s enough food for everyone.