Cat Care Volunteer - cleaning before cuddling

Of course giving the cats affection is an important part of the job, but equally, if not more important, is keeping our cats clean and healthy. 

Hygiene. Hygiene. Hygiene. It’s the mantra of the morning Cat Care routine here at the North London Adoption Centre. We do everything we can to help stop any diseases like flu, from spreading among the cats. If one of our cats is poorly then it can’t be rehomed until it’s fully fit again, which could be weeks. So plastic aprons, shoe covers and gloves are worn by everyone and changed every time you go into another cat pen.

First things first – breakfast. There can be as many as 22 felines (sometimes more!) all telling you it’s 9 o’clock and that can only mean one thing – food! All the cats and kittens are fed according to their individual requirements. Some will have dry food, some need low calorie or hypoallergenic food, kittens will be on wet kitten food and some of the speedy eaters will have their dry food put in their enrichment feeders. This is a good time to check up on their eating habits and make a note of any cats not eating or drinking properly.

After breakfast every pen has to be cleaned up. That means clean water, removing empty food bowls, providing a fresh litter tray, wiping down the floor area and the ramp. Used litter trays are inspected and notes made about the cat’s toilet habits. What goes in must come out after all, and it’s key to spotting any health problems. Yep, we even have a cat poo chart! 

Sadly there are no washing-up fairies here, so all those bowls and litter trays need to be washed in anti-bacterial solution. Naturally everything is kept strictly separate. You wouldn’t wash your food bowl in your toilet bowl would you? While that’s all drying, the ever-present pile of bedding, towels and soft toys goes in the washing machine and tumble dryer. With so many sets of paws coming and going each week we have to make sure there is enough clean and cosy bedding to go round.

When all the main tasks are done there are always a few small jobs that need doing - tidying the towel rack, stocking the food cupboard or taking photos of cats for our website. And of course there’s always time for a cuddle or playtime with a furry friend or two.

Many of our Cat Care volunteers do the work because they love cats, but unfortunately aren’t allowed to have one in rented accommodation. So they get their cat fix with us! They find it rewarding by making sure the cats and kittens are clean, fed and happy while they’re waiting for a new home.

If you’re interested or want to find out more about being a Cat Care Volunteer please contact our Volunteer Team Leader, Jess Wager, at volunteering.london@cats.org.uk