About the author - How I help.

Volunteer – verb: “Freely offer to do something, without being paid.”.

I dedicate this blog to my good friend, buddy, sidekick, and brother from another mother, Derek Schroeder-Nel. Derek is always willing to help and be part of some of my wild endeavours. This website is his brainchild and CAAA would like to thank him for all the hard work he put in, and guidance he gave us in setting up this site.

Since we last spoke, life has been busy on the volunteering side of our household. Everyone jumped in to help, even our kitties, the real rulers of our house, did their bit to make newcomers feel welcome. Quite a few kitties, the biggest random variety of kitties we have ever fostered at one time, crossed our threshold. Apart from fostering mainly adult cats for CAAA, we do help socialise and nurture some of the more feral kittens, who come to us. It is after all, where CAAA’s main involvement is, with the feral kitties. We also jumped in to help with some trapping and establishing a new feral cat colony in the Plattekloof area.

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain “to benefit another person, group or organization”. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served.
— Corporation for National & Community Service

My involvement with CAAA, started as a feral cat feeder. For a long time that was I all did for CAAA. It is important to educate yourself about feral cats, and the trap, neuter, and return (TNR) principle followed globally when it comes to the management of feral cats. In our FAQ section, a feral cat is described as an untamed cat. Some may refer to the cat as wild. The cat was either abandoned and has reverted to a more wild state, or the cat was born outdoors to a feral or stray mother and has had little or no human contact. Feral cats are frightened of people and avoid contact whenever possible. Feral kittens can be tamed, but usually adult feral cats are not able to be socialized. My opinion about the adult ferals differ.  

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I am "owned" by 2 adult cats, who were born feral, was part of a TNR program, until the age of about 3. One of the security staff at our office block spent time with them, lots of time if I had to guess. When I started to help him feed, they immediately allowed me to approach and gradually allowed me to touch them. WIthin two months, I took them home with me and they are now part of my clowder. Then we were 5, and we have never looked back.

I would not lie and say that they are social cats, who like people. They will, however, watch guests from a distance, and regular visitors may be honoured with the opportunity to pet one of the little rulers of our kingdom. They are as much part of our household, as any of our other 3, whom we rescued as kittens. Go see our FAQ, for more information about feral kitties, and do not be afraid to make your own choice, when it comes to taking an adult feral home and making them your own. Just be prepared to work very hard. You cannot disappoint them or yourself. 

As time progressed, and I got to know the organisation, I started getting involved in spay days. Feral cats are trapped prior to a spay day, and these need care before, and after their procedures. Providing transport, to and from the spay day venue, is also a vital part of the day. The team of volunteers, involved on the spay day, need refreshment, and hubby, The Hyltonator, makes some very sought- after sandwiches (even though he cannot cook to save his life). Keep an eye on the FB page, to see when help is asked for.

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For more information on how to help, click here.

In order to sustain these physical activities, we need resources, and will from time to time ask for random items on our FB page. Even just one or two items, donated by 100 people, can make a huge difference to the lives of our rescues, and make our efforts much easier. 

A broad rule you can apply if you feel you are really stuck at this point, want to help, but no idea how, is to think about what consumables you buy for a baby, a child or use in your house, that can be used by rescuers. Add a pack of baby wipes, bottle of dish-washing detergent, toilet paper, or any other cleaning product, to your monthly shopping trolley. Ask 5 friends to do the same, and donate those items. 

If this is not quite for you, we also have a wish list and contribute page, where you can pick and choose, how you can help.

Now that you have some ideas, you can direct your mind to volunteering, and decide on something that thrills and inspires you.

Cats always thrill and inspire me, but our stall at the Durbanville Craft Market, the first Saturday of every month, is the highlight for me and right up my alley. I am a self- confessed shopaholic, always looking for good stuffs and bargains. Our table sells kitty toys, doggy toys, and accessories and some knick-knacks for humans. All items are new and very reasonably priced. We always have some of our lovely kitties in attendance, and they look forward to seeing some regular faces and meeting new cat peeps, every month. I cannot do this without my friends Sheree, Samantha, hubby Hyltonator, who help set up, and man our stall. If you want to volunteer, for an hour or two, and get to know us, contact me at marlene@caaa.org.za. Find details of our next market on our events page. This helps us raise some much- needed funds, that goes straight to our vet bill.

Looking forward to hearing from you and I will try to answer any volunteer-related questions you may have.

Cats chatz later’s  =^..^=