March 28, 2023

Cat caregiving is really exhausting work physically, mentally and emotionally. I love it, but it can be draining.

My husband and I travel from San Diego to Kanab every four to six weeks to work with the cats at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Cat World. We have done this ever since the Great Kitty Rescue of 2013.

Each time we go, I make promises to myself to post about my daily experiences while volunteering and to take lots of photos of the cats.


How many photos is enough??

Although I do manage to take some photos, once I get home, it never seems like enough.

And I have yet to achieve my goal of posting every day. I thought I had it all figured out, how easy it would be to post every day even if I did it during the lunch break.

Well, lunch breaks were taken up by eating salad at Angel Village, catching up with friends and meeting other volunteers.

After arriving at our home away from home, a quick shower, an ice cold drink while sitting on the porch discussing the day, checking e-mails, FaceBook and Twitter and making and eating dinner steal away the evening. By the end of it all, I am way too tired to concentrate on writing anything coherent.

In some ways, I think the easiest part of cat care giving is the physical activity.

In the cat areas that consists of pulling the wet food dishes from the night before, making up new wet food dishes including community bowls and special diet bowls, making sure all the meds are done and washing dishes. After that it is time to clean.

cat in litter box

The cleaning routine includes scooping litter boxes, wiping down surfaces, brushing bedding or replacing it, sweeping and mopping the floors.

Some of the cats just ignore the fact that you have work to do and shamelessly solicit pets. Others are very disturbed and run to a spot they think is safe from all of the commotion. Some just keep a close watch wait it out.

Of course all of the cleaning is frequently interrupted by taking time to talk to and pet the cats. After all, while clean is important, ultimately it is all about the happiness of the cats and that includes giving lots of love and attention.

cat care

Darn it, I’m drained…but it’s worth it!

I guess how mentally draining cat care giving is depends on how much you invest yourself in it. I have known employed caregivers and volunteers who cheerfully go about their daily tasks without getting too involved with thinking about it all too much.

And then there are those, like myself who get so involved with all of the details of every aspect of making sure the cats are as happy and healthy as possible.

This is not to say that people who don’t think about it all as much don’t care as much about the cats – they do, but they don’t take on added responsibility and they don’t have to.

Either do I, but I can’t help myself…

Cat care giving is mentally exhausting when you watch each cat closely to make sure they are eating, using the litter box with ease and no issues, that they are acting ‘normally’, and that they have no obvious health issues like dental or respiratory problems.

cat care

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work!

Every task becomes a source of discussion – is this the best way to get this done? There are always differing points of view about how to get things done. As new programs are implemented, there is more discussion and more challenges.

More importantly there are different points of view about how each cat should be treated. Cat care givers cannot help but get attached to the cats, and they will have favorites. This sometimes causes dissention if someone doesn’t agree with the decisions being made about a particular cat.

And always, there is the quest to do more for the cats. We try to figure out ways to give them more quality time, pets, play and socialization.

Anyone involved in cat rescue, cat care giving and cat adoption will tell you there is lots to think about and the more involved you are, the more mentally tiring it is.

A lot of this ties in closely with how emotionally draining cat care giving is, but at the end of the day it’s more than worth it, or I wouldn’t be doing it, would I?  These furry friends mean so much…I’m sure you know what I mean.

If you have comments, please share them below – we’d love to hear from you!

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