Today was our first day as proper volunteers at the SPCA Parksville-Qualicum branch.
Our shift started at 12 noon. We arrived at the centre and said hello to the regular staff on the front desk.
We headed for the Volunteer room where we put on our overalls and completed the signing in sheet.
We had a hand over with Lesley, a volunteer who had come in a couple of hours before us.
We checked the notice board to see which cats had already been out in the day room.
It soon became apparent that most of the cats wanted to be out and playing, and as only 3 are allowed at any one time in the play room, it is a constant juggle to play with the ones out, make sure they all get along together, placate the ones still in their cages awaiting their turn.
That was the easy part.... We then had to put the 3 that were out in the play room, back into their cages. Of course they knew this was going to happen and did not want to be caught, so they used all their repertoire of escape and avoiding skills that they knew.
We did manage it in the end though, and got three more cats that got along together out to have a stretch of their legs.
Their behaviour was much the same, they would have a tentative sniff around, all light footed and low to the ground. Then, when they felt relaxed they would start to play with all the toys that are in the room. Depending on their character, this took varying amounts of time for each individual cat.
Some of the cats were in an overflow room, so had to be wrapped in a towel so that they could be carried along the corridor to the play room. This was just a precaution in case they spooked and got loose in the building.
There were some really cute kittens there which are up for adoption in the next few weeks. Mainly though there are older cats. They are all really sweet, and have their own characters.
Max, a black short haired cat was quite shy to start with in the play room, he came out of his shell after a little while and started to play with the toys.
Garfunkel is a beautiful grey and white striped cat, such a handsome young man. He is a stray. He was exploring as soon as he got into the play room, he was fearless, jumping from one obstacle to the next.
Coco a beautiful black and tan tabby cat was quite happy to sit on the seat beside me whilst I brushed her.
Our 2 hours went very quickly, and before we knew it, the next set of volunteers were arriving.
We did a hand over with them, just giving them a brief summary of what we had done, and letting them know the names of the cats that were currently in the play room, so when they put them back, they would go into the correct cages.
It was harder than we thought. It is very hard to ignore cries for attention, and even harder to see the souls that didn't want to come out from under their hidyhole. We would have loved to have taken the ones that had been in the shelter for 6 months, just to give them a normal home.
Hopefully they will all be found homes in due course. It is always the kittens that seem to be adopted first.