Laura Lithio is such a dedicated volunteer that even on her weekends off, she often comes to the shelter just to hang out with the house cats.
“I really enjoy building relationships with the animals in our care and gaining their trust,” Lithio said. “It is very rewarding when a shy, scared animal finally lets down their guard and decides to accept me and other volunteers as their friends.”
She’s also made some great human friends on the Wednesday 7-9 p.m. house cat shift, which has been working together for 6 years. The shift cleans and socializes with the cats, and gets along “fantastically,” she said.
Her fellow volunteer, Mona Hurt, has several “loving, sweet cats” adopted from WSHS, and Hurt enjoys “great people doing everything they can for the animals.
Matthew Michaels joined the shift in 2013, and every week finds a new cat to bond with. “I love those little guys [kittens],” he said. “I have two cats at home, Iroh, my 10-year-old orange and white fluffy male and Sienna, my 14-year-old black and brown tabby. I found both of them in my neighborhood in the fall of 2006.”
Lithio and Hurt share hobbies -- reading, gardening -- as well as their love of the house cats. Michaels prefers sci-fi and fantasy movies, comic books, coffee and craft beer. Despite their diverse interest the shift works together “fantastically,” they all said.
They also deal well with the unexpected. Michaels said once prior to his shift he found two cats in carriers abandoned on the shelter front porch. Another night, a pregnant cat came in and Lithio was told not to worry because the cat was going to the vet in the morning.
“Her name was Miranda,” Lithio said. “Miranda could not wait until morning and had her three kittens during my shift!”