During the summer months many of our regular volunteers are away on holiday, and managing to keep the shift board filled is often a hard task. It couldn’t be done without the assistance of our students, made possible by a government grant, for which we are most grateful. This year we were fortunate enough to have three of them at the Cat Sanctuary. Lauren,Tiffany and Karen filled in for missing volunteers as cleaners and feeders, and tackled projects that we’re normally too busy to deal with – painting the benches in the back courtyard, pulling out cages and scrubbing walls, cleaning grout between paving stones, and giving cat-trees a much-needed brush-up.
LAUREN is a long-term Sanctuary worker. Her dad found out about us when Lauren was just 11, and wanted to work with animals. Normally volunteers have to wait till they’re 16 to do a shift, but we always make an exception for parent-child teams, and Dave and Lauren have been feeding the front courtyard cats on Sunday afternoons for nine years now.
Lauren has been exploring possibilities in study and is doing wildlife and fisheries management in the fall. She says this summer’s made her really used to dirty work (which she tackles with great gusto!)
She has one cat – Kiya – at home, and at the Sanctuary, her favourite is Eva in Old Aids, who she describes as sweet and cuddly (also round, and looking like a meatloaf!)
KAREN says: I first visited the sanctuary when I was 6 years old, soon after moving into a new house. My new neighbor Stephanie Ross had introduced herself and invited me to visit the Cat Sanctuary and after that first visit, I was enthralled by cats. Unfortunately, the rest of my family is allergic to cats, so I had to wait until I was old enough to volunteer by myself, then I spent a summer volunteering at the 5 rd shelter. At the end of that summer, I convinced my family to adopt two kittens from the same litter at the shelter. Apparently I am very purrrrsuasive. Those kittens are now 3.5 years old and are two of the greatest joys in my life. I also help Stephanie rescue feral cats.
In September, I’ll be entering my 3rd year of Applied Animal Biology at UBC, while hopefully still coming to the sanctuary to lend a hand. Working at the sanctuary this summer has taught me that there are over 400 different cats with over 400 different personalities at the sanctuary and each one directly benefits from the hard work the staff and volunteers do each day.
It’s difficult to choose one cat as my favourite, but I would have to choose Spirit. He’s a shy but slightly mischievous boy, but once he gets to know you, he becomes very chatty and friendly. The first time I met him, I thought he had escaped his cage, but once I opened the cage door, I saw his blanket move slightly – he had burrowed under his blanket and was sleeping soundly.
TIFFANY says: I started as a volunteer at the cat shelter about five years ago in the Single-wide and Leukemia room. I heard about it online and was excited to check it out since I don’t have cats of my own. My favourite kitties back then were Belinda, Shilo, and Butterbean. Over the next four years, I’ve been working as a summer student at the shelter – I couldn’t get enough of the cats and kept coming back.
I’m headed to my fourth year at UBC in the fall and will graduate with a Behavioural Neurosciences major and Applied Animal Biology minor. I’m also contemplating applying for veterinary school in Saskatchewan afterwards! This summer has taught me that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Working two jobs has definitely taught me how to manage my working hours and off-time.
The cat I keep near and dear to my heart is Chimo (our orange little tabby with the pig tail, often in Waldie’s hut). I met him when he was a little rascal when he arrived at the shelter. When I learnt he wasn’t making friends – he’s a little socially awkward – I spent more and more time with him and eventually fell in love with his antics. He loves belly rubs (if you’re slow and careful) and playtime so please give him some love if you can. 🙂
Thanks for getting to know me, and many thanks to Brigid for allowing a feature of us summer students here.”
We are so lucky to have had these three wonderful young women working at the Sanctuary this summer! Cats, volunteers and staff alike offer thanks to them for their energy, enthusiasm and empathy.