Volunteer of the Month: Michaela P

Often times, senior cats are overlooked at shelters in favor of younger kittens. But at Cat Town, our goal is to give every cat a chance to find home, and that's why seniors are a huge part of our mission. Often, this starts with finding the cat a good foster home where they can relax and take time to adjust.

Volunteer Michaela P. has fostered several senior cats for Cat Town, and also helps with the Forgotten Kitten Project. I talked with her about her fostering experience and why people should consider fostering or adopting a senior cat.

Michaela gets in some time with Huey before the end of her volunteer shift. Photos by Cathy Niland.

Michaela gets in some time with Huey before the end of her volunteer shift. Photos by Cathy Niland.

Larissa Church: How did you get involved with Cat Town?

Michaela P: I had heard about the foster program and wanted a cat in our lives again. We don’t have our own cat because we go on long trips several times a year and don’t want to leave a pet alone. Fostering seemed like the perfect solution, since we can still enjoy the company of a cat and help out when we’re in town. Cat Town makes fostering so easy: we just provide a home and love, and Cat Town provides everything else, including the lovely cat.

LC: Have you been a cat person your whole life?

MP: My mother loves animals, so I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have at least one cat in the house. The first cat I remember clearly lived to be 19-years-old and moved with us from Brazil, to Germany, and then to the U.S.

LC: What is/have been your role(s) at Cat Town?

MP: I have mostly fostered cats, and right now I’m working in the new studios with the Forgotten Kitten Project. I also visit Herman, our former foster, who is now in the Cat Zone.

During a visit with Herman, Michaela helps him feel safe with a slow approach to pets. Photo by Cathy Niland. 

During a visit with Herman, Michaela helps him feel safe with a slow approach to pets. Photo by Cathy Niland. 

LC: November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet month. You’ve fostered a few seniors for Cat Town. What draws you to helping the senior cat population?

MP: Francine, the last cat we adopted, was 6-years-old when she came to us. She loved to cuddle, wasn’t too active underfoot, and was just the perfect cat for us. We knew all that from the very beginning because she had already formed her personality.

For fostering, we prefer an adult or senior cat because even though kittens are cute and fun, we didn’t want to teach yet another kitten proper house manners. We also don’t have the energy for the amount of play time and activity that a kitten needs to grow into a healthy adult.

Michaela and Linda have fostered a number of Cat Town cats, including Tyge, pictured here on Linda's shoulders.

Michaela and Linda have fostered a number of Cat Town cats, including Tyge, pictured here on Linda's shoulders.

LC: What is your favorite thing about working with vulnerable shelter cats?

MP: It’s amazing to see how they turn from a frightened and withdrawn animal to a loving companion.

LC: What is something you’ve learned about cats during your time at Cat Town that you think people wouldn’t expect to be true?

Doris, one of the seniors Michaela has fostered through Cat Town.

Doris, one of the seniors Michaela has fostered through Cat Town.

MP: I’m amazed how a feral kitten or young cat can go from being scared to death of humans to enjoying our company and asking for pets. It’s a lengthy process, but so worth it!

LC: Why would you encourage people to adopt a senior cat?

MP: Senior cats have probably come from a loving home which they had to leave for any number of reasons. They’re sad and lonely and don’t know what’s happened to them. Don’t do it out of pity, though: when you find the right cat, you’ll have a wonderful buddy who already knows that it’s not ok to climb the curtains!

Interested in adopting a senior cat? Check out our gallery of seniors looking for homes. To celebrate Adopt-a-Senior-Pet month, senior cat adoption fees at Cat Town are just $20 for the entire month of November.

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