It Takes a Village: Donating to a Shelter

cat relax


Visiting your local animal shelter to adopt a new cat is a very joyful experience, but for many animal lovers, it can be difficult to not to leave with every pet you see. While you can’t bring every kitten home with you, you can bring the comforts of home to them! Most, if not all, animal shelters and humane societies rely on monetary, material, and time donations to keep day-to-day operations running smoothly. Before you run out to get a cart full of goodies there are a few things to keep in mind. Many shelters have rules or strong preferences about what can or cannot be accepted as a donation. You can avoid having donations refused by calling ahead or checking the shelter’s website to view their wish list. If your local shelter has set up an Amazon Wish List, you don’t even need to leave your home to donate their most needed items.


For many shelters, food tops the donation wish list. Canned cat food, dry cat food, kitten food, and kitten formula are all welcome donations. Some shelters ask that only certain brands of food be donated. Though it may sound strange that they may refuse a food donation, sudden changes in diet can cause digestive troubles for cats. It’s also important to keep in mind that shelters are unable to accept food donations that are open or expired. If you’d like to donate an unopened bag of food that isn’t a brand your local shelter accepts, they may have a rescue partner or a family in-need program that will accept it.


Bring the comforts of a loving home to the shelter with goodies to keep cats comfortable and happy. Shelters love donations of blankets, towels, scratching posts and cardboard scratching boards, cat beds, carriers, catnip, and cat toys. Your donated items should be clean and in good condition. Though shelter staff members and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure the comfort and happiness of all the animals, some cats may not adjust as well as others. Having a soft, cozy space and a fun toy can do wonders to cheer up shelter animals. As always, please check with the shelter to see what items they need the most.


Beyond traditional volunteering and donations, you can donate your services to the shelter. Love taking photos or creating videos? Perhaps your local shelter or humane society would be interested in having you take portraits or videos of pets to be featured on their website. Are you a natural-born rallier? Use your skills of persuasion to help your shelter raise funds. There’s no end to the joy and usefulness that your natural skills can bring with a little creativity.


A huge part of keeping animals happy is keeping them clean and well-groomed. Shelters can always use unscented clumping and non-clumping cat litter, litter boxes, metal flea combs, and grooming supplies like electric clippers. Of course, needs vary from shelter to shelter so please check your local shelter’s wish list. You can help your fluffy friends stay picture perfect and ready for adoption day.

There are so many ways to contribute to the happiness and comfort of shelter animals: from food and photography services to grooming supplies and kitty litter. Even if you don’t have spare cash to donate material goods, shelters and humane societies are always looking for dedicated animal lovers that can spare some time. Without your love, donations, and volunteering shelters would have a difficult time caring for all of the animals that walk through their doors. It really does take a village.




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