Good people are everywhere. I’m reminded of the fact every time I volunteer for Alley Cat Advocates.
Several years ago, I lost my volunteer opportunity when a therapeutic riding facility closed. I’d volunteered at lessons there for five years. Looking around for another chance to give back, I was attracted to Alley Cat Advocates. I don’t remember why. Maybe it was its catchy name. Maybe it’s because I like cats.
Immediately, I was put to work. There were good people on the committee—dedicated people, willing to give time to a worthy cause. And time is often harder to give than money.
I also volunteered at Trap Distribution. That’s where volunteers hand out humane traps to other volunteers who care for “community” cats—otherwise known as stray or feral cats. These lucky cats, once trapped, are destined for The Quick Fix Program.
The Quick Fix program is operated every week of the year. The process begins when a caretaker calls our hotline and is scheduled for one of our weekday appointments. Quick Fix services include spay or neuter, vaccinations, a veterinary check-up and an ear-tip. Services are arranged by Alley Cat Advocates, and performed by fully licensed vets primarily at the Kentucky Humane Society S.N.I.P. Clinic.
Last Saturday 152 were scheduled for this week. That meant many caretakers needed traps. When we arrived at the distribution site, we had no traps! So as caretakers returned traps, two ladies washed them and got them ready to go out again. Washing traps is not an easy job. It’s a job I try to avoid doing. And as the hours went by, we got behind with a backlog of unwashed traps.
That’s when Marshall showed up returning traps. I’d met Marshall on other Saturdays. We were also two volunteers down that day, so I was multi-tasking and doing several jobs up front—greeting people and recording trap numbers, and getting traps ready to send out again. Marshall stayed to help. He pitched in with a smile on his face and a go-to attitude.
All the volunteers provide “customer service” to the caretakers. After all, these caretakers are a dedicated bunch. They are the ones who actually feed the unowned cats, often at a great expense. They provide shelters for them in cold weather. They watch out for them. Many people told me they’d trapped all the cats in their care, but if they didn’t, they’d tell me the story of that cat that got away, why it was hard to catch, or if it had quit coming around. A couple of caretakers inquired about cats they’d brought into the clinic the week before. These cats had been put into foster care because of medical reasons. “Will they call me about my cat?” I was asked. Even when gone, these good folks cared for their little charges.
Caretakers come from all walks of life. That has impressed me. Mothers and fathers bring children, and retired couples drive an hour to pick up traps for the week. I see people I would never guess were community cat caretakers. All of them “care.”
Trap Distribution ended at one o’clock, but we stayed around another hour cleaning up the dirty traps. By the end of the day, we were tired, but it was a good tired. I laughed and said I didn’t need Zumba class that day. Others agreed they’d gotten their exercise. It’s often the good volunteers that make volunteering so much fun.
Alley Cat Advocates needs your help. Volunteer! And if you need the help of the organization, call the hotline at (502) 634-8777. You’ll find someone at Alley Cat Advocates willing to talk “cat” with you.
Alley Cat Advocates Mission
To provide for the humane treatment of unowned cats in Kentuckiana by directing a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program in the safest, most efficient and cost effective way possible.
— Karen Little, President