Sarah Evans: City of Buffalo Animal Shelter Volunteer


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a cat lady!  I am also a scientist, by day.   I live in North Buffalo and I love it. 

How long have you been a volunteer at the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter?

I'm approaching 4 years as a cat volunteer.  I volunteer at the shelter about once a week and I foster cats and kittens at my home.  I love taking pictures of our adoptable cats.  I am an administrator on the CBAS Facebook page and post little bios of cats along with their photos to try to help them get adopted.  


What is your favorite part of being a City of Buffalo Animal Shelter volunteer?

This is a really tough question because there are so many great things about volunteering.   In a big picture sense, getting cats and kittens in need into loving homes is an amazing and wonderful feeling.   I really love being part of the cat volunteer group.  We have a dedicated volunteer base and a variety of ways people participate.  We've got people who volunteer at the shelter, people who volunteer at our offsite locations like PetSmart, Pet Supplies Plus, and Elmwood Pet Supplies, people who transport cats from one place to another, people who foster, and people who organize big adoption events.  Some folks volunteer 2 hours a month, some volunteer 20 hours a month, and our foster families volunteer 24 hours a day.  Every minute someone can contribute to the cats is so important to our success, which is giving cats and kittens a great quality of life while they are in our care and then sending them off to their best forever homes. I'm so proud to be a part of such a wonderful team.  I have made many friends while volunteering that I would never have crossed paths with otherwise.


In a little picture sense, there are moments that happen when I'm volunteering with cats that are just... magical.  I love photographing the cats at the shelter because I get to spend time with them on an individual basis and really get to know them. Sometimes they pose like models and love the attention. Sometimes they refuse to be photographed and insist on just sitting in my lap or climbing up on my shoulder or playing with a toy.  Sometimes they push the camera out of the way so they can give me kisses.  Sometimes a cat is so overwhelmed by the shelter environment that they won't come out of their kennel, so I just sit with them for awhile and try to help them feel more comfortable.  There's nothing quite like getting a shy cat to purr and chill out a bit.  These moments aren't big or profound in the grand scheme of things, but there is something really special about making a connection with a little being who needs it right in that moment.  All the stresses of every day life sort of melt away.  It is good for them and it's good for me, too.  I also foster, so coming home to a pile of kittens that can't wait to snuggle isn't a bad gig! 


What is required of someone who is a City of Buffalo Animal Shelter volunteer?

There are some basic requirements, like being 21 years old. Beyond that, having a strong desire to help animals in need in our community is the best driving force for being a committed volunteer.  For the cat side of things, there are many opportunites.  We have options to volunteer at the shelter, our offsite locations, fostering, and adoption events.  We have trainings for all of these things, and then it is up to the volunteer to set their own schedule.  We do ask that people commit to a year of being actively engaged after their training.

If someone is interested in becoming a City of Buffalo Animal Shelter volunteer, who should they contact?

To start the process of volunteering with CBAS, people who are interested can send an email to 

What are some misconceptions about adopting an animal from the shelter?

I think that people might think that pets end up in the shelter because there is something wrong with them.  That's usually not the case.  We often get cats that are surrendered because their previous owners moved, or passed away, or had an allergy.  These cats just had some bad luck and need a new home where they will thrive.  We also get a lot of cats that are strays and they are often the best pets because they really know they've got it good in a forever home.  


Are there any fun events coming up that you'd like to share?

Summer time is always great for our shelter pets to get out and about around town.  We regularly have adoptable cats and kittens at the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market on Saturdays (9am-1pm).  Also, in the last year, we've had some really neat cat yoga events.  Keep an eye on our Facebook page for those!

Do you have any pets of your own? Names, Ages

I have three cats.  

Linus (5 years old, my first CBAS love), Daisy (3 years old, foster fail, saved by a good Samaritan at the Broadway Market), Pluto (2 years old, also a foster fail)  




What do you do for fun?

I have recently really gotten into photography.  I got a fancy camera and have been attending workshops about how to use it.  Mostly I take pictures of cats, but I love wandering around to work on my new skills by taking pictures of pretty flowers now that spring has finally arrived in Buffalo.  Also, I take weekly ballet classes at a local dance studio.  I grew up dancing and returning to it after half a lifetime away has been amazing and so fun.  


Band:  I am currently really obsessed with Jason Isbell after seeing him perform at the UB Center for the Arts over the winter.  He's a fantastic, straightforward, and honest songwriter. I just named a foster cat after him, haha! 

Movie or TV Show: This might be a little lame, but I really love watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy while I'm eating dinner at night. I am pretty good at both shows!

Bar/Restaurant:  This probably doesn't count yet, but I am super stoked about Buckminster's Cat Cafe that's going to open soon on Niagara Street.  The owner is a friend and an adopter of one my foster kittens. I have no doubt that this will be one of my favorite places in Buffalo once it opens. 

Place to go Unwind:  My screened in back porch, the "catio", to hang out with my cats while I catch up with the news or read a book. 


Animal:  Cats! :) 

Food:  I love to try lots of foods, but I love that so many cultures have delicious foods wrapped in delicious dough.  Ravioli, pierogi, dumplings...yum!  I'm missing a bunch in my examples, but I'd like to enjoy all of them from all around the world at some point. 

To see all of Sarah's foster cats head to her Facebook Page:

Follow the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter on Facebook:


Drew Williams