Volunteer of the Month: Cammane W.

Cammane W. is a “jack of all trades” type of volunteer. She's fostered a number of cats and dedicates her time in our Adoption Center spaces, greeting the public and socializing our cats. As a trained Forgotten Kitten Project volunteer, she helps older shelter kittens build trust in humans, giving them a second chance at finding the loving homes they deserve. And on top of that, she's helping us plan our Second Chance Soirée event this fall. Like we said, she does it all! 

I recently talked with Cammane about her volunteer experience and what it means to be a part of the Cat Town team. 

  Cammane and Andromeda share a moment in the Cat Zone. Photo by Liz Lazich. 

Cammane and Andromeda share a moment in the Cat Zone. Photo by Liz Lazich. 

Larissa C.: How did you get involved with Cat Town?

Cammane W.: I had been following Cat Town’s Instagram for a while when I saw a post calling for fosters for a few different cats. I hadn’t considered fostering before, but something about that post really caught my attention. I decided to give it a try, thinking if I didn’t enjoy fostering, I wouldn’t have to do it again. My first foster only stayed with us for three weeks before he got adopted! And once he was gone, it felt like my home was missing something.

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

CW: Nope! I grew up with dogs and didn’t really interact with my first cat (a neighbor’s) until middle school. I decided to start volunteering at my local SPCA as a cat socializer around the same time. I quickly found out I was allergic to cats; it would only take a couple minutes in a cat room before I started sneezing and getting hives. Luckily, I’ve become less allergic as I’ve gotten older.

LC: Do you have cats at home?

CW: I currently only have one foster cat named Milton. A couple of my previous fosters have needed to be the only cat in the home, so I have held out on adopting for now to help more cats like them.

  Cammane with one of her recent foster cats, Cooper, a member of the Forgotten Kitten Project. 

Cammane with one of her recent foster cats, Cooper, a member of the Forgotten Kitten Project. 

LC: What roles do you play, or have you played, at Cat Town?

CW: Besides being a foster, I also volunteer at the Adoption Center in both the Downtown and Studio spaces. I’m also currently on the planning committee for our fall event, Second Chance Soiree, which will be held on Saturday, September 29, at Preservation Park.

LC: What do you love most about volunteering?

CW: It’s hard to choose just one aspect that I love the most. I definitely enjoy spending one-on-one time with the cats, especially the Cat Zone cats when we don’t have many guests for the hour. I also love getting to meet and work with the other amazing volunteers.

LC: You’ve done a lot to help socialize members of our Forgotten Kitten Project. What is something you’ve learned about under-socialized cats and kittens that people might not expect to be true?

CW: I guess one thing people might not expect is that each cat has their own personal timeline for growth. Some cats blossom pretty quickly once they’re exposed to consistent and positive human interactions. But there are also cats that need closer to a year or longer before they’re comfortable being near people or receiving pets. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the cat or that they won’t ever enjoy being in a home, they just need to be provided with more time and patience.

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

CW: I love getting to see (or even just hear/read) about the progress the cats make. It’s amazing getting to witness a cat going from being scared about your presence to being comfortable with you and asking for pets.

LC: Why would you encourage people to adopt a Forgotten Kitten?

CW: Like any under-socialized Cat Town cat, a Forgotten Kitten may not be a social butterfly when you take them home, but because they’re a part of our Forgotten Kitten Project, you’ll know they’ve been receiving socialization from staff and volunteers that you can build on.

  Cammane and Juniper on a closed day at Cat Town. Photo by Liz Lazich.

Cammane and Juniper on a closed day at Cat Town. Photo by Liz Lazich.

LC: What would you say to someone considering volunteering at Cat Town?

CW: Definitely try it out! When I first started volunteering in the Adoption Center, my goal was to eventually only volunteer in the Studio space one-on-one with the cats. I didn’t expect to enjoy working in  Cat Zone as much because I’m not extroverted at all. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long before I was comfortable giving the welcome spiel and striking up conversations with guests. Not only has my time with Cat Town been super rewarding, I feel like it has also helped me grow as a person. If you’re not interested in interacting with guests or fostering, there are also other ways to help out as well.

Cat Town is always looking for new volunteers and foster to join our team. To learn more, please reach out to us at info@cattownoakland.org today!

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