A highlight to many volunteers’ week is the opportunity to get to know residents either in the cattery or rabbitry. You get the chance to socialise with the animals, feed them their ‘tea’ and learn how to medicate animals. We like to think of this role as ‘putting the animals to bed’!
End of Day Volunteer
How long have you been volunteering for RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch?
I started in September 2019
What does your role involve?
End of day cat care isn’t just about giving the fur balls their PM intake of food and cleaning up their business, it’s also about showing them compassion and comfort to make their stay at the shelter as calming as possible. Each cat is unique, some happy to have human contact, others wanting boundaries respected, so it’s important to know what you are dealing with on each shift especially when there’s a quick turnover of cats in the shelter. I make sure to introduce myself to each cat before I set about the daily feed and clean routine, that way I’m not only helping with cat socialising, and having my fix of cuddles but it also gives me an understanding of the cats’ needs. The last, essential, part of the role is to log all details on each animal’s observation sheet including poop consistency, if they’ve eaten and if you’ve made contact/played with the cat. This is a must for all members of the team to know exactly what’s going on with each cat.
What are the highlights of the role you do?
Highlights are each and every face I see; feline and human! Knowing that I’m doing something to help makes me smile! Knowing that these vulnerable cats are a little happier and safer with the affection I give them ready to be rehomed with their new forever families is a great feeling!
What are the challenges of your role?
I guess the challenges are those cats that aren’t fully comfortable and have been through so much to end up at the shelter, knowing when to keep your distance and when just to be there to try and make them feel less stressed! Those that need medication can also be a challenge depending what treatment is needed and the personality of the cat! Some will gladly take what they need with a sense of knowing it’s helping, others are not so keen.
What do you get out of volunteering?
I get soooo much out of volunteering! It’s been a treat to look forward to each Monday knowing I’m doing my bit fills me with positivity! It’s helped me de-stress my work life massively to step away from my day-to-day work, which can sometimes be full-on and spend that couple of hours just focusing on the cats is something special not everyone has the opportunity to do! There’s a lot to be said to just listening to the sound of a cat purring. Plus I’ve met some lovely people along the way which is an added bonus.
Have you gained any skills and/or knowledge from your volunteering?
I’ve gained loads of knowledge. Giving cats medication wasn’t something I was really familiar with, or how to treat a wound. It’s all been a learning curve for me! In addition it’s built my confidence with handling cats and the ability to read their body language, etc.
If someone was thinking about joining the team what would you tell them? What I would tell a potential volunteer…..DO IT!!! Yes it can be a bit daunting but the support you have is fantastic. At the centre they’re a fab bunch with tons and tons of knowledge! If you take on a role and find yourself unsure of anything, the one piece of advice would be to ask, and don’t be afraid to, it’s better to ask than to get it wrong, even if it’s something ridiculous! The centre is a wonderful place that the community is lucky to have!
How much time do I need to commit to the role?
I volunteer once a week for two hours every Monday ensuring I give myself enough time to travel there and allow myself time to get changed. I also make sure I have an extra few minutes for a catch up with the manager at the start of the shift to get a clear understanding of any new tenants. Overall I give myself about 3 hours a week with travel time, I only wish it could be more.
Interested in this position?
We welcome engagement with people from across the community and proactively embrace equality, diversity and inclusion, so if you would like to join the team please be rest assured you will be welcomed with open arms. We are open to learning how we can adapt our workplaces and include more people to support us with the vital work that we do.
We aim to:
Treated everyone with dignity and respect
Respond positively to different needs and circumstances so that everyone can achieve their potential