Papa’s Cat Café
Youth Internship: Junior Cat Wrangler

Application deadline:  January 31

We are excited to offer a junior wrangler internship opportunity to the youth of Columbia!   This is a free internship for students between the ages of 10-15, lasting 8 weeks and will provide students in-depth training in animal care.  Students can use the knowledge and skills they develop for volunteering or future employment at local animal shelters or animal clinics. Students who successfully complete the full 8-week internship will be awarded a certificate of completion which can be used on resumes and will become an approved BCAC volunteer.  Applications will be be accepted January 1 -31 for internships for that calendar year, and awardees notified by the end of February.

Applications and recommendations should be completed using he links below.  Only digital applications will be accepted.

Teachers:  If you know a student who would make a great intern but the student does not have adequate internet or technology to complete the online application, please print the application materials linked here and the student can prepare responses and then work with a teacher or media specialist to submit digitally.

Read below for more specific details about the program and application process.

Who can apply?
This internship is open to students ages 10-15 in the Columbia area.

Who should apply?  Do I need experience with animals?
Anyone with a passion for animals – especially cats – should consider this internship opportunity.  It is most ideal for students who would like to volunteer with or work for shelters or animal care facilities in the future.  It is not limited to those with previous animal experience nor extensive experience with cats.  The goal of the program is to teach anyone (with all ranges of experience) the skills needed to care for animals both at home and in a more formal setting. If you are not able to have pets at home (or cats, specifically), you are not at a disadvantage in your application nor in your success with the program.

How many internship spots are available?
There are only 10 internships spots available for the calendar year.  These spots will be awarded based on an application process which includes a teacher recommendation.

When and where will the internship take place
The internship will take place in the cat playroom at Papa’s Cat Café, located at 14 S. 2nd Street, Columbia, MO.  There will be 2 interns assigned to each 8-week program.  (Example: 2 interns assigned to April-May session, 2 interns assigned to June-July session, and so on.)   Interns will meet once a week on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday from 5:30-7:00.

What will interns learn?
We have designed an 8-week curriculum that will instruct on the most important areas of cat-care knowledge and skills.  These are the essential skills required by our “professional cat wranglers” in caring for our café cats based upon standards set by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.   The first hour of the internship will cover the internship curriculum, and the last half-hour will include animal socialization (aka: kitty cuddle time).  The 8-week curriculum is as follows:

  • Week 1: of Ag observation forms + learning the cats
  • Week 2: Cat temperaments and body language
  • Week 3: “Fear free” handling and weight observation
  • Week 4: Nutrition, food, and monitoring stool health
  • Week 5: Nail trimming, scratching habits, and the harm of declawing
  • Week 6: Common illnesses and prevention with sanitation/sterilization
  • Week 7: Grooming—monitoring coat and skin health, brushing, bathing
  • Week 8: Interns’ topic of choice

Other information to consider:

  • This is not a paid internship.
  • Interns will be able to indicate months and days of preference for the internship.
  • The Dept. of Ag requires youth under 16 be supervised by an adult. So and adult must be present to supervise through the viewing window on the café side.  An adult must also supervise any volunteering the intern completes with BCAC after the internship.
  • Interns’ family is responsible for all transportation to and from internship.
  • All interns must have a parent submit a hold-harmless waiver for student. This waiver must be completed by all visitors to the café.
  • All interested must complete application with teacher recommendation from a current teacher. Both forms must be completed digitally.
  • Applications and recommendations must be submitted by January 31
  • Awardees will be notified by the end of February.


Still have questions?   Contact the cafe through phone or email.

Ryan Kennedy & MacKenzie Everett-Kennedy
Café Co-Owners, Internship Coordinators
Phone:  (573) 449- CATS