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  • Pinto Carpentry

How to Help Local Animal Shelters, Rescues, and Unhoused Families with Pets this Holiday Season

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

If you’re following us on any of our social media, you know that our pets are a huge part of our daily lives. Our shop cats and office cats frequently grace our social posts with their antics. As cat lovers and pet caretakers, we are firm believers in supporting rescue, “TNR, and rehoming efforts for animals of all kinds. Today, we thought we’d share a few helpful tips on how to help local rescues and shelters, homeless pets and their families, and outdoor wildlife/ferals to keep them safe this winter.


Got some tips of your own? Let us know in the comments!


woman in her living room with christmas attire, petting her orange cat on the head


  • Donate gently used towels, sheets, blankets, and pillows to your local animal shelter or rescue organization. Baby, Toddler, and kid size blankets are especially desired as they’re perfectly sized for crates and kennels.

  • If you have some toys that your pets don’t care for, box them up and drop them off at your local rescue or shelter. You can also shop the bargain bins and BOGO sales during the holiday season to get some brand new toys to share with shelter animals.

  • Your household and personal pets are not the only animals with specialty diets. Consider splurging on a few bags or cans of specialty diet pet foods to donate to your local shelter to help alleviate the cost of those items, especially for long-term shelter residents.

  • Some shelters also appreciate “holiday meal donations” where volunteers make crock pots of fresh food to add to the shelter animals diets. Give your local shelter a call or message them on social media to ask if your culinary efforts would be helpful! (Thanksgiving options received by local shelters included plain, unseasoned roasted turkey, steamed green beans and broccoli, steamed or roasted unseasoned sweet potatoes, plain brown rice and roasted unseasoned chicken.)

  • Consider dropping off household supplies such as pet safe cleaning items, distilled white vinegar, paper towels, mops and buckets, or brooms. Additionally, pet grooming items such as shampoo and conditioner, brushes, flea and tick treatment, and other related products are always needed to help keep conditions sanitary for shelter pets.

  • When donating to local food pantries and unhoused support collection drives, remember to include items for pets, too! Local food pantries and homeless/family shelters often help families in need with their pets or allow them to stay with families especially in cold winter weather. Remember to include some of these items in with your “human food” donations: cans of cat food and wet dog food, small bags of kibble, shelf stable meal add-ons and treats, bottled water (personal and gallons), pet cleaning wipes, flea and tick pet collars, portable pet water and food bowls (collapsible), etc.

cat popping its head out among layers of knitted items

  • Consider sponsoring a shelter pet this holiday season. This can look like a monetary donation per month, or a lump sum payment to cover the cost of treatments or specialized diets. It can also be as simple as donating your time to playing with the animals in the shelter, providing weekends or a holiday out of the shelter and in a home for a break from kennel life, or even providing walks and day-trips out of the shelter and kennels.

  • Volunteer at local domestic/family and homeless shelters to provide support for the unhoused and their companion animals and pets. Ask what services are needed or what donations are most desired for winter months and special shelter conditions for service animals of unhoused residents.

  • Donate to organizations such as “Feeding Pets of the Homeless” who provide pet food and emergency care to pets of those people experiencing homelessness crisis. Shelter Our Pets provides help to protect animals of abuse victims as well as military vets who are experiencing crisis.

  • Help stray and feral animals stay safe this winter by providing fresh food and water twice daily, with mainly dry food as an option so it will not freeze. Provide boxes and containers lined with shredded newspaper, cardboard, and old sheets/ pillowcases as shelters. You can also use straw and hay as insulation to keep them warm.

  • Create a feral cat shelter on a budget: Place plastic Rubbermaid and Sterlite containers upside down with the lid on the ground, and cut a cat sized hole in the side of the plastic, and line the inside with pet-safe paper bedding, pillowcases stuffed with packing peanuts or cotton batting, or basic thermal “self warming” pet beds. Leave them outside in your yard and ensure they have a clear snow-free path.

  • Use pet-safe ice melts, sand, and kitty litter to help melt ice and snow and provide traction in the winter. This ensures that local stray and feral animals as well as wildlife will not encounter toxic chemicals on their feet or in the snow/ice that they may eat to stay hydrated.

As we conclude, remember that your support can make a significant difference in the lives of animals in need. By choosing to help animal shelters, you contribute to a compassionate and caring community. Whether it’s through donations, volunteering, or spreading awareness, every effort counts. Pinto Carpentry encourages everyone to take a step forward in supporting local animal shelters. Together, we can ensure that every animal receives the love, care, and shelter they deserve. Let’s continue to work hand-in-hand with these vital organizations, making a positive impact in the lives of countless animals.



Tell us how you and your family are planning to help animal shelters unhoused pets for holidays in the comments!


cat rescue room filled with cats

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