Cat Time

Cat Time

At the Sugar Land Animal shelter for the past two years Devon Ramono has volunteered at least two days of every month from at least 12 am to 2pm taking care of animals until they’re adopted. Ramano is a 16 year old sophomore born on October 2, 1997. From a young age she had already gained responsibilities such as taking care of her personal pet snake, Jongwa. Though she may have a snake, Ramono prefers cats. Unfortunately, both of her parents are allergic to cats so having one of her own has not been possible. To replace that void, Devon fills it in a way that she can get her cat time while also, though it may not be her own, giving them a home.

At Sugar Land Animal Shelter, there are dogs, cats, chinchillas, and the occasional possum. These animals are taken care of by children, teens and adult alike. These people provide the animals with toys, meals, exercise, baths, treats and most importantly; a play mate. And though that’s not the only job Ramono does, it is the one she specializes in.

“I usually deal with cats,” Ramono said. “So I play with them, pet them and brush them — their fur gets so clotted.  And sometimes I’d give them treats — [but] not the fat ones, they don’t get treats. A couple of times I’ve walked dogs. One time I had to names kittens; really, really small kittens, like their eyes weren’t open, and one time I had to bathe the dog.”

Everything Ramono does, she does because the workers know she can handle it.

“They had a  possum,” Ramono recalls, “but we’re not allowed to handle them because they have rabies and they want to make sure any of the volunteers don’t […] get scratched by a  cat or something, [so] they want the volunteer[s] to go sign a paper [to prevent lawsuits]. So they’re all very, very particular about that.”

But how did Ramono find this place so right for her?  Trial and error.

Carlos was adopted very quickly. He was a total "lap cat". He was very affectionate.
Carlos was adopted very quickly. He was a total “lap cat”. He was very affectionate.

“I liked animals and I wanted to get volunteer hours,” Ramono said. “My mom kind of researched a few places and at first it was the Houston Humane Society and they never got back with us. And this other place, I don’t remember what they were called; they never got back with us. We finally found this place and they sent us an email right away and I went to the orientation and I had to get tetanus shots and that really hurt.”

Since finding Sugar Land Animal Shelter Ramono has earned a lot of memorable experiences, but not all of them were great.

“Some of the dogs are really big dogs,” Ramono said. “And they’ve been in … nice … cages all day and they want to run, and I don’t want to run with the dogs. When I have a cat that’s hissing at me, trying to scratch [and bite] at me [so] I can’t put him back in his cage, and I have to get one of the workers to do it. And when I get a really really strong dog dragging me, that’s just not fun.”

But the bad moments are overlooked when Ramono experiences the good moments, the ones that keep her volunteering.

“When I come back to the shelter, and there’s a cat [that isn’t there] anymore, I know that they were adopted,” Ramono said. “This shelter is a no-kill shelter. I mean if the animal is very aggressive, and there’s no way they’ll every be adopted, then they do euthanize it, but if the animal is fine (it’s sociable but it just hasn’t been adopted), they keep it till it gets adopted. I’ve seen a cat that has been there for two years until he finally got adopted.”

However, there is an ulterior motive to Devon’s volunteering. A reason all for herself: cat time.

“Because we don’t have cats at my house […] really like cats,” Ramono said. “And I also like making sure that they’ll all get a good home. So it’s fun to go and have some cat time.  Because trust me after I’ve been handling ten cats, I’m done for awhile, so I get my fill.”