Cities around Phoenix, Arizona have thousands of feral cats. Around cities, house cats become lost or left behind and have to survive on their own. They have feral kittens born in the wild, and most feral cats stay that way unless they people tame them as kittens. Homeless cats have a hard time in the summer heat of Arizona.
Saving One Life animal rescue in Chandler, Arizona helps homeless cats find homes and get out of the desert heat. They need volunteers to spend time with kittens and keep them tame. Eddie in our Kids Program started helping at their shelter with his mom, Martha, when he was eight. This was his brown belt Community Service Project. Eddie says, “Cats can be very sweet and nice and just cuddly, when they don’t scratch.”
He likes to play with his dogs, but Eddie doesn’t have cats. “I had never been with a cat; I thought it would be a good change, to play with them.”
WHY PLAY WITH SHELTER CATS?
When he plays with the kittens, they learn to like kids. Eddie says, “When there’s a boy who’s my age, there has to be an adult supervisor.” When they play with people, it raises the cats’ adopt-ability because “they won’t scratch as much.” He has learned, “If their eyes get big and their pupils get super thin, or super big, they might bite or scratch.”
One of the best things about taking care of the cats, Eddie says, is, “Playing with them and just having fun. You can let them play together and watch them. They will make you laugh.”
Eddie made a special friend at the shelter, an orange male tabby named Nova. He says, “My mom placed Nova on my lap.” Eddie feared that the big kitten would not like his rough clothes, but he stayed there and purred a lot.
Eddie’s observation: “I just see them getting used to the fact that they’re with humans.” He says most of the cats were born less than a year ago, but some are big. Eddie said, “Some of them got adopted, and one of them was Nova, which I really liked. He wasn’t in a shelter anymore.”
Eddie says that other kids can help at their local animal shelters, with an adult. They too can help cats, and make new friends.
by Jenifer Tull-Gauger