Please tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Béibhinn Moore, I live in Kerry. I grew up with animals: dogs, sheep, cats and goats. I had never been a cat person, (we had just had feral cats we had fed growing up), until about 3.5 years ago a 6-week-old kitten wandered into my house and completely changed my perspective on cats.
How do you volunteer with KLAWS?
I do the cat rehoming side of KLAWS, so I reach out to people who have registered their interest or reached out to adopt cats or kittens and deal with the adoption process.
Why did you decide to become a volunteer with an animal rescue charity?
I had fostered two pups for CDAWG during a Christmas break from college and I remembered the wonderful feeling when the pups went to their forever home, to have been part of that journey. I decided to volunteer with KLAWS as I wanted to help. I think I applied for everything; as I had just learnt to drive, so had been keen to help with transport. I ended up doing the cat administration side.
What have you learnt from volunteering?
That there are a lot of good people out there; the KLAWS team, the vets, the many adopters who take in cats and kittens. That as many rescues that come in, there are a lot of people who are very kind and loving towards to animals. And willing to bring these animals in to be part of their family.
Is there anything about volunteering that you didn’t expect?
Probably the volume of animals that are in need of rehoming, I never really thought so much about it before. The work and organisation that comes with it as well.
We know that working with rescue animals can be challenging — it can be stressful and heartbreaking at times. How do you cope with difficulties?
Just have to keep going really and remember why you do what you do. That there'll be days, even weeks when there are no adoption applications and that can be challenging. Patience, I think, is the big one to have.
What have been the high and low points of your time as a volunteer? Maybe you have some standout stories to tell?
Some of the low points are when there's an influx of cats/kittens with no foster spaces, as none are being adopted out. Sometimes that can be overwhelming and hard. Or when a cat is in foster care for an especially long time and you've just gotta hope that the right home will eventually turn up.
We've a cat right now called Garfield who has been in foster care since the start of the year and has had minimum interest. That's disheartening because a lot of the time there seems to be no rhyme or reason why some cats get chosen for adoption and some don't.
The high points then are cats or kittens that have stood out to me who have been adopted. I always think of Jax and Billie Jean who were from separate litters but deeply in love with each other, before that I didn't realise cats could have such a strong connection. When they found a home together it was amazing! It would've been devastating to have had to split them up.
Gerri who was a small ginger lap cat until she got comfortable enough in her own shell to take over the house and begin climbing trees. It was such a nice progress to see.
Barney who was an elderly FELV positive cat, he got adopted straight away, I drove him to his new home and thought wow that's amazing. That people are willing to give him a chance to live comfortably and be loved for the rest of his life.
Davy, Goldie and Nugget came into us as a nuclear family: mom, dad and son. Davy and Goldie were very much in love, usually cat dads have a very bad rep but Davy pulled his weight and supported Goldie. Fortunately, they were adopted together, so could continue their relationship in a lovely new home. Nugget was adopted separately.
Those are probably the four most memorable cases for me, and the first kitten Nala.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about volunteering?
I think just go for it, if you have space and time to foster it's unbelievably rewarding. Time to add anything to rescues, to do whatever you can, even if you can't foster. There's plenty of other ways to help, to be part of the journeys of these animals going to their amazing homes and helping them along their way. I very rarely meet the cats that are adopted out and it's so nice to be on the sidelines to see them given a chance to be their own cat/kitten and time to explore their own personality, to feel safe. It’s incredible.