If you’d like to help cats in general, there are many things you can do.
Hundreds of animal shelters across the country could use volunteer help as well as donations. Ask about the volunteer positions they have, or specific areas that interest you. Many shelters have a wide variety of volunteer needs; these are just a few of the things that you might do:
- Foster cats in your home
- Write newsletters, stuff envelopes, make phone calls
- Walk and handle caged cats; clean kennels
- Manage the front desk
- Take cats or dogs to visit patients in nursing homes
If you don’t have the time to volunteer, cat shelters appreciate donations of cat food, money, books, litter boxes, rubbing alcohol, heating pads, towels, and all sorts of other stuff. Some shelters also have thrift stores or rummage sales to raise money, and welcome your sellable castoffs.
Help Keep Cats Out of Laboratories
In the book Why Animal Experiments Must Stop, Vernon Coleman estimates that worldwide, 100,000 to 125,000 animals are used in experiments every hour. In the United States, according to Coleman, an animal dies every three seconds in laboratories. Many will be cats. In reality, this figure may be conservative, because some laboratories are secretive about their efforts. The conditions are unbearable, with cats confined to cages so small they can’t stand or stretch. Many experiments are conducted without painkillers or anesthesia. You can help discourage such practices in these ways:
- Buy products that aren’t tested on animals. There are many companies that won’t use animals to test their cosmetics or household cleaners.
- Write to your senator or state representative concerning lab-animal issues (see www.votesmart.org).
- Get your cat tattooed and urge others to do so. It’s a federal offense for a laboratory to accept or test on tattooed animals. (See Tattooing Your Cat for more about tattooing.)
For more information about what you can do to save animals from inhumane testing procedures, contact:
- The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) | www.aavs.org
- Society for Animal Protection Legislation (SAPL) | www.saplonline.org
- Division of Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) | www.awionline.org
Help Stop Declawing
- Declawing is a disabling procedure performed on cats by veterinarians, mostly in the United States. It is illegal or considered inhumane in several countries.
- Ask your veterinarian to stop declawing cats. Most American veterinarians claim they “save lives” by declawing cats yet statistics clearly indicate that is not the case.
- Patronize veterinarians who refuse to declaw.
- Support The Paw Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending declawing. Contact:
The Paw Project
Outside USA, 1 (310) 795-6215
- Ask the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to record/count/track/recognize the cats that are already declawed in all cat research. Contact:
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
Attn: Animal Welfare Committee
AVMA Schaumburg Office
1931 N. Meacham Rd., Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
Phone (800) 248-2862
Fax (847) 925-1329
- Adopt clawed cats only. Adopting a clawed cat is the easiest way you can help end declawing. Declawed cats are like cigarettes—they’re dangerous and you can’t buy one with supporting the industry that profits from making them. Don’t give veterinarians any reason to manufacture more declawed cats. In addition, adopting a clawed cat saves that cat from ending up declawed, urinating, and then abandoned.
Help Other Cat Owners
The more you learn about cat behavior, the more you can help others improve the relationship they have with their cats.
- Talk with other cat owners. You can get into cat discussion groups on the Internet.
- Wear cat-themed clothes around town. When people ask about your cats, you can tell them what you know.
- Print the Cat Advocacy, Important Facts About Declawed Cats, and How to Have a Good Cat sections and give them to others.
Help Feral Cats
Feral (or “wild”) cats need your help too. To more information on how you can help ferals, see this section.