Countdown to Global Days of Service: Gifford Cat Shelter

Are you a cat-lover? Do you want to spend your day watching cats do their cat things? The Gifford Cat Shelter, located at the end of the B-line, is the first cage-less, no-kill shelter in the United States and was founded in 1884. Back in the day, the shelter cared for goats, bulls, dogs, and cats. As Brighton changed over the years, so did the shelter, and eventually it came to be that shelter solely housed cats. Did you read that right? There is a building full of cats right here in Boston.

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More than 75% of the shelter’s cats have been rescued from homelessness, hoarders, or abandonment. At Gifford, the cats are able to roam freely within the facility and able to play, exercise, and socialize with other cats. The cat housing spaces are bright, open environments with room for the felines to partake in feline activities. When it’s nice out, the cats are allowed to go out to the outdoor enclosure, which gives the cats a safe space to get fresh air, run, play and roll in the grass.


So how can you help as a volunteer? Gifford divides their volunteer opportunities into four different categories. The opportunities vary from being part of the cleaning crew, where you can clean bowls, scoop litter boxes, sweep, and do laundry, to socializing and enriching the cats where make sure that the cats stay friendly and wonderful just by playing with them. There is also more hands-on work where the shelter needs volunteers to do some light painting as well as minor repairs. Volunteers are important to the shelter because with our help, the amazing people who make Gifford what it is can focus on the quality of life for the cats and don’t have to sweat the small stuff.


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–Miles Avila (CAS ’15)