Working with Cats | PAWS Chicago

Working with Cats

Care for & enrich homeless cats and work with potential adopters.

 

Working with Cats

Cat volunteer opportunities including caring for the cats at our Medical Center and in Kitty City at our Adoption Centers, as well as helping potential adopters find the right match.

Volunteers play an instrumental role in our mission of building a No Kill community by saving the lives of cats and kittens in need of loving homes.


Volunteer Opportunities

Overview

Looking to give back to our feline friends? Kitty City is the place for you! As a Kitty City Level 1 Volunteer, you will work hands-on with the homeless cats and kittens in our Adoption Centers.

You will help with:

  • Caring for the cats: Socialize and play with our homeless Kitty City residents, ensure cats in group rooms are getting along, brush, feed and clean up as needed
  • Greeting visitors: Provide a welcoming, friendly, educational environment; help with adoption logistics, answer basic adoption questions, and talk about the animals and PAWS Chicago.
  • Matchmaking: Support adoptions by listening to the needs of prospective adopters and introducing them to potential new feline family members.
  • Keeping Kitty City clean: Pick up after our cats and keep their homes clean with fresh bedding and toys.

Helpful Skills

Whether you're an experienced kitty expert or a curious first-timer, homeless cats need you. Our talented team of volunteers and staff will teach you everything you need to know.

There are no requirements, but the following skills are helpful:

  • Customer service experience 
  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge of cat behavior 
  • Experience handling cats 

Location and Hours

Volunteers are needed 365 days a year.

Lincoln Park Adoption Center
1997 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Weekdays: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Weekends: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

North Shore Adoption Center
1616 Deerfield Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
Weekdays: 11am-7pm
Weekends: 11am-6pm

Medical Center
3516 W. 26th St.
Chicago, IL 60623
Every day: 8 a.m. to 6p.m.

Training

  • New Volunteer Orientation
  • Kitty City Level 1 Training (immediately follows orientation)
  • Shadow a Mentor during your first two volunteer shifts

Advanced Volunteer Opportunities

  • Kitty City Level 2 Volunteer 
  • Cat Adoption Counselor

Overview

Ready for more leadership and deeper involvement in helping felines? Kitty City Level 2 is the next step for you!

As a Kitty City Level 2 Volunteer, in addition to everything you did as a Level 1 Volunteer, you will also help:

  • Provide overall leadership to Kitty City
  • Teach or support Kitty City Level 1 training
  • Work with our undersocialized, independent and selective Level 2 felines
  • Learn about the appropriate home environment for Level 2 kitties, facilitate their adoption process, help match them with more experienced families and work with adoptive families to ensure lifelong success

Helpful Skills

As you progress in volunteer leadership, the following skills are very helpful. If you'd like to further develop in any area, let us know, and we'll guide you to the right training program or pair you with a mentor.

  • Leadership skills
  • Knowledge of cat behavior
  • Experience handling cats
  • Customer service experience
  • Communication skills

Location and Hours

Volunteers are needed 365 days a year.

Lincoln Park Adoption Center
1997 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Weekdays: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Weekends: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

North Shore Adoption Center
1616 Deerfield Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
Weekdays: 11am-7pm
Weekends: 11am-6pm

Medical Center
3516 W. 26th St.
Chicago, IL 60623
Every day: 8 a.m. to 6p.m.

Training

  • Kitty City Level 2 Training

Advanced Opportunities

  • Mentor
  • New Volunteer Trainer
  • Cat Adoption Counselor

Overview

Our Medical Center is the first stop for all animals coming to PAWS Chicago. Some require just a couple days before being cleared for adoption. But others need extensive medical care, surgery, isolation or fostering before being ready to move to one of our Adoption Centers or adoption events. 

As a Medical Center Volunteer, your work may include:

  • Providing sick and injured animals with much-needed socialization
  • Supporting our veterinary teams during exams and while administering medicine or hand-feeding 
  • Assisting the animal care team with cleaning isolation suites
  • Helping our foster team recruit and place pets into foster homes

Helpful Skills

Our Medical Center is a fast-paced, hospital environment. Volunteers must:

  • Be able to follow precise directions
  • Be comfortable in a medical environment with sick animals
  • Have experience with animals (which can be learned at our Adoption Centers)

Helpful Skills include:

  • An understanding of disease
  • Veterinary or medical experience

Location and Hours

Volunteers are needed 365 days a year to help with care for our sick and injured pets.

Medical Center
3516 W. 26th St.
Chicago, IL 60623
Every day: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Training

  • Medical Center Orientation
  • Shadow training

Advanced Volunteer Opportunities

  •  Veterinary Support Volunteer

 

 

 

Overview

Do you have medical training you want to put to good use? Our shelter medicine veterinarians and veterinary technicians would love your help! 

You can gain valuable experience in the growing veterinary specialty of shelter medicine while helping save lives. By becoming a Veterinary Support Volunteer, you will help treat and socialize our more critical animals and support our veterinary teams in day-to-day and advanced treatment.

Our Veterinary Support Volunteers start by shadowing our veterinary teams on their rounds, learning about PAWS Chicago’s shelter medicine program first-hand. 

Depending on your level of experience, our team will train you to:

  • Medicate, feed and care for the pets at our Medical Center
  • Support our veterinarians with taking notes, procuring supplies and handling animals
  • Help with surgical prep, surgical support, treatment and medication administration of our more critical animals

In addition, volunteer veterinarians are welcome to assist with surgery, medical checks and a variety of other veterinary needs.

Helpful Skills

Requirements

Our Medical Center is a fast-paced, hospital environment. Volunteers must:

  • Have medical training or experience (human or veterinary) 
  • Be able to understand and follow precise instruction
  • Be comfortable in a medical environment with sick animals
  • Be comfortable handling animals (which can be learned at our Adoption Centers)
  • Be able to work cooperatively in a team environment
  • Be reliable

Helpful skills

  • Have an understanding of disease

 

 

 

Location & Hours

Our veterinary team is on site 365 days a year to care for and treat our sick and injured pets.

Medical Center
3516 W. 26th St.
Chicago, IL 60623
Every day: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Training

  • Medical Center Orientation
  • Shadow training

Overview

Every homeless pet that walks out our doors with a new family is indebted to our Adoption Counselors, who are key to adoption success!

As an Adoption Counselor, you are part of a family milestone that has a huge positive impact on an animal.

By developing an understanding of an adopter’s experience with pets, home environment and family structure, you will ensure that the new family has the information and home environment that will lead to long-term success with the pet they have selected.

Helpful Skills

  • Great people skills
  • Customer service experience
  • Good listening & communication skills
  • Objectivity
  • Knowledge of cat behavior 

Location and Hours

Help our adopters make an easy transition to life with their new cat.

Lincoln Park Adoption Center 1997 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Weekdays: 12pm-8pm
Weekends: 11am-7pm

North Shore Adoption Center 1616 Deerfield Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
Weekdays: 11am-7pm
Weekends: 11am-6pm

Off-Site Adoption Events
Various locations and times

Training

  • New Volunteer Orientation
  • Kitty City Level 1 Training (immediately follows orientation)
  • Adoption Counseling Training and Shadowing

Advanced Volunteer Opportunities

  • Kitty City Level 2 Volunteer

Overview

To be a legal Outdoor Cat Colony Caretaker specializing in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), you must be registered with a sponsoring organization like PAWS Chicago, who will report your colony statistics to Cook County annually.

Your responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating and transporting the cats in your colony for spay/neuter, vaccinations and microchipping
  • Providing food and shelter
  • Monitoring their health and well-being
  • Reporting the status of your colony to PAWS Chicago annually,

Helpful Skills

  • Experience handling cats
  • Compassion for the feral/community cats in your neighborhood
  • Customer service skills for actively working with neighborhood residents as an advocate for your feral/community cats

Location and Hours

As a Caretaker, you will be working in the field in Chicago’s neighborhoods, depending on where your colony is. Hours and locations depend on your colony’s needs.

Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic
3516 W. 26th St.
Chicago, IL 60623

Training

PAWS Chicago offers one-time seminars on TNR in your neighborhood, as well as ongoing support.

Advanced Volunteer Opportunities

Experienced Outdoor Cat Colony Caretakers can become active advocates for cats in surrounding neighborhoods by educating residents about the importance and benefits of TNR. They can also support community members interested in TNR.

Volunteer Training & Mentorship