Looking for a purr-fect friend?

Abbey Garlock

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Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter shelters each year. 3.4 million of them are cats. 1.4 million of those cats are euthanized – that’s almost 41 percent. Adopting an animal from a shelter does not only save a life, but saves you money, gives you more choice on the age of the animal, and you also help break the cycle of pet overpopulation.

There are many animal shelters located around the world. An example, would be a cat shelter named Ahimsa Haven. Ahimsa was incorporated in 1999 as a nonprofit animal rescue. Located on 202 Central Street in Winchendon.  It takes approximately 24 minutes to get there from our school. They are open Thursdays from 6-8pm and on Sundays 11am-1pm. Ahimsa Haven is a no kill shelter. As of now January 4, 2019 Ahimsa has 18 cats. Some of the cats are relocated to the PetSmart in Leominster and others are located at the Ahimsa shelter in Templeton.

According to the Ahimsa Haven website, kittens cost $125 each and for a pair $325. For a singular cat the cost would be $125. The shelter also has a campaign called “take a chance on me.” Which is a no fee foster to adopt program. The cats in this campaign are the cats that are overlooked do to their age, shyness, intimidation, or are simply in need of medical care. You can go on Ahimas website to see all the different cats for adoption at all three locations. The website is, “http://www.ahimsahaven.org/”

Volunteering at a shelter is important for many reasons. First, you help keep the shelter running.You help many animals find homes! Without volunteers there wouldn’t be any animal shelters leaving millions of animals without homes. Being an animal volunteer also helps with mental health. It is scientifically proven that being with animals lowers blood pressure and stress levels.

There are varieties of different ways you can volunteer at the shelter. The first way would be to clean and feed. Before you can start you have to go through two trainings where current volunteers show you what you do as a volunteer on the basis. You feed the cats, give them freshwater and clean out the litter box for each cat. People also socialize with the cats. This is one of the most important parts of volunteering because it helps them become more adoptable since they can trust people and other cats.  Some cats go into the shelter terrified of people. They don’t come out of their cage, hide etc. But as time passes the cat turns out to love people. Other ways of volunteering would be to care for the cats at PetSmart, cat fostering, open hours at the shelter, shelter cleaning, fundraising, operations, grant writing, thank you letters, public relations and finally, becoming a board member. If volunteering would take too much of your time you can always donate!


Animal shelters provide a space for animals of all ages that have been abandoned or abused. Adopting an animal from a shelter will change the world for the animal and you. If you can’t adopt, volunteering at a local animal rescue is a good alternative.