As a former airline flight attendant, Katie Norvell had a work schedule that made owning a pet challenging.
So, like many of her coworkers, she decided to own a cat, which would require less attention than a dog.
After retiring to Sarasota, Norvell found a way to combine her love for cats with her newfound free time by volunteering at Cat Depot.
“When I came to Sarasota, everyone said that if I was a cat person, I needed to check out Cat Depot,” she says. “Between work and marriage, I never had time to volunteer, but since I retired, I did have time on my hands. There are so many wonderful organizations to choose from here, but I was in awe of the facilities here, and it was a perfect fit for me.”
Norvell began volunteering shortly after the facility celebrated its grand opening in January 2010. She was able to put her customer service experience to use in her position at the front desk, where she interacted with all the center’s visitors and potential adopters.
Since then, she says her biggest challenge has been saying no to volunteer opportunities — she takes any and all that come her way, and she joins an average of 200 volunteers each month who work to clean the facilities, feed the cats, enter data, work events and provide countless other services. Volunteer and Education Director Corey Roscoe says the organization relies on these volunteers to help keep overhead costs low to provide top-notch services for the cats.
“When volunteers come here and do a few hours of service, I think they feel really good about what they’ve done,” says Roscoe. “It’s a positive environment; it’s bright and colorful, not the doom and gloom of shelters in the past. There’s a lot of positivity and hope here for these cats, and being able to walk away feeling great that these cats will have the best care inspires them to want to keep coming back.”
For Norvell, the volunteer opportunity is especially fulfilling, and she says she would recommend it to anyone looking to give back to his or her community.
“I think it does so much for a person to be able to give and know it’s appreciated,” she says. “Everything I give to Cat Depot I get back 1,000 times. What a reward that is to give of your time and get something back.”
For more information about volunteering at Cat Depot, visit You'd Be Perfect For This.
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