Written by: Sarah Coleman – @fixyourfuckincats

My name is Sarah Coleman, better known by my Instagram name @fixyourfuckincats. I am a 23-year-old feline rescuer and advocate in Northwest Indiana.

I have been working with cats and kittens in shelters for a little over five years now, and I am currently the Kitten Foster Coordinator at a large, municipal, county shelter.

Many people see my rescue work on social media – whether it be my foster kittens, TNR efforts, or my job at the shelter and they often say something like “I wish I could do that!”

Well, guess what? YOU CAN!

Cats and kittens are always in need of help. Wherever you are or however you’re able to- you can and you should get involved!

Here are 5 easy ways you can help shelter cats right now:

1. Volunteer

Volunteers are the backbone of most shelters and it’s such a great, simple way to give back to your community, learn something new, and even get your foot in the door if you’re interested in a career with animals. Volunteers can offer a variety of services that go far beyond what you may think. Here are just a few ways volunteers can help shelter cats:

  • Hanging out and just spending time with some of the more shy, fearful cats to help them come out of their shell and learn to trust humans. Just taking that time to sit with these cats is something that is often overlooked but SO important and can even be detrimental to many cats’ success at a shelter.
  • Providing cats with enrichment, playtime, and clicker training to stimulate their minds and help them cope with the stress of being in a shelter!
  • Helping staff with daily cleaning/tasks to allow them more time to work with cats. We often get so backed up with our day-to-day responsibilities that we aren’t able to do as much for our cats as we should, so we could always use a hand if you’re down to roll up your sleeves and get to work!
  • Put your photography skills to good work by taking photos of adoptable cats to post on our social media! Most shelters are still closed to the public and doing adoptions by appointment only due to COVID. So now more than ever, we need high-quality photos that truly capture our cats’ personalities since those pictures are pretty much all our cats have to be seen by potential adopters!

If you have any other talents, skills, or hobbies that you think could benefit shelter cats, call your shelter and see how you can put them to use! You’d be surprised how many different ways there are to get involved.

2. Foster

Fostering a cat or kitten from a shelter is the probably one of the most hands-on ways to get involved and truly save a life. Despite what most people think, anyone can foster!

It doesn’t matter if you work full-time, have kids, or pets of your own. Fosters are needed for anything from bottle-feeding kittens to just providing a quiet space for a scared cat to decompress.

Most shelters will provide their foster parents with all the necessary supplies and training, and even cover all the medical costs. So all you really need to foster is an open home and an open heart!

3. Donate

Most shelters rely solely on donations to provide for the cats in their care.

Whether it be monetary or food/supplies, your generous donations help us better serve the cats in our community. Even just some old blankets, towels, or rags can go a long way with caring for cats!

Pro tip: Before donating, always make sure to check with your shelters to see what they are actually in need of!

This is important because a lot of shelters use specific brands of food/litter for their cats, or won’t use certain items that other shelters do. So to make sure your donations are serving the greatest good, it is always best to ask first!

4. Adopt

If you are in the market for a furry new addition to your family, please check your shelters!

Of course, there are always cats and kittens being given away for free online and while that may seem like an easier, more convenient option- it is usually quite the opposite.

Most “free” cats have never been seen by a vet, let alone vaccinated or fixed so you can pretty much guarantee spending at least $300+ right off the bat just for those things alone. Not to mention, the costs of any unknown medical or behavior issues that may arise later on.

On the other hand, when you adopt a cat from a shelter, you will pay a small adoption fee for a cat that is already spayed/neutered, fully vaccinated, micro-chipped, and has a clean bill of health.

Not to mention, whatever you do pay, will be well spent since it’s used to save more shelter cats! It’s a win-win!

5. Be Responsible

Last but not least, if you truly cannot do anything else to help shelter cats, there is one thing EVERYONE can and should always be doing, which is making an effort to be responsible, educated pet owners and community members.

Cat overpopulation is a crisis in our country and if we are ever going to solve this, we have to work together.

This means spaying and neutering your own cats, as well as any community cats you may be feeding, and doing your research and making efforts to educate and empower those around you to do the same.

If you love cats and want to be part of the solution, please reach out to your local shelters and rescues, ask questions, and find out what you can do to help because every single one of us is capable of doing something.

Even if your “something” is small, it can still make a huge difference in the lives of shelter cats, street cats, and all the cats that desperately need it.


Buy a shirt, fix a cat. All profits will be used for TNR (trap neuter return) efforts in my community.