By Pat Foster-Turley
September 23, 2022
I’ve at all times been a cat individual. All through junior and senior highschool I volunteered and finally bought paid to work on the native animal hospital, the place I used to be identified to have the ability to calm probably the most frightened cats. Bucko and I’ve at all times had a cat all through our 46 years collectively, however solely one after the other, all calico/torties. Bandita and Masala each lived to be about 18 years previous, and our present cat Dumela is just 10 with hopefully eight extra years to go.
Bucko is adamant about being a one-cat family however that’s not practically sufficient cat love in my life. Now that I’ve found volunteer alternatives on the Nassau Humane Society in Fernandina Seashore I’ve discovered success. My volunteer job is to “socialize” the cats within the facility. In different phrases, I’ve free reign to go to the cats and kittens, play with them, groom them, no matter, every time the middle is open. Wow, how come I didn’t find out about this sooner!
I’ve solely been to the ability in my new function 3 times up to now, however that’s all within the first week and already I get to know just a few of the feline residents and a number of the form people who make this attainable. Many of the older cats roam free within the “cattery,” two massive rooms, an air conditioned inside room and a big screened-in outdoors space. The cats are free to maneuver between the rooms and there are platforms, chairs, bins, tunnels, litterboxes, and water bowls positioned all through the realm. Toys of all descriptions litter the ground, cat brushes are useful, and the cats are given a wide range of completely different manufacturers of cat meals and treats that cater to their particular person tastes. Among the chairs are simply wonderful for guests too, and should you sit too lengthy in a single you simply may find yourself with a cat in your lap, which isn’t a foul factor no less than for me.
The king cat of the cattery is Tank, who was rescued by long run, virtually day by day, volunteers Cindi and Roy Carter, who spent weeks making an attempt to befriend him when he was within the wild, and eventually succeeded. Tank has been on the heart so lengthy and turn out to be such a buddy of the workers and volunteers that the Nassau Humane Society adopted him themselves, to dwell his life on this luxurious setting with folks doting on him. One other cattery resident Ferdi might find yourself staying there for a very long time too. He’s blind in a single eye, which makes him startle simply when approached unexpectedly, however he additionally has the considerably annoying trait of attacking folks’s legs. However solely to get extra consideration. As soon as somebody begins enjoying with him, dangling a feather on a string or one thing, he’s all set. That’s what we volunteers are for.
Different cats get adopted rapidly. In the course of the week I’ve been visiting, two grownup cats bought adopted out, Millie and Marcus. In line with Alec Rowe, the Adoption Supervisor, Marcus solely lived on the Nassau Humane Society for every week, whereas he bought checked out by the animal care workers. When he was deemed prepared to hitch the cats within the cattery he solely lasted 40 minutes there earlier than he was adopted.
Different grownup cats that may’t affiliate with others for varied causes are housed in extra-large particular person cages (the “condos”). Stephanie Miller, the Government Director of the Humane Society, shares her workplace with a cat or two as properly. Just lately she housed previous Tiger King there in his last days, earlier than he died of age-related points this previous week. Tiger had lengthy lived within the facility, roaming freely all through the places of work and hallways, the “sheriff” of the place, they stated. His passing was a tragic event but it surely was a fortunate break for Gremlin and Little Lee, a bonded grownup pair, who’ve moved from a condominium to her workplace till they win over another person’s coronary heart.
And don’t get me began in regards to the kitten room—cuteness overload! A couple of dozen small kittens are housed in cages right here a number of the time, however principally they roam free within the room entertaining adoring guests and potential adopters. Like the principle cattery, this room is stuffed with cat toys and comfortable areas to sit down. Not like the older cats, these small felines like to play, and the room is often stuffed with the glad laughter of these watching their antics. There are few issues extra satisfying to me than sitting on a pillow with child cats on my lap and extra enjoying in entrance of me. Now the numbers of kittens are diminished as they too get adopted. And that’s a superb factor.
If you wish to assist the Nassau Humane Society you possibly can volunteer, donate, undertake and even attend their annual fundraiser, “Pasta for Paws” developing October 26. Try their web site https://nassauhumane.org, name them at 904-321-1647, or cease by the ability on Airport Highway throughout visiting hours starting at 11 a.m. most days.
And simply perhaps once you go to you’ll see me enjoying with the cats. I simply can’t keep away!!!!
Pat Foster-Turley, Ph.D., is a zoologist on Amelia Island. She welcomes your nature questions and observations. [email protected]