We offer volunteer opportunities in these areas:
Feeders, Trappers, Foster Parents, Grant Writers/Fundraisers
Colony feeders are needed throughout Marin for our numerous feral cat colonies. Whether you live in Sausalito, Dillon Beach, or points in-between, we are always in need of dedicated colony feeders. Marin’s feral cats often live behind apartment buildings, next to dumpsters and on hillsides. With our help, they are able to live like the typical outdoor domestic cat.
Volunteers humanely trap the cats. The ferals are then spayed and neutered, vaccinated, then ear-tipped for identification and released back to their colonies. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only proven way to keep populations under control while also allowing the cats to live free from starvation and disease.
Volunteers feed the colonies with food provided by Marin Friends of Ferals or the caretaker whom you’d be helping. They also monitor the cats for signs of illness so they can be re-trapped for veterinary attention, if necessary. Cats are fed once a day, generally in the morning or early afternoon. Feeding times are flexible but done preferably before dusk so the cats don’t have to compete with wildlife for their food.
Volunteers can feed just once a week or as many times a week as they prefer. Feeding generally takes no more than 10-15 minutes at any particular location. Volunteers can feed at one location or as many as they want. We feed rain or shine.
All volunteers are trained at each colony before taking over feeding duties. We cover how much food and water to leave, identify colony cats and go over any special instructions per colony.
Once a colony gets to know a feeder, they will often be waiting at mealtime for their caretaker to arrive. They come running at the sound of our cars and in some cases, feeders are able to pet, play with and generally develop bonds with their colony cats.back to Top
Trappers use traps supplied by Marin Friends of Ferals. Trapping is generally done around dusk but is sometimes done in the early morning, depending on the colony. Two varieties of humane traps are used: drop-traps and metal walk-in traps.
Trappers are shown how to use the 2 different traps and then accompanied in the field until comfortable being on their own. With the drop-trap, it’s usually necessary for 2 people to trap together, whereas metal walk-in traps can be used by one person.
Because the wooden-framed drop-trap is 3′ x 3′, those using this trap would need a vehicle such as a SUV or truck. Folding drop-traps are available for those who do not own larger vehicles. Metal walk-in traps can be transported in the backseat of a car.
Once a cat is trapped, the trapper brings it to the Marin Humane Society where a technician takes the cat for processing to be spayed or neutered. Trapping can take an hour or more but can often be accomplished within minutes, again depending on the colony and the cats.back to Top
FOSTER PARENTSMarin Friends of Ferals often rescues homeless and abandoned cats that have recently given birth. Feral kittens are generally adoptable if found before 3 months old. With socialization and human contact, kittens learn to trust humans and are no longer considered feral; they become domesticated, and therefore, adoptable.
MFF works in conjunction with the Marin Humane Society in fostering feral kittens. Volunteers meet briefly with the Foster Coordinator at the MHS to learn the basics of working with feral kittens. They provide all volunteers with anything necessary for fostering: food, special liquids, a bed, toys, litter and pan, weight scale, charts, and any medicines that might need to be administered.
Marin Friends of Ferals then works with the volunteer in demonstrating techniques for socializing feral kittens. Feral kittens aren’t like domestic kittens in that they have never been handled by humans and tend to be more shy. They may have come from a long lineage of ferals and need more stimulation and interaction than a kitten born inside a home. We teach you the methods that have worked for us in domesticating hundreds of kittens.
Foster parents need to have a separate room or small space where they can keep kittens from the rest of the family and other pets. We have large wire crates to loan foster parents if a room isn’t available.
The only requirements for becoming a foster parent is to have a love for cats, a safe home environment with an enclosed space for the cats, and some time each day to devote to playing with and socializing them. We can help you prepare the room or area in which they will be fostered and review any feeding requirements or special needs.
Once the kittens are comfortable being held and cuddled and are exposed to life in a home, they go up for adoption through the Marin Humane Society. Time involved fostering varies on the age of the cat but can be anywhere from 2 weeks to a month or more. Neonatal kittens require more experience and around the clock feedings but we can teach those willing to take on that responsibility. Support is always at hand, if needed.
Offering your home and heart to these kittens is often life-changing for them. It’s the difference between a life spent living in bushes in fear of humans or having a life with a loving family in a forever home.
Volunteering in any one of these 3 areas will help ensure Marin’s forgotten felines are no longer forgotten.back to Top
GRANT WRITER/FUNDRAISERSWe have a volunteer opportunity for an individual who has experience in grant writing to obtain funds for Marin Friends of Ferals. This would include, but not be limited to researching foundations or organizations who donate to feral cats in California. After obtaining the list of potential donors, applications need to be filed according to the foundation or organization’s guidelines. A google document listing the foundations or organizations contacted should be maintained as well as noting the address of the foundation or organization, the date of application, the amount applied for and the status of the application. Follow-up with the organization or foundation is essential.
This is a great opportunity for someone with writing skills, detail oriented and familiarity with grant writing or someone who wants to become involved in grant writing and learn about this essential need in the non-profit community.back to Top
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Questions? Please contact us!