Feline Like Volunteering?


By: Lily Elgart, Writer

Sometimes, it feels as though there are not enough people to help towards a cause you really care about. It’s easy to discount others for “not doing enough,” or not “doing their part.” While that is understandable, if there were a more inclusive system for helping others, perhaps these agendas could be met for causes each person is passionate about. Teamwork makes the dream work, doesn’t it?
There are approximately 16.8 million high school students in the United States, and of that number, only 121,460 actively participate in volunteering organizations according to Zippia.com, a website highlighting volunteering and career opportunities for students. That is about 0.007%. A discouraging amount, maybe to some, but that number could also be seen as an opportunity. High schools need to take more action in supporting students to engage in their community. Therefore, I am taking it upon myself as a news reporter for the Timberline Paw Print to examine Simply Cats, and encourage others to participate in bettering their community.
Around Timberline, students may have seen a poster advocating for Simply Cats, a volunteer organization that on their website claims they are “Boise’s Cageless, No-Kill, Feline Adoption Center.” And of course, none other than yours truly will investigate the facilities, to determine if Simply Cats is a reputable and worthy adoption center for our Wolves to frequent. Our students deserve only the best organization to support, and with this center only being 15 minutes from our campus, it is a great candidate.
Upon entry I noticed there are many rooms that have so much adequate space for the cats, they all seem comfortable with cat trees, toys, beds, and volunteers working with the cats. The person training me was Riley Yaklich, and they were incredibly passionate about the animals, they did not mind cleaning the litter boxes or doing meticulous tasks. After working in the back doing shelter care, Riley spent time with the cats and advised me to take all the time I wanted with the cats. From that alone, it was evident that this non-profit wants their felines to get as much love and attention as possible until they find a loving home.
No organization is perfect, however. One of the first things Riley mentioned to me about the organization’s struggles was overcrowding.
“We are at maximum capacity, and we’ve gotten to the point where we’re selling cats at discounts”
And while it is a great thing that these cats are finding homes, it is not providing Simply Cats with proper funding to maintain an outstanding facility.
I also spoke with Maddie Corey, the region fundraising coordinator for Simply Cats, who has been working with the non-profit since March of 2021. I was curious where the money went from the donations and adoptions, and Corey spoke about all the cats that needed procedures and dental surgeries saying, “they can cost anywhere between $500 to $1000 per cat, and it’s important so that they’re no longer in pain.” These volunteers care very much for the health and happiness of these animals, and it is essential that they are supported in their efforts. Corey also mentioned how she is responsible for writing the cat biographies that explain their personalities in the rooms that you visit the cats in. Staff members and enrichment volunteers can spend as long as they please, weaving in and out of rooms, or staying with one specific cat.
In order to take the organization to the next level, Corey expressed a need for more volunteers, and my findings couldn’t agree more. Yaklich also mentioned how they often worked alone in their department, and I wonder how much Simply Cats would flourish if students at Timberline committed themselves to a small two hour shift, just once a week. There are few requirements, as Corey said, “Any high school student can volunteer with us,” although anyone wanting to help under 16 years old must have a parent or guardian with them. She also mentioned how she has been volunteering at similar establishments since she was 16. With all of her experience in the field, I had to wonder about her favorite clients or incidents that she has been a part of.
The most heartwarming experience that Corey has had with an adopting family was in 2021, regarding a senior cat named Edith. They had not seen any applications for adoption for three months, so Corey decided to make a TikTok using a trending sound at the time, not expecting it to gain traction. It happened to have the exact opposite effect, however, and it reached over 100,000 views. Applications suddenly began flowing in for Edith from around the country, and a committed owner flew all the way from New York to Boise in order to provide the best care for the 14 year old feline. Their commitment to giving Edith a loving home in her later years is the kind of dedication that Simply Cats can thrive from, and this support could be given from students at Timberline, all they need is to channel their empathy for their cat counterparts.
If my investigations are correct, Simply Cats is absolutely one of the best adoption clinics I have ever witnessed, with a clean facility, adequate entertainment for the cats, and great opportunities to play with the felines in question while also providing a service to their community. It is Simply, a win-win. To my trained, investigative eye, it seems that if our students were to take a little time out of their week to spend time with these cats, or even supporting a cause they are passionate about, perhaps our community would be appreciative, and become better every day. Perhaps, even, we would begin to better ourselves.