You know, I used to really turn up my nose at big pet stores. However, the generosity and caring of the staff at the Petsmart in Cary has completely changed my mind. After doing a few one woman/2 kids adoptathons there, Mary Lou, the manager of the animal rescue portion of Petsmart, asked me if we would like to bring some of our PAWS cats into their Love of Animals area for a week - the area where the cats are in the glass kennels. I was just amazed she had asked me - I'm such small potatoes compared to these bigger groups that are there. I guess it was my pleasant personality and happy demeanor? :)
After talking and planning and more talking and planning with Catherine and Stephanie from PAWS, we came up with a plan. Catherine brought 8 PAWS cats and kittens on Sunday afternoon (July 17) after my one woman adoptathon (where Thomas found a forever home!). We spent from 4 to 7:30 getting kennels set up, paperwork done, meds explained, cleaning, cat playing - whew. went home thoroughly pooped, that's for sure. And this was after spending all day Saturday at Search and Rescue training.
The set up is this - Petsmart staff does the morning cleaning, and they have a volunteer who plays with the cats for a while. Then I come in the evenings and clean and play. That's the plan. Now the reality is this. And granted, it's of my own making, not because of any lacking on the part of Petsmart. It's all me. So I always drop my oldest son off at swim practice at 6am - this is 2 miles from Petsmart, which is 25 miles from my house. Usually I go in to work after that. Instead, I've been going to Petsmart. :) I love these cats already, and the enjoyment of watching them play is too strong to resist.
So when I arrived at 6:15am on Monday, I was greeted with a chorus of meows and let-me-outta-heres. I couldn't get the locks of fast enough. Who should I let out first? Who can play with who? What's going to happen if I do let everyone out? Think, think!! And I had also brought Pongo, my foster, to stay at PS for the day. He's also howling at me to get out of his carrier. I'll admit that my head was spinning. And there was cat litter everywhere. Every. Where. So - I just take a breath - and let out the kittens first - Tyner (black kitten), then the orange kittens (Petey and Pauly). And then Pongo. A few hissing, but mostly everyone's cool. So - I just go for broke, and open everyone's cage except Pepsi - I was told he likes to play solo. Cat party. Woo hoo!! My head is still spinning a bit. Should I clean? It's like a first day on the job. PS then told me that their volunteer was on vacation, and when I asked who would clean, they said the cashier. When I asked if they'd have time to play with cats, the answer was no.
So - I cleaned. And also read the chart wrong for what to do daily. I thought it said strip the kennel and disinfect daily - so I did (on Monday and Tuesday). It wasn't until Wednesday that it I re-read it and that was a weekly duty, not daily. My PAWS cats have extra clean kennels, now. So - I found my rhythm. And the kennels look so nice. I made beds for all of the cats (spent 2 weeks doing this). I used a hard plastic car oil drip pan from Walmart for the base, and then made removable, washable, elasticized padded covers. Super-easy, and able to be washed and pans disinfected. Cats and kittens LOVE them! And they look so pretty in the glass window. I used my bath matts I already had from my dogs, and then I bought some clearance cat toys - these plastic bobbing flowers - for each kennel. A work of art, if I do say so myself. Interior decorating for cat kennels - maybe it's my life-calling. :) Now all we need - is some cat adoptions!!! I feel like I am on pins and needles - please, Lord, let someone take these deserving cats home and give them a wonderful place to live, where love, shelter, food and comfort is always plentiful. This is my mantra, my prayer, I say everyday.
The cat volunteer did come in on Tuesday - to everything already clean, so she could just play with kitties. I'll be there at 6:15 every morning, even though Brodie doesn't have early morning practice this week. And I'm there from 4-7 every night - in hopes that someone will want to adopt - I figure if I am there and more visible and accessible for questions and telling them about PAWS, it ups my chances for adoptions.
Say a little prayer for me. A prayer for these cats and kittens - who all now hold a place in my heart - for them to find homes. And for strength for me - it is hard on the heartstrings to do this. Hard to keep fighting when you are really tired - but I won't give up the fight - every cat, every dog, that I can help - it may only be one step - but it's a step in the right direction.