Project: Volunteering for Colony Cats in Columbus
Time Taken: 3.5 hours
Here’s a sentence I never thought I would say: I had so much fun scooping poop out of litter boxes, I lost track of time.
Yeah. Weird for me too.
I found Colony Cats via VolunteerMatch.org before I had even left Boston, hoping to get a jump on my one-hour-a-week-of-volunteering mission. Colony Cats was one that jumped out at me right away.
Having a feline friend of my own, I immediately was interested in getting to play with other fur balls, and signed up right away.
I showed up at the crack of 9 am the first day of volunteering sleepy but excited. (Shows get out around 11 pm every night and we had just been though moving from Boston and performing in our opening week in Columbus, which is always exhausting. So 9 am may as well have been 6 for all my body knew)
I walked into the store-front of the Colony, which had a nice glass front for the kitties to watch the swarming packs of birds. These flocks seemed to know that they had the power to mock these captive kitties from the safety of the other side of the glass and hung around all morning, causing a few frustrated outbursts from the Colony Cats.
“Hey. You have thumbs. Let me out so I can get a bird!”
The inside of the facility is a series of different rooms made homey with cat trees and benches for the kitties to play and nap on all over. It smelled to high heaven, of course, so I met everyone who was volunteering, had a brief orientation, and got quickly to work.
Litter boxes a-go-go!
First order of business- cleaning the numerous litter boxes that lined every room. There were about 135 cats in the facility, one volunteer estimated, so there was lots of scooping to be done. They use the clay based litter, making the… ahem.. wet parts of the litter quite heavy. At the end of the day I was sporting a sore shoulder and hand from the sheer force I had to exert on the metal scooper to get the job done!
An impressive fur ball I made from brushing the cat trees.
After the litter is cleaned, I brushed all of the carpeted cat trees to get the fur from napping cats off, and then swept and mopped the floor.
Right after cleaning the cat trees, they were immediately repopulated. Note their very own fish tank to enjoy!
All this took about an hour, and that was just the front room! The other, more experienced volunteers seemed to be flying through their sections and I vowed that by the end of my monthly visits it would take me less than an hour per room to clean!
My clean front room!
After I was done with two rooms, it felt so good to look back over my work and see (and smell!) the difference. It seems like such a small task, but somehow noticing how the little dust bunnies of cat hair were gone and how the room was much more manageably cat-smelling, I was incredibly proud of myself and felt quite rewarded.
“Can you pet me now, please?” – One adoptable kitty who lost his eye in a fight before he was taken in by the Colony.
I was so engrossed with cleaning that I literally lost track of time and missed an appointment with my personal trainer! (Sorry Heidi!) No one was more surprised with this than me. Cleaning my own cat’s litter box is one of the more loathed chores in my house, so the fact that I spent almost four hours cleaning hundred’s of other cat’s poop and having a good time was strange for me to realize!
After I was done cleaning, I hung out with a few of the more needy kitties. So many times while I was cleaning a kitty would mew for attention, try to play with my brush, or rub on my leg to try to get some love. Lots of the cats are absolutely love bugs, and I would take 10 to 15 minute breaks just losing myself in the soft fur of one of these attention-starved babies.
Lots of kitties to love on!
So at the end of my shift, I rewarded myself with some one-on-one attention for the more needy souls in the facility, like this one sweetheart of a cat, who had lost an eye in a cat fight before being rescued. All he wanted was for me to talk to him and give him scratches under his chin, mewing indigently in protest when I stopped.
“Love me! Looooove me!”
I was exhausted from my morning of scooping and lifting and mopping at the Colony, I walked back into this:
Apparently Copeland decided to protest his once-every-other-day litter box cleaning schedule and tell me exactly how he felt about it. I sighed, retrieved my broom and dust pan, and got right back to work.
All pictures by Me!
If you want to add a feline friend to your life, or want to donate to this wonderful charity, click here!