The shelter I foster for held its 13th annual kitten shower this past Saturday. This is an event designed to help bring in supplies to help the shelter care for the 1,000 of expected cat and kittens that will arrive at the shelter in the next few months, aka "kitten season".
This particular event has had some very good years where they received a lot of participation from the community, and some years it has fallen a little flat. This year seemed to be somewhere in between... not the best year, but not the worst either. The shelter made an announcement that the event brought in 2,000 pounds of supplies, which is nothing to shake a stick at.
They have had some local girl scout troops take on the shelter as one of their fundraisers, and they buy supplies and bring them in. The group or individual who brings in the most donations (by weight) will get a behind the scene tour of the shelter which is a lot of fun for the scouts.
This year, as in years past, I was asked to bring in my foster kittens for the event. The first year we did this shower we had no kittens available and people were very disappointed (we also had a lot of kittens dropped off during the event too which was quite disheartening). There were four sets of fosters, one group that was four weeks, mine that were six weeks, a group that was eight weeks and another group that was ten, which was actually kind of fun, and could have been educational if anyone had noticed and done something about it... but sadly we were just set up in the education room for all of the young kids to come in and look at. They all clamoured to hold the kittens, which I was very uncomfortable with since there was so much chaos and noise - and there was a door that went right outside that kept being open - so I kept my kittens in the cage except for a few times when it was really really slow. The foster family of the younger kittens felt comfortable letting the kids hold their kittens, and it did seem to work out just fine. All of that handling will only help the kittens adjust to life with people, but I was concerned because Sully and The Kraken seemed uncomfortable with all of the noise, and they run fast.
I wish there had been staff in the room to watch over the kittens and answer questions.. not that I can't handle kitten questions *wink* but I would have been more comfortable and could have enjoyed the shower itself, which I couldn't this time because all of the other foster people had to leave for one reason or another and there was no one else to watch over the kittens - and there was more than one time when a young child attempted to get into a cage on their own.
I did take some photos before things started. You can see they had a table of silent auction items, a table of raffle items, a table of food and a table of craft items. The shelter is lucky that they have a number of talented women who craft and raise money from those crafts to buy items for the shelter. The table of food was originally (thirteen years ago) there for people to enjoy, but later on it became a bake sale, but now with new management it was something you could have 'with a donation'. I am not sure how well that did but there was a strong fear that without food sales the income would drop significantly. Personally I liked it better when they gave the food away as I feel it builds goodwill with the community, but no one asked me - nor should they - but to me it just feels grabby when everything at the event is something you have to pay for. Although all that negative being said, it is nice that they do have so much interesting things to do and participate in. I have been to other shelters that had a 'shower' and it was simply a plea for donations. Staff wasn't even participating in anything and there was simply an area for you to drop your donation that was labeled shower.
The shelter also had a promotion to help try to empty the shelter of kitties, and were offering not only fee-waived adoptions for all adult cats but also a starter kit with food, litter, bowls, toys and a litter box. They had 31 adoptions over the weekend and sent quite a few kitties home with starter kits as I saw them walk by the room I was in, and I smiled every time I saw one.
|sidewalk chalk telling people where to go|
|Silent Auction tables|
|Raffle and craft items|
|raffle items. You buy tickets and put them in the bucket of the prize you want to win|
|I bought all three felted kitties on the right before the shower started|
|someone hollowed out beanie babies and filled them with nip|
|the mug covers were also a hit|
|with some people|
|This woman was so smitten with The Kraken she threatened to smuggle him out|
|this was a slower moment|
|Um, we didn't sign up for this|
Mina was very talkative and attention seeking throughout the entire event.
She didn't care about the other cats around her either.
|volunteers setting up kitty starter kits|
|donation drop off point.|