It's commonly accepted in rescue, I think, that cats get the short end of the stick. They don't enjoy quite the cherished position in society that dogs have received, and while small animals are even less valued, the number of homeless small animals is dwarfed by the number of homeless cats. Cats are rarely claimed, rarely fixed, and constantly multiplying. It's hard for them to stand out in the mewing, cage-climbing crowd.
With dogs, they get their photo taken by the incredibly talented Fred, and the staff do a write-up on the website for each one. For small animals, I do a photo and write-up for each one on the website, and I write a printed bio to attach to each cage.
People looking for a dog or small animal get to know each one individually before they even reach the shelter. But the cats are a blurry mass of intake photos, with no bios - most of them are lucky to get names on the site. This is certainly not the fault of staff. They are way too busy actually caring for these animals to write bios or wait and wait for the perfect photo.
That's why we have volunteers!
It's really amazing what a difference a photo makes. When someone is looking for an animal, a good photo can catch their eye. People can connect to a cat through a photo alone. Intake photos are not great for this:
Intake photos are quick, taken for the purpose of letting people see if the cat matches their own cat who is missing.
Then hopefully when they move into adoption, volunteers update the photo. This cat in particular is absolutely gorgeous, I'm not sure my photo did her justice:
It's very easy to do photos at a shelter if you have a camera. You have more time than staff, so you're pretty much guaranteed to get some upgrades. A lot of people say they don't have time to volunteer weekly, they wish they could get involved, etc etc. Well here you go - take a couple of hours out of your day and head down to the local shelter with your camera. It doesn't take long and it might make a huge difference.
Out of the 27 cats listed on the website for TAS South, 17 of the photos are mine, and it only took a few quick sessions. They aren't great, but they're an improvement and maybe they'll catch someone's eye.
Anyway, enough preaching. There's another reason for posting cats right now:
Cisco is a huge cuddler. He's only a year old, and such a lovebug. He also has his independent side, but pick him up and he'll melt in your arms.
Rosemary here is about 4 years old and has a lovely dignified way about her. She likes people (although she seems iffy with other cats) but she also likes to be on her own.
Czar looks magnificent, but is kind of a wimp. He has the most pathetic meow if you're not paying attention to him. I've actually photographed him twice - I did his photo at West a few months ago, and now he's at South because he was returned for some stupid reason. I think his owners got divorced? Anyway he's not very happy about being back. Plus he needs a shave now, poor guy.
Jewels is one of my favourites. She too looks magnificent, but her personality lives up to her looks. She is quite aloof and rather queenly, but she's a nice girl who will lie beside you to get her ears scratched, and she has a great deal of patience with being picked up or brushed.
This post is kind of all over the place but to sum up: If you have a camera and you want to get involved at a local shelter, offer to do photos. If you want a cat, there's a great deal at TAS and our cats are awesome!