Volunteering Best Practices


The job of taking care of the Communal Cat Rooms consists of five daily tasks:

  1. Removing used litter boxes and replacing with fresh
  2. Swapping out old food and water bowls for fresh ones
  3. Wiping down and sanitizing hard surfaces, including stairs and catwalks in the larger rooms
  4. Sweeping and then mopping floors
  5. Arranging blankets, beds and rugs neatly in each room, and replacing when necessary

Other Helpful Practices:

Keep all external items – such as wash buckets, linens, cat brushes, or food – separate between rooms. This will help stem the possibility of any potential feline-related illness from spreading. (The same mop and broom, however, can be used across all cat rooms as it has a germ cleaner in it!)

Keep an eye out for any signs of illness within the cat rooms – such as blood in stool, urine or vomit, or any signs of illness in one of the cats themselves. The health and safety of the animals is of utmost concern to us at Lucy Mackenzie, and any issues you may identify should be brought immediately to the attention of one of our staff members. 

Please keep litter boxes, food stations, and larger structures where they are already positioned in the room.

Room linens are changed at least once per week, per room, in accordance with our “linen-changing schedule,” and the staff will let you know if the room you’re cleaning falls on one of those days. However, if you spot any dirty or soiled linens before their scheduled time to be changed, please remove and swap them out – the cats will surely thank you for it and be your friends forever more! 

Add any leftover food from the day before (that is significant) to the fresh, new bowls.

Clean outside of the litter box, as well as what’s inside, as sometimes our furry little friends like to think outside of the box! This can be done with a paper towel that should be disposed of along with the contents of the litter box.

Aim to fill water bowels around 80% full, as cats do not see the water level well and a fuller bowl helps them easier recognize the water.

Stepladder safety is something we are very mindful of here at Lucy Mackenzie, as we always want our volunteers to feel safe! If you are ever unsure about climbing a ladder, then please feel free to ask one of our Staff Members and they will be happy to assist you and do that task for you. Keep in mind that cats sometimes like to follow their human friends up ladders as well, so always be mindful if you are being followed!

Given the size of our cats rooms, and the amount of cats we typically have in them, we look to provide 5 – 7 toys for a small communal cat room, and 7 – 10 for a large communal cat room. We also like to make sure we have plenty of comfy and soft surfaces and beds for our feline residents. Please make sure there are at least as many in the room as there are cats PLUS one. 

Each room typically has a large, central rug as a non-slip area for scratching posts, large toys, and for the cats to stretch out on, of course. Please position the rugs centrally in the rooms so they don’t interfere with the door. Also, please use rugs (preferably with a tacky backing) and not blankets for this purpose.

When going in or out of one of our communal cat rooms, always be sure to watch the door fully close behind you. The doors to their rooms are quite heavy, and could potentially do them harm if they close on them.

Always look to keep cat beds covered with a light blanket as this will help keep them fresh longer. 

Finally, above all else, know that every moment you spend caring for, and being there for the animals in our shelter, is of immense benefit to them, and hopefully brings a great sense of fulfillment to yourself!

Thank you from all of us at Lucy Mackenzie – animals and humans, alike!

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