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There is always something going on in a multi-cat household. Erm 9... cats and counting...... Plus stories from the Sheffield Cats Shelter

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday at the Shelter

On Sunday mornings you will find my daughter and I helping out at The Sheffield Cats Shelter and today was no exception.

You could be forgiven for not spotting it.  Just outside the City Centre, in a residential street, a large house has had its rooms converted into 'cat rooms'.  Helping cats and kittens since 1897 the shelter is maintained purely by donations.

The Sheffield Cats Shelter - Travis Place

The hard working, dedicated staff have a strict cleaning, feeding and medication routine and its the cleaning part where we, and other volunteers, come in.

Today we were there for around 9:30am.  The staff go around emptying all the litter trays from the numerous rooms, and so our first job was washing the rather large pile of  trays.  We make use of big catering style sinks.  I scrub the trays clean with a solution of water and washing powder, Libby rinses them in cold water to remove the washing powder and then puts them into a solution of disinfectant.  Trays are then left to drain, making sure each one has at least ten minutes for the disinfectant to do its work.  Later someone will add litter and distribute them back around the shelter.  There are a lot of cats, which means there are a lot of trays.

At 10:00am, the staff and volunteers are allocated rooms to clean.  Libby and I were asked to see to 'Holding'.  This is one of the area's cats can go when they are first brought into the shelter. They won't go into the main 'adoption rooms' until they are ready for meeting potential 'parents'.

This is a small room with cats kept separate, in contrast to the adoption rooms, where a number of cats will share the room.

Each animal is taken out of their section, unless they are very scared, in which case we clean around them.  The cat gets to stretch its legs in the main area while we brush out any debris, disinfect, change toys, bedding and water bowls.  Each section is given ten minutes for the disinfectant to work. While we wait, we can make a fuss of the occupant :)

Libby brushing out a compartment
There are always some sad stories. The little lady in the next photo is swollen with milk.  Staff think it likely that her kittens were taken away from her too soon and now she is left with milk and no kittens to feed. She's definitely a sweetie and will hopefully find herself a new home quickly, but for now, she is obviously in discomfort.
Once the compartments are clean, we do the walls of the room, as high as we can go and the floor.  All the rooms and the corridors are cleaned in the same regimented way each and everyday.

We also need to clean and disinfect all the toys and water bowls from the upstairs rooms and clean the small kitchen area which joins Holding with Maternity.  Each room has its own equipment and when the cleaning is finished this also gets ten minutes being disinfected.

After we've done our work our reward is to be able to spend time with the cats.  Today I made some new friends.  Rex (the tabby) is a bit wary of contact at the moment, so I spent a little time chatting to him, stroking him and tickling his chin.  He put up with it very well :) 

Rex and Sasha 

In the same room was a basket full of fluff!

3 pairs of eyes and ears!
There are some beautiful cats and kittens just waiting for the right person to walk through the door.  People ask how I manage not to bring them all home, but whilst there are some sad stories, there are positives too, when you hear about the latest adoptions.

I really enjoy working at the Shelter and I look forward to showing you more of the cats I meet each week.

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