P.A.W. Animal Sanctuary
P.A.W. Cat Sanctuary and Humane Society was founded nearly a decade ago to control animal population through sterilization, as well as to conduct humane education throughout the island of Caye Caulker, Belize. P.A.W.'s sister program, Caulker Assisting Animals Through Sterilization (C.A.A.T.S.) was founded later to provide veterinary assistance, mostly to include spaying and neutering, for dogs and cats throughout Chetumal, Mexico.
P.A.W. is directed by Madi Collins, who welcomes volunteers from around the world to help with a variety of projects, such as general cat care, veterinary assistance, community education, construction, gardening, and website development.
In Belize, common housecats are perceived less as companions and more as pests—as a result, they might be mistreated, killed, or left to the streets to fend for themselves. Oftentimes, these feral cats aren’t spayed or neutered, breeding new generations of cats that are treated the same way.
Volunteers help to care for the sanctuary’s cats, educate the community about humane animal treatment, assist with general sanctuary upkeep, and help with smaller projects such as gardening or blogging for the sanctuary’s website. This program is entirely funded by providing housing to volunteers and to general travelers—all of the income that P.A.W. generates from providing accommodation is funneled directly into their cat care program.
Volunteers must be:
- Interested in and comfortable with working directly with common housecats, many of which were feral before coming to the sanctuary.
- Physically capable of bending, lifting, and other light to moderate physical activity. Unfortunately, handicapped volunteers cannot be accommodated at this time.
- Certain programs require minimum stay of one week or longer.
- Certain programs have professional or educational background requirements.
At any time, there are usually one or two volunteers onsite. Students, gap year travelers, professionals, and retirees are all welcome at P.A.W. Most volunteers stay for two weeks, though volunteers are encouraged to stay longer to gain a deeper understanding of the sanctuary and its work.
And a fun fact for you: P.A.W. is listed as the second most popular “Specialty Accommodation” on TripAdvisor Caye Caulker! Click here to learn more about P.A.W Cat Sanctuary.