In the midst of one of my standard monthly depression spells I read online that you can become happier by volunteering so I halfheartedly researched my options and decided on a kitten rescue because I have a fear of intimacy and cats treat you like shit.
After a trendy Hollywood 12-step meeting one afternoon I drove to the cat sanctuary in Atwater Village to attend their required orientation, which would thereafter permit me to tell people, “I’ve been donating my time to rescuing animals amongst other charitable actions…by the way where are you summering?” when they ask what’s new with me. I hate when people ask what’s new with me. What are they expecting to hear? I’m not going to play this game where we one up each other; I would rather just say nothing and be self-effacing… until now when I can pretend I’m suddenly a virtuous person and saving lives 🙂
I pulled up to the not so glamorous Kitten Rescue Shack, a sort of ‘Kitten Projects’ if you will, to meet a small group of women with good hearts and a pension for the Old Navy Summer Sale sitting around in a circle on white plastic chairs. I joined the group by sitting on the cracked cemented floor because there were no other chairs and listened to a bunch of useless facts about their foster house that would definitely never help me with anything in the future, kind of like learning Latin for the SAT’s. Apparently there were over 10,000 volunteers but I had a feeling no one ever came back there after we were given a tour of this most likely disease infested kitten trap house. This sanctuary was so bad it needed a sanctuary for the sanctuary.
I asked about what if any diseases can these feral cats transmit to my beautiful body and the volunteer leader played down Ringworm like it was nothing. She made ringworm seem like someone who had Herpes but has been on Valtrex for years with no breakouts lately and fucking without condom was a go. My soon to be exposed in the summer time skin isn’t going to be tainted with fungal infections, it’s hard enough to fight them off in West Hollywood as it is and I don’t have health insurance right now.
It was time for the tour of their facility; an introduction into a disturbing episode of Hoarders where cats ruled the property in some weird post apocalyptic animal kingdom and its volunteers were disease-prone human captives refilling their kitty litter with Chicken Feed (no joke that’s what they used). It was basically a rendition of Grey Gardens starring Cats and I was watching the movie with the filmmaker and couldn’t figure out how to politely leave with a sense of urgency without being offensive.
The air was belligerent. I straight up held my breath and almost passed out from suffocation without a hot guy in sight to make it excusable. I legit could’ve gotten sick by just standing still from an airborne disease. It was the definition of filth. The lady leading the orientation told us that if we saw a blanket that was covered in cat vomit or shit to “just turn it over.” Not to replace it. Not to wash it. To turn it over. Is that regulatory? Aren’t we supposed to be saving them not keeping them covered in their own shit? It felt like drug-addicted parents who didn’t change their babies’ diapers. If this was a Restaurant Rating System they’d be like, “we actually don’t have any Z printed, we’d have to order it.”
Hissing cats turned their heads as we walked by revealing a Cyclops, which held a menacing gaze that said, “don’t come around here no more.” You got it. It was like I fucked a girl’s boyfriend and all her friends stared me down a party to let me know they know but just get the fuck out of here or they’re going to kick the shit out of me. A cat that literally looked 1000 years old just sat there expressionless. I think it was the first cat in the entire world. It was the cat Sassy from Disney’s Homeward Bound who just never found his way home and now he’s in this dirty shelter in Atwater Village and my childhood is ruined. Some cat’s fur was just way too fucking long.
I didn’t know how to help these cats or this place. I had to just get the fuck out of there, it was too much. I lied and pretended I had to leave early and just bolted. I got a burrito at a nearby Mexican place and just sat there staring into space like I had seen some shit. A waiter came over and asked if I was ok. “Huh? What? No, I’m not… I need more pico de gallo.” How do I become a good person? I know someone reading this is thinking, “Get in there! Make a difference!” But that was just way beyond a project I was up for. I was there to brush and cuddle kittens, not save the fucking world and die in the process. I’m down to volunteer but I’m not in it the same way other girls are that’s fine with me. Those girls can take on stuff like this, Instagram photos of them making pies and running marathons. If you need the info on where it is let me know.