KC Pet Project’s volunteers traverse the metro in search of fur-ever homes
In these challenging times, the good news is hard to come by. Sometimes it feels as if there are only negative stories. However, the way these volunteers at Kansas City Pet Project have been spending their time in quarantine is bound to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
They have partnerships with nine different Petco locations across the KC metro area, plus Whiskers Cat Café in Westport, and house the adorable adoptable cats there until they go to their FURever homes.
Volunteers take time out of their lives to make sure these cats are feed, cleaned, and ready for adoption by the time they get to the different shelters in the city. With COVID cases still spreading in the area, all transporters are required to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. Even in a global pandemic, these workers and volunteers are devoted to giving their feline friends a permanent home.
Moving the cats around the city pushes the likelihood of these cats to be adopted. Danielle Jones, who is the Petco cat habitat manager at KCPP as well as a rockstar in her band called LA Jones, says, “A lot of our cats find homes through this partnership.”
Jones, whose job is to pick the cat candidates, transport them, and make sure they are taken care of, found she loves his job not just for the cats, but for the people who love talking about cats just as much as she does:
“When I first started working at the shelter in feline care and adoptions, three years ago, I had thought it was for the cats. And don’t get me wrong, I love the cats. But I started to find that I really enjoyed talking with people about cats!”
She’s not the only employee who raves about their job and working with the cats; Tracy Garcia, who is a volunteer, says she loves many things about the job. “I work a busy fulltime job managing people, and it’s a good stress release to come and hang out with the cats a few days a week.”
Being around the animals is an excellent stress reliever for many of the volunteers and they are just happy to help. Garcia expands on why that is true for her:
“It’s awesome being part of a cat’s journey to their new people—you get to spend a lot of time with them while you’re there. I have really gotten attached to some of them and have definitely shed a tear or two when they’ve gone home to new families. There’s also nothing better than working with the shy or fearful cats and seeing them blossom into love bugs.”
Another volunteer, Brenda Grabb, considers herself a “cat whispers” when it comes to the transportation job. She stated, “I love every cat and kitten I meet! I like to give them as much love as possible while there and help them become very used to people and handling.” When she retired in 2018 from a lifetime of hectic work as a physician, she wanted to volunteer to give back in some way and to keep helping where her medical knowledge might be helpful.
When asked what their favorite experience while transporting the cats, all three agreed that every moment with any cats was their favorite. It was hard for them to pick. It’s obvious to see that this is a passion job for many.
My advice to anyone considering volunteering at a shelter right now would be to do it. They are always in need of extra hands at KCPP, and who knows, you might go home with a new best friend.