Information for New Volunteers

Welcome, and thank you for interest in volunteering your time at Seattle Area Feline Rescue!  We could not function without our volunteers! Below is what you need to know for your first day, and an introduction to our policies.

If you are interested in a volunteer position, and meet the Volunteer Capabilities, please fill out our volunteer interest form. You will then receive an invitation to our next Volunteer Information Session.

To be prepared for your first day, begin by reading the overview, then follow the links for the complete Volunteer Handbook, near the bottom of this page.

Once you read the general information and detailed volunteer handbook, please email if you have any additional or specific questions


Parking: If you do not own a car, there are several bus lines that run up and down Aurora. If you do drive to the rescue, please park in the back of the building so that the spaces in the front can be used by customers. Please enter through our back door on the loading dock.

What to wear: Because we work with a lot of cat-related debris and bleach it is best not to wear clothes you are overly fond of because they may get ruined. In addition to this, kitties have sharp toenails, so it’s important to wear shirts and pants that are not easily torn. Please wear pants that adequately cover your legs, as well as closed-toed shoes. Also, while we appreciate your freedom of self- expression, cat toenails can also damage body art, so take precautions to protect yourself in these areas and/or let us know if you prefer to do jobs that do not involve working directly with cats.

A simple request:  This is a volunteer position, so we understand that you are giving your free time willingly and we strive to maintain a professional work environment for everyone. Our expectation is that you treat this position as you would treat any job. Be on time, be respectful, follow the rules for keeping kitties safe, and treat this as the professional environment it is.

Scheduling volunteer time: This professional work environment includes using our online scheduler. After attending an Orientation, you will be scheduled for your training shift.  Please see the Volunteer Attendance Policy for further details on recurring shifts.

Rules for “SAFe” Kitties

We strive to get as many cats into permanent homes, as fast as possible. We need to keep them healthy and adoptable.

Before doing anything we need to remember to ask ourselves:

  • Will this be safe for the kitty’s health? Not following rules could make kitties sick, dead, or delay adoptability.
  • Will this help the kitty get adopted? Touching kitties does not help them get adopted and can be dangerous or over-stimulating for them. You can ask to learn about training into the cat behavior shifts if you wish to interact with kitties. 

Please review the 5 Rules for SAFe Kitties. The below is a shortened version.

  • Sanitize often. If you didn’t clean it, it is dirty. Your hands are dirty every time you touch a kitty or their used things.
  • Don’t touch a kitty, or their stuff if you don’t have to, or it isn’t part of your assignment. Don’t wake sleeping kittens!
  • Be mindful and try to use less and reserve resources.
  • If you notice a health issue, tell Amy or Maria, and other staff if they aren’t available.
  • CAT CARE and anyone in an enclosure- always check and mark the kitties’ charts properly.

Sanitation is key.  You must repeatedly sanitize your hands by washing them with soap and water. This must be done in between handling cats or else we risk transmitting an infection from cage-to-cage. Expect to wash your hands often. It is absolutely necessary to prevent transmission of disease.

A quick word on safety: please be gentle and cautious when you work with any of the creatures in the rescue. All animals are equipped with defense mechanisms and if they feel threatened, they will use them. Watch for teeth and claws and always use your best judgment.

Where to Find the Cats

At Seattle Area Feline Rescue, cats are located in one of four areas: Kitten adoption area, Cat adoption area, Isolation room and Quarantine room.

Only those that have a specific need/task should be in ISO, quarantine, or behind gates in the front areas by kittens and cats.

  • The kitten area is located on the east side of the main room, we keep adult cats and kittens separate because kittens don’t have developed immune systems, and can be in danger of contracting illnesses from adult cats.
  • The adult cat area is located on the west side of the main room. The enclosures are the same as those in the Kitten Area.
  • The isolation room is where cats that may be infected with various illnesses are kept. This room is meant to keep them not only isolated from the main population, but to be a quiet place where they can recover from whatever they are sick from. Only ISO trained individuals may enter this room.
  • Cats that are new to the Rescue or sick, and are not yet available for adoption, will be kept in the quarantine room. This is where they stay while they are being made ready for adoption.

Basic Guidelines

When you volunteer at Seattle Area Feline Rescue, we encourage you to take initiative: see what needs to be done and get it done, but always feel free to ask questions if you’re not sure about the correct procedure.

What to do when you aren’t busy or are wondering what to do:

  • Check the general cleaning list and board by the washer and dryer to see what needs to be done.
  • Wash and put away the dishes, clean sinks, and look around for anything that could use cleaning.
  • Refill all the spray bottles, hand soap, and paper towels. Empty all of the garbage cans. Take out the garbage and recycling.
  • Once you are trained for it, wash and sterilize crates or syringes.
  • Check to see if a staff member on duty needs an errand or a specific task done.

Remember to put your volunteer t-shirt into the dirty laundry bag when you are done with your shift.

Again, we’d like to thank you for all that you do for these special creatures!

Volunteer Handbook

Please review the complete Volunteer Handbook here:

Table of Contents (Click on any of the below to go directly to that portion of the handbook.)

Thank you for being a Catvocate!

Please email the Volunteer Manager at with any questions or comments.

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