In an upstairs room of the cat shelter where I volunteer there used to be an adult cat named Hans.  He loved to sit in my lap and nibble on my shirt right over my stomach.  Then one day, staff coming through the room saw this and said, “Oh that’s adorable; he’s nursing!”  Suddenly I wasn't sure I wanted people to see this.  

If all goes according to plan, this shelter might be torn down a year from now.  The organization is building a new facility north of here to replace the current one which must’ve originally been a private home built around 1930.  

People want to give their cats to the shelter for various reasons.  One winter, a young man brought his cat to the front door but was told that the shelter was full (over 100 available for adoption, dozens in clinical care) and it lacked the resources to take on more.  The man threw his cat across the threshold and left.  That grey tabby was kept and was scared of all humans (go figure) until he finally got a good home.

It looks like short-term handiwork has held the house together for decades, and there must be ten layers of paint smoothing out the contours on what would be some interesting carving on the woodwork framing the rooms.

You do get to meet a variety of customers here.  A middle-aged lady came to the door on a Saturday morning and said she was going to adopt Butternut the kitten.  Staff told her that the shelter would open for business at noon, please come back in a couple hours.  She got angry, cussed out the staff, and stomped out of the building and down the stairs to the sidewalk.  The shelter’s child volunteers were out front selling cookies to raise money and the lady’s parting shot to them was “...and your cookies are crap!”

The house is not ideal; it’s been expanded and compromised to serve its current purpose.  I’m going to miss it anyway because I know its rooms so well as a comfortable spot to sit with a cat and dispense imaginary milk.