I’m just going to say it. I saved the best for last. Best Friends Animal Society CAT WORLD. Yes, I have cats. I’d have more animals like a dog and a goat if my apartment and San Francisco allowed me to but, I have just two delightful, rescued cats.
This was the largest group of volunteers I encountered by far. Bunny House was just me, Dogworld and Horse Haven were three. There were about eight this time. We watched a video and were then told about the different cat houses we could see. Sure, it was tempting to see kittens and the yungins but I knew immediately what group was probably best for my goal – documenting and sharing this experience in hopes more people will volunteer. I spoke up immediately in case anyone else wanted it and was assured I had chosen well. I chose the special care cats at Quincy House. Our host was pleased too with my choice.
I walked in and it was by far the craziest scene even with rabbits in dining rooms and hallways at Bunny House with cats rambling about, people milling and working and cat “stuff” just everywhere including the middle of the floor. The first thing you see though is just how perfect this is because there are quite a few who are paralyzed in the back quarters and blankets and beds in the space make it perfectly easy for them to have every comfort they could need. Somehow, they have all chosen their own spaces and mingle well with each other and just to go back to “their” spots when they want to rest or bathe or sleep. It was really delightful. I had a cat, Tessa, who was somewhat special needs with severe allergies problems but nothing like these guys. Everything from being incontinent, paralyzed, FIV+ and the like. But everyone had their needs met.
I did very little in the way of chores here. Once I mentioned my plan to document and share the story, it was definitely desired that I do that instead. But I did get to “design” one room for the incontinent cat who had her own quarters. A most loving and attention seeking cat who just kind of always peed a little bit. The last person had gone pink in the decor. Well, I went goth, rocker, animal prints of course, for her wild side. I was then off to see explore the other rooms and cats and socialize a bit.
One thing that cannot be said enough is just how much these ladies (yep, again, ladies!) would do anything to make these cats comfortable. Each and every cat had their needs met. I went into all the rooms that separate each particular special needs. I got hung up with Pirate Pete though who the moment I sat down, jumped into my lap and never left. All the while, I forget her name, a beautiful ginger was jealously at my feet wanting attention too. Why “Pirate Pete”? He had only one eye. I think he was in the FeLV room. He would make a grand mate in someone’s home though! Yes, these cats are adoptable but they do require more than a box and bowl of food if someone is willing.
This is also the room where I chatted with one of the employees. She came from the east coast and worked at Best Friends and also the local animal control. While I had two cats fawning for my attention, she diligently cleaned and organized this great space with both highs and lows, toys and boxes and cubbies. She obviously loves animals and we talked about that and how well, Kanab ain’t really the place for a single gal – at all. I’d probably become the renowned “cat lady” my friends tease me about if I lived there. But it was a good laugh and chat. It was with her that I saw just how many people had come to Kanab specifically to work and be a part of Best Friends.
Eventually, to Pete’s dismay, I left to check out the other rooms. It was almost time for a tour group to come by so I was warned that some of the cats would be let out and it would be a site to see. Yes, yes it was. Three cats, paralyzed in the back end knew that door was opening and raced out like mad bandits to roll in the dirt. It was delightful to witness and wowed the crowds. You could not help but smile at them dragging their ends to discover, swat, roll and dig in the dirt. I had to pick one guy up and bring him back in and he was none too pleased about it but if I’d left him, no doubt he’d had made it to the parking lot.
My guess is that there were maybe 30+ cats total in this building alone. It takes a lot of work. The whole time there, people were moving about doing laundry, cleaning floors, preparing meds, filling bowls, expressing bladders and everyone was smiling and at ease and just as content as could be. We all marveled and laughed at the beautiful boy with turquoise eyes at how he didn’t want to necessarily eat the treats but kind of just wanted to play and dump them all over the floor.
Every last breathing being in this building was content. Lessons in life to be had by us all. We can work together, play together, sleep together, eat together and drag our butts in the world and do it in peace and love and harmony – if we simply choose to. FYI, I would have absolutely and was expecting to bring a cat back to my hotel for a sleepover like with Raffle. However, unbeknownst to me, my pet friendly room was only dog friendly. So sadly, I couldn’t do it.
Brava ladies at Best Friends Animal Society Cat World. Thanks for sharing the experience with me and most of all, thanks for taking care of these cats who are truly in the best of care.