Jeff Clark first fell in love with the cats who guarded the grain silos on his grandparents’ farm. These were working cats, and Jeff was impressed that unlike the other farm animals, they pretty much took care of themselves.
“I remember thinking they’ve got it figured out,” Jeff says. “The cats had this ability to thrive without us.”
Though he always enjoyed cats, it wasn’t until much later in life that Jeff had his first pet cat. A kitten wandered across his street one day and “adopted” him.
After that kitten, Jeff became more devoted to cats. But he didn’t learn about Cat Adoption Team (CAT) until a few years later. While driving to meet a friend at a nearby business in Sherwood, Jeff happened to pass by the shelter. Surprised to see such a large facility wholly dedicated to felines, he immediately checked it out. Within months of that visit, Jeff adopted two cats from us!
Fast forward a few more years. Jeff decided to put his love of cats into action by volunteering at CAT. A medical school researcher by profession, Jeff assumed he’d help out in the hospital. But he was drawn to other tasks: cleaning, laundry, and driving cats to offsite adoption centers. And while he fills a lot of roles at CAT, he finds caregiving and feline enrichment to be the most rewarding.
“I love the intimate interactions,” Jeff explains. “My total focus is on these cats for as long as I want.”
Jeff also finds satisfaction in helping cats who are shy or scared in the shelter. He’s thrilled when these cats blossom with a little love, patience, and reassurance from their caregivers.
“It’s so gratifying to see that moment when they have come to trust us,” says Jeff.
Each cat that comes into the shelter receives the care they need to prepare for and find a loving home. This commitment to the cats, and the trust and dedication to staff and volunteers alike, is what Jeff appreciates most about volunteering here.
“It’s clear to me that CAT is the place where I can make the biggest difference for cats,” Jeff shares, “It is a very dynamic workplace, where the unspoken mantra is ‘Continual Quality Improvement’. Every day you feel like you are set up for success.”
Learn how you can get involved: catadoptionteam.org/volunteer.