When we last wrote this story, we were explaining about the oddities of our local cat shelter. If you did not happen to read part 1, scroll to the end of this post, and get caught up! We will explain now how we started to suspect that this place could also be a rehabilitation program or halfway house for people.
Over the year and 1/2 of volunteering after school with our daughters, we got to know just about everyone who worked there. While it was the staff that handled the day to day operations, the full time volunteers were in charge of all the extracurricular activities, events, library books, competitions, productions, etc. (things that were completely unnecessary to run a shelter). The staff of the Cat Cottage seemed to have their wits about them, but the full time volunteers we deemed otherwise. As time went on, we noticed that they were very quirky, socially inept, some twitched, others kept scratching their faces (much like an addict would) and we were convinced furthermore when we heard someone from the staff mentioning that there were a few volunteers from a local 12 step program. These people were so wonderful with the animals, yet acted so oddly. It was obvious they were wrought with issues. We started to formulate a theory on our own that the volunteers were actually there as a form of rehabilitation, versus being there to aid the cats! It almost seemed to us that the cats were being used as a tool to give these wayward people purpose and take their minds off of their issues. It was a hunch, but it seemed so plausible.
For instance, One older gentleman was in charge of the color coordination in the rooms, from time to time he went through the hallways with a clipboard checking to make sure that colors were not mixed. Another woman would go from room to room interviewing cat socializers because she was making assessments for the honorable mentions we spoke of in our earlier post. She would pass out ballots, and we would be asked to vote! There was a large committee in charge of the full scale productions put on the entertain the cat “residents.” Also, the library was monitored very closely by at least 5-6 volunteers. Does one actually believe that colorblind animals would even care about which colored room they are housed in? Were the cats actually competing for honorable mentions? Most of the cats slept through the productions! Often when our girls read to the cats, the cats walked away and started to lick their behinds! And does a cat actually get in trouble for not returning a library book? So much goes into operating an animal shelter to begin with; raising funds, purchasing food and litter, procuring veterinarian services, running a volunteer program, maintenance of the building, etc. Why add all these ‘fakakta’ things that do absolutely nothing to benefit the cats?
We could only conclude one thing: it was for the humans! Honestly, think about it, it gave these people purpose, they loved the cats and it kept them busy. The cats were therapeutic! The real staff were the ones who kept the place running. We have no proof whatsoever if our theory is correct, however, this is the way we like to think of it! To this day, we still remain convinced; wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were right? After all, we were just two up and coming middle aged Jewish women, what did we know from this?