Peek into any one of the cat rooms on any day of the week, and you’ll find a Cat Pet Pal petting an ever-grateful, purring feline, grooming a long-haired friend, or exercising a kitty with a wand toys. Our Cat Pet Pals are key in helping socialize cats and making sure they feel comfortable in the foreign shelter surroundings.

Most cats come to the shelter scared and frightened. In the cat adoption rooms, our shy cats slowly come out of their shells and, after learning it’s safe to trust the Cat Pet Pals, they become interested in interacting with potential adopters to find their forever homes.

Cat Pet Pals form an essential part of our Behavior and Training program. Most have a long-standing love of cats and experience observing cat behavior. They go through a special training and orientation and mentoring sessions with experienced Cat Pet Pals to learn the subtle communication signals cats give people. Currently, we have 52 Cat Pet Pals, most have a regular shift every week but we also have a few substitutes. The Cat Pet Pals visit kitties 365 days a year and collectively donate over 300 hours of their time each month.

With the aid of the The Joe Willie Project, we are making more cats with special behavioral and medical needs available for adoption so the skills and dedication of our Cat Pet Pals are needed more than ever. Cats have as many personalities as people (well, maybe more  — after all, they do have nine lives) so our Cat Pet Pals have to use their feline detective skills and intuition to know what techniques are going to work best for each kitty each visit.

Cat Pet Pals are also our first line of defense for noticing physical and behavioral changes with the cats. They provide Animal Care staff and the Feline Behavior staff important information about changes in the cat’s well-being.

Extra Care Cat Pet Pals give special attention to cats in the back of the shelter who are not available for adoption and in many cases have not yet been evaluated. They have lot of experience interacting with cats in the shelter and are experts at reading cat behavior so they’re able to provide valuable input to the Cat Evaluators.

We celebrate you, Cat Pet Pals! We couldn’t do it without you!