HOW IT WORKS
As a cat rescue volunteer, you pick up or trap stray cats that have been reported to Lonely Miaow, and take them to one of our cooperating vet clinics to be treated and assessed, before moving into a foster home.
We currently have a large database of ‘colonies’ which can mean everything, from a single cat to a mum with a litter of kittens or a wild colony of several dozen cats and kittens.
Each rescue is different, and you will learn something new every time.
If you decide to sign up as a rescue volunteer, we will invite you to a 1-2 hour training session (on the weekend) to show you how to use the traps and our online cat rescue database. During this session you can ask more questions and will also receive humane traps from us to get you started.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT CAT RESCUE
What happens to cats once rescued?
Lonely Miaow has a policy of trap – assess – resolve (TAR) which means that we usually don’t return cats to the situation they came from. This is because we don’t believe that it is in the interest of the cat’s welfare to live outside without proper food and medical care. However, we do desex and return single cats in case someone vouches to care for the cat long-term, feed and administer regular worm and flea treatment.
Once a cat is in our care we initially take it to a vet to be checked and have its temperament assessed. We have several vets all over Auckland who work with us so we would find one close to you to whom you can drop off your cats and with whom you stay in touch about how they are doing. If the cat is healthy and rehomable (friendly, or timid but with a good temperament) it gets wormed, deflead, vaccinated, microchipped and desexed (if old enough and not already desexed) and then moves to one of our foster homes to be rehomed.
If the cat turns out to have a serious illness like feline AIDS or leukemia, or if it is too aggressive or wild to handle and rehome safely, the decision might be made to put it to sleep humanely. This is not something we take lightly but for the wellbeing of the cats – who are often terrified being so close to humans – and for the safety of our vets, fosterers it is unfortunately a decision we have to make. Most of the time the vets decide based on their experience or will contact the rescue manager so you as a rescuer wouldn’t need to be involved directly in the decision if you didn’t want to.
How much time will I need to invest?
It is up to you how much time you would like to donate to Lonely Miaow each week. Trapping and picking up is easy to fit in during evenings and on the weekend if you work full-time like most of our volunteers. There might be busy times when you would like to take a break, and that’s no problem at all.
There are also two different ways of rescuing – actively trapping and organising drop-offs of friendly cats to our vets via phone and email. The second option would suit someone who would not want to go out to people’s houses to rescue.
Do I need any equipment?
If you would like to actively rescue cats, a car is essential to drive trapped cats to the Lonely Miaow vet in your area for assessment and treatment.
It is also important for you to have a landline or mobile phone, and an email address to contact people who have reported stray cats to us.
If you only want to organise drop-offs to our vets via phone and not actively rescue, a car will not be required.
Lonely Miaow will provide you with humane traps and bait for the traps, and (if required) old blankets and towels to cover the traps and protect your car.
What is in it for me?
First of all there is the wonderful feeling that you have made a massive difference to a cat’s or kitten’s life that would have turned out quite differently without your help.
If your day job means sitting at a desk all day long, cat rescue can be a nice change to your usual work and can get you out of the house on evenings and weekends.
You might also meet people along the way who you might not have come across otherwise in your daily life. While this can be challenging at times, more often is very rewarding, and can open you up to different viewpoints and ideas. It also helps you develop your people and communications skills.