Wondering how to help animals? Every adopted pet is a life saved. But, in addition to adopting a pet, there are many other ways to contribute to the welfare of animals.
I was originally going to just go down a simple list of ways to help cats, both locally, and around the world, but I started writing and found myself with several pages of not-necessarily-cat-only ideas.
I've cut it down a bit, so here we are. I'm sure you have your own ideas as well, these are just some of mine. Of course, one of the most powerful things you can do is to adopt a cat and provide years of love and security. Here are some others...
1. Volunteer -- If you have the time and energy, volunteering is a great, hands on way to help cats and other animals. You can volunteer at a shelter or rescue group, or for one of the national or global organizations.
You can also volunteer in other ways, such as donating your time to a local animal hospital or vet's office.
Speaking is another option. Volunteer to speak at schools, and corporate and community events. Clubs, schools, and organizations are always looking for speakers.
Use this as a chance to educate adults and children on animals, and also meet new and influential people in your community.
2. Donate -- Got money but no time? Money helps people make things happen. Pick a shelter or organization and decide on how much and how often you want to give. Or, you can donate food and supplies.
Many shelters publish wish lists on their websites, showing what they most need at the time, or you can just call and ask. Some, like the OPKIT Kitty Sponsorship program, have Facebook groups you can join where you can donate to individual cats or donate monthly.
Speaking of donating, you can help animals in abusive homes by supporting the Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T) program.
3. Start a site or blog about animals -- You can start a website or a blog and spread the word to others on how to care for or help animals. You can focus on just a single animal species (I suggest cats!), or go broader if it makes sense.
I recommend starting a site using the same all-in-one hosting and marketing solution that I use for this site, Solo Build It!
Site or blog seem like too much work? Use Twitter or Facebook and spread the word about animal rights, or cat care, or whatever your passion is that way.
4. Become a pet sitter -- Many pet owners need someone to pet sit for them when they go away on vacation, or on business trips. Some elderly people or those with handicaps also need help taking care of their animals. You can earn extra money in the process, or turn it into a full-time business.
5. Foster -- Many shelters have foster programs. Pet fosters bring shelter animals into their homes and take care of them until they can find their forever homes. Generally, food and supplies are paid for by donations, and any medical care is taken care of by the shelter veterinarians.
Fostering can be a joy, since freeing up space at the shelter allows more animals to be taken in, and you get to be a pet parent for a time. But, it can be difficult, as some of the animals may have trouble adjusting to the changes in their lives during the fostering and adoption process.
You also will often have to be responsible for taking the animal to sites (such as pet stores) where they can be adopted out. This can take up a lot of time. Many foster pet parents end up adopting the pets they foster, since they become attached to them and don't want to let them go.
6. Work at a pet store -- Working at a pet store, you can earn money (which you can donate if that works for you), help pet owners find what they need for their pets, and educate them on the proper care of animals all at the same time.
One more thing you can do is make sure that your local cat shelter or rescue group lists with us.