Volunteer of the Month: Jamie G

Many of Cat Town’s volunteers have been with the organization for years, and we are so thankful for all their hard work and dedication. One such volunteer is Jamie G., who also volunteers with Oakland Animal Services (OAS) where most of the Cat Town cats come from, giving him a unique perspective on the incredible progress under socialized cats make before being adopted. 

Check out my recent interview with superstar volunteer, Jamie G. below!

Jamie enjoys a quiet moment with lap cat Molly before the Cat Zone opens for the day.

Jamie enjoys a quiet moment with lap cat Molly before the Cat Zone opens for the day.

Larissa Church: How many cats do you have at home?

Jamie G: We have one cat, Lily, who was adopted from OAS in 2008. She’s 12-years-old now and since our beloved Stanley died last year, Lily has a spring in her step and a song in her heart. She always wanted to be an only cat!

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

JG: We always had cats when I was growing up and I was fascinated by them. They seem to like me too! One of my first cats was Taboo (pictured). He was an amazing cat, and he was definitely the origin of my love for big tabby boys. He also, strangely, loved water. He often tried to jump in the bathtub with me, and my mother had to banish him from the kitchen when she was washing dishes as he would try to jump in the sink. What a character!

Jamie with his childhood friends, 

Jamie with his childhood friends, 

LC: How did you get involved with Cat Town?

JG: I met Ann Dunn (Cat Town’s founder and executive director) when we were both volunteers at OAS and saw firsthand how the Cat Town foster program and later, the café and adoption center, saved so many cats at OAS who were stressed and struggling. I started volunteering at Cat Town shortly after the café opened in 2014 and continue to volunteer at OAS.

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

JG: I am an adoption counselor in CZ1 and a lead and trainer for our Studio space.

Editor’s note: Our Studios are the newly refurbished Adoption Center spaces for the most vulnerable shelter cats in need of adoption. 

LC: What inspired you to start working with Cat Town and our under socialized cats?

JG: OAS is a wonderful municipal shelter but many cats there are stressed, shell-shocked, and overlooked. Despite the best efforts of a limited group of volunteers, many under socialized cats languish at the shelter for months. Seeing cats transformed by patient socializing, foster care, and the work of staff and volunteers is what inspires me to be a part of Cat Town.

Big tabby boy, Treat siting by Jamie's feet during a volunteer shift before being adopted. Jamie worked closely with Treat at the shelter before his arrival at Cat Town. 

Big tabby boy, Treat siting by Jamie's feet during a volunteer shift before being adopted. Jamie worked closely with Treat at the shelter before his arrival at Cat Town. 

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

JG: The breakthrough moments when the cats learn or relearn trust in humans and reveal their true personalities are my favorite things about working with vulnerable shelter cats. Volunteering at OAS and Cat Town allows me to be part of the transformation and see the results.

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

JG: I’ve learned that even the most shutdown and/or feisty, angry cats will eventually learn to trust and reveal themselves. It’s really summed up by the statement, “Love + Time = Magic.”

Interested in joining the Cat Town volunteer team? Visit cattownoakland.org/volunteer to learn more!

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