The generous and compassionate cat and colony caregivers who participate in Operation Catnip’s clinics are vital to the success of our mission. They care for the cats, trap the cats, transport them to our clinics, and return them safely to their colonies after surgery. Month after month, they donate their time and their money to save and improve the lives of community cats.
An Ongoing Labor of Love
Caregiver support for our growing volunteer base is an ongoing labor of love. This includes:
- Providing resources to help caregivers care for the cats properly
- Offering spay-neuter referrals when Operation Catnip isn’t the right fit
- Explaining how to safely and humanely trap and transport the cats
- Connecting caregivers who are physically unable to trap or transport their cats with volunteer trappers willing to help
- Ensuring that caregivers understand clinic guidelines from check-in and check-out to post-clinic recovery instructions
- Providing a copy of the medical record for each cat when it is discharged from a Spay Day clinic
The caregiver’s copy of the medical record is an official rabies certificate, and it lists the medical condition of each cat and the procedures performed during the clinic. It also provides a tangible record of service that helps our caregivers provide follow-up care based on outcomes at the clinic and wellness based on the healthcare foundation we set.
What’s in a Name?
It’s no surprise to us that many of our cat-loving caregivers name the cats in their care. The medical record identifies the gender of each cat, and in some cases, gives our caregivers a second chance to appropriately rename “Bob” who it turns out should have been named Roberta.
Let’s not forget our volunteer trappers who play such a vital role in supporting our caregiver community. In most cases, volunteer trappers either are, or have been community cat caregivers themselves, and have trapping experience. They receive the same orientation that caregivers receive, but take it to the next level by trapping and transporting cats for caregivers that cannot do it themselves, or trapping colonies in assigned areas where there is not a dedicated caregiver.
Building Caregiver Community
Besides being available to our caregivers by phone, we do our best to strengthen our connection to caregivers and build community though social media. Our Operation Catnip of Gainesville Facebook page has over 6,000 followers, and we use our social media presence to share stories and other news important to our community of cat lovers, to ask for help when we need it, and to announce scheduled clinic dates and other important dates. We also stay connected with our caregivers though email.