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5 Ways You Can Help Shelter Cats for the Holidays

Your cats at home get plenty of love and gifts for the holidays, shelter kitties should too!

Dorian Wagner  |  Dec 17th 2014


You probably already have a gift picked out for each of your fur babies. Your cats will get new catnip mousies they already have plenty of, treats they already eat by the pile, and plush beds they are used to snuggling up in -ÔÇô and they absolutely deserve all of this.

But what about the cats that aren’t so lucky during the holidays? The ones who don’t have families to spoil them and mommies and daddies to give them love and presents? They are just as special, and even the littlest thing can go a long way to make them merry as well.

Here are a few ways you can help shelter kitties this season:

1. Bring them presents

Choose your favorite rescue or the nearest shelter, and go play Santa for a day. Load up a sack of goodies and make some homeless kitties smile.

Cats in shelters typically spend most, if not all, of their time alone in steel cages. They have the basics -ÔÇô a litter box, food, and newspaper or a towel to lie on ÔÇô- but can you imagine how boring that is all day? These cats would love toys for Christmas. Even just a few crinkle balls or a couple of catnip mice can make a difference for these kitties waiting to find their forever homes.

You could even play Santa for more than just the kitties. These places often need donations for things as simple as towels, paper towels, and bleach. It takes a lot to keep the cages clean and the cats and kittens fed, and the shelter works always appreciate supply donations, so throw a couple of household extras in your Santa sack, too.

2. Donate just by doing your regular holiday shopping

You know you will do some last-minute Christmas shopping on the likes of Amazon.com (the Prime shipping comes in handy for us right now, doesn’t it?), so why not make your shopping into a bit of a good deed?

Did you know that when you shop on smile.amazon.com, the company donates 5 percent of your purchase to the charity of your choice? It is exactly the same site as regular Amazon, and you log in with exactly your same account, but the company gives money to charity when you shop there.

You can select from many nonprofit groups, and if you don’t have a favorite, pick any local one. Then when you shop for anything all year long, you can feel even better about it. Plus, it gives us a good reason to shop.

3. Donate to Santa Paws Drive

Santa Paws Drive is an annual campaign to help shelter animals all over the world. It’s all online, so you can help from wherever you are and right from home.

This is the drive’s sixth year, and in the past five years, more than $55,000 in toys, treats and donations has been raised from 28 shelters all over the world. Each year several organizations are chosen, and those who want to help can go to SantaPawsDrive.com, choose what they want to donate, and purchase it right through the site.

This year, Santa Paws Drive is focused on giving shelter cats the best gift — a forever home. The two beneficiary organizations, Good Karma Pet Rescue and Cute Transport Network, work together to rescue cats and kittens from kill shelters in the South and "shuffle" them to rescues in the North where they get adopted very quickly. In the past two years, these efforts have saved more than 350 cats.

The goal of Santa Paws Drive this year is to help them save 100 more.

[Full disclaimer: Santa Paws Drive is my baby. I founded it and work together with a group of wonderful people to make it happen every year. I hope you’ll support.]

4. Visit a shelter and give the gift of love

Shelters are often short on volunteers, and people who work there are often very busy simply just with day-to-day tasks. The cats are cared for, but there just isn’t enough time for them to sit and play, pet, and love on each cat for very long at all ÔÇô- but you can do that.

You might need to call ahead to let shelter staff members know you’d like to come by, but they are always happy for volunteers and visitors. Go for an hour or two and take a few minutes with each kitty, telling him he’s loved, petting his head, sitting with him if you’re allowed, and just giving attention that such cats rarely get but so much deserve.

Not only do the cats love the attention, but happy cats are more adoptable cats, so by paying them a little visit, you may very well be helping them get their forever home later.

5. Adopt a new family member

If there’s room under your tree and in your home and heart for another fur baby, why not adopt one now during the holidays? Can you think of a more wonderful way to help a shelter cat?

Look on Petfinder, visit the shelter, check with your local rescue ÔÇô- your perfect new family member is wishing and waiting for you. Why not make his dream come true?

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