A day in the life of a transport volunteer (aka our 'cat cabbie')

Carol holds a cat box outside a fosterers houseMeet Carol! She has been a Transport Volunteer for the North London Adoption Centre for over a year, regularly chauffeuring around our furry friends and helping out in lots of other ways too. It’s one of those roles that no one really thinks about, but Carol offers an invaluable service that mean the staff at the centre have more time to do other vital jobs. Thanks for sharing your day with us, Carol!

Start time today is 3pm. Carol arrives at the adoption centre to pick up the keys to our lovely cat cab and find out exactly what, and who, is on the list for this afternoon. Two cats need picking up from a fosterer’s house and brining back to the centre so their new owner can collect them tomorrow. After that, there’s a food and litter delivery for another fosterer who is currently looking after a mum and her four-week-old kittens. 
The first house call is 15 minutes up the road. We arrive to collect the two little passengers and have a quick chat with the fosterer about how they’ve been and if there’s anything to report back to the staff at the centre. Paperwork and pussycats are put safely in the back of the van and covered with blankets to keep them calm.

This doesn’t guarantee peace and quiet though! There are always a few cats who like to give you a running commentary throughout the journey. The floor of the van is lined with rubber so there’s no sliding around, even on a busy day when Carol has as many as eight cat boxes on board.
Two cats in baskets inside the cat van
Back at the centre the two cats are taken inside to the staff and the van is loaded up for the next trip out. Boxes of food and cat litter are put in the back of the van and we head out again with the prospect of meeting some tiny bundles of fluff.

The autumn evening has drawn in as we arrive with the supplies. Even though there are two flights of stairs to climb with the boxes and bags, you’ll hear no complaints from us as we get the chance to say hello to the gorgeous recipients of our delivery. In a quiet, cosy room is the beautiful tabby mum and her four adorable kittens all wobbling about exploring their surroundings. There’s time for a quick cuddle and a lot of ‘ahhh-ing’ before heading back to the centre before it closes. With the traffic on our side we arrive just before 6pm, park up the cat cab outside and drop off the keys. Next week there’ll be another trip with another party of whiskery, possibly vocal, passengers.
The back of the cat van reads Make your house a home

Today’s itinerary was a change from the usual, as Carol normally does the weekly vet trip for us. Every week cats and kittens need to be taken from the centre to the vets and back again after their check-up or treatment. Carol explains: “They’re usually in the pens at the vets, so I take them out and put them back in their boxes. Sometimes there are ones who are feeling a little sleepy after an anesthetic if they’ve been neutered or had dental work. I drive them back to the adoption centre and put them back in their pens. But I always make time for a cuddle and fuss before I go.”

What’s the best bit of being a Transport Volunteer? Carol says: “Apart from feeling that you’re making a difference and enjoying ‘cat time’, people let you out in traffic much more in the cat van!”
We always love to hear from people who’d like to volunteer. So if you’d like to make a difference or if you fancy driving the cat van, please email our Volunteer Team Leader, Jess Wager at northlondon.volunteer@cats.org.uk.