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Animal Care Volunteer Project in Spain - Barcelona

Animal Care Volunteer Project in Spain - Barcelona

Want to make some four-legged friends as an Animal Care volunteer in Spain? International Volunteer HQ’s Animal Care project empowers volunteers to assist cats that have been lost or abandoned in Barcelona. Volunteers gain experience caring for animals while helping improve conditions at an overcrowded animal shelter which aims to keep animals active and healthy so they have a better chance of finding a new home.

  • Programs start every second and fourth Monday of the month
  • Affordable fees from CA$1128 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and lunch, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Keep rescued animals clean, fed and active

  • Enjoy Spain’s majestic landscapes

  • Stay in a modern, socially driven hostel in Barcelona

Key information

Care for & rehome abandoned animals
Based in animal shelters
Dormitory-style hostel accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+
Fully hosted experience from CA$1128 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 12 weeks
Spanish language lessons available
Up to 5 hours volunteering a change

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who love working cats and are interested in animal welfare. You’ll be working closely with local placement staff so no animal care experience is necessary.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Animal shelters play an important role in protecting lost and abandoned animals in Barcelona, but often they can be overcrowded. Volunteers support the shelters to cope with the significant number of animals and improve conditions for the cats in residence.

As an Animal Care volunteer you will spend time with the cats with the aim of keeping them active and healthy. Your duties will vary and depending on your skills and the length of your stay but usually include:

  • Playing with animals
  • Giving animals time out of their enclosures
  • Cleaning and grooming
  • Feeding
  • Raising awareness about animal abandonment

The long term aim of volunteering with animals is to have them ready to be adopted. That means they should be healthy and happy so local families who come into the shelter looking to adopt are interested. All cats in the shelters are fully vaccinated.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

Why do Animal Care volunteering in Barcelona with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with animals in Spain - Barcelona you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving the chances of cats to get rehomed
  • Caring for animals that have been abandoned, lost or neglected
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Practicing your Spanish
  • Gaining animal care experience
  • Immersing yourself in the Spanish way of life
  • Discovering Spain’s vibrant culture and history

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

  • All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.

Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply For Free

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Angela Overstreet
31 Oct 2023

I feel like I gained valuable experience and thoroughly enjoyed my time.

Catherine Rossi
25 Aug 2023

The program guide was very detailed in providing information to be prepared, the local team was very nice and communicative, and the staff at the accommodation were very helpful and accommodating. Helping in the animal shelter really allowed for me to observe the hard work it takes to run such a facility. It had a strong impact on me, there is so much help needed here - there is so much help needed everywhere! I felt happy that I could contribute. The work of the local shelter was inspiring. Such selfless individuals who are extremely dedicated in providing the cats with a more comfortable and safe life. It is hard work, and it is not easy-but the love for the cats was so very apparent and it was so joyful to observe. As an animal lover, it has caused me to reflect on how I can continue to provide support to not only dogs or cats, but the humans who are the backbone of the shelters as well.

Ruter Datu
20 Dec 2022

Volunteering gave me the opportunity to travel with a higher purpose will experiencing formal volunteer work. Get out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself! My favorite moment from the volunteer experience was the smiles from the people I was able to help from the cat shelter, food distribution center and migrant and refugee house.

Avril Ayllon
05 Dec 2022

It is a great way to grow as a person, to mature, and to be able to visualize the problems that exist in other countries. You learn many new things that will help you in life. It’s a great way to travel and at the same time make a positive impact by helping! I will never regret having made this journey for all I learned about myself, from others, and from all the new friendships I have thanks to this wonderful experience.

Leanne Richardson
06 Oct 2022

If you're considering it then you're half way there ... just do it! You'll be glad you did. Molly was very helpful and quick to respond. The guide was very useful as well. The whole team in Barcelona was amazing! So helpful and knowledgeable. The food had a good taste, was freshly served, and the staff were helpful. It was an amazing experience, and quite humbling to see how much work the sanctuary had to put in with so little funding. I wish I could have done more, and I will be booking another project as soon as I can. I've caught the travel bug!

Rachel Carson
09 Aug 2022

I would whole-heartedly recommend volunteering aboard with IVHQ. It gifts you experiences you would simply not gain anywhere else!


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit
Volunteer Abroad in Barcelona, Spain with IVHQ


Catalonia is a region in northern Spain with its own distinct culture. Barcelona is its capital and melds millennia of history with modern life in a way that creates a vivid, stylish city with a vibrant atmosphere. It’s rich with the art and architecture of Gaudi and Picasso; home to FC Barcelona - one of the world’s best football teams; loaded with remnants of its ancient Roman past; stacked with beautiful beaches and parks and known for its mouth-watering cuisine. The IVHQ Spain volunteer program in Barcelona hosts a popular range of meaningful volunteer work. The dedicated local team supports volunteers 24/7 as they’re immersed in local life, helping you to develop an authentic understanding of this iconic destination. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city area of Barcelona. Some placements are up to a 90-minute commute, which can be on different means of public transport.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the second and fourth Monday of every month, and volunteers need to arrive in Barcelona on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN). Your airport pick-up is included in your program fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported via Metro and bus to the volunteer accommodation. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Spain prior to your volunteer program and arriving overland, we will provide you with a time and place to meet the local team in Barcelona on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Spain team in Barcelona. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Spain – an introduction to Spain and Barcelona, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, an introduction to project and placement as well as a tour of the local area and a basic Spanish language lesson. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for additional Spanish language lessons and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing .

Volunteer schedule example


After the initial orientation, you will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the specific project that you are participating on.

A typical daily schedule is as follows:

7:00 - 10:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
8:00 AM Volunteers with a morning shift travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on their project.
1:00 - 3:00 PM Lunch is served at the accommodation.
2:30 PM Volunteers with an afternoon or evening shift travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on their project.
8:00 - 10:00 PM Most volunteers choose to eat dinner at this time. There are restaurants close by to the volunteer accommodation or you can prepare your own dinner in the communal kitchen.


On your free weekends in Spain, visit Gaudi’s unfinished yet still iconic La Sagrada Familia church, catch a football match, try a local paella, sunbathe on an incredible beach or wander the streets of Les Ramblas to Barcelona’s city center.

Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Spain including; Granada, Valencia, Madrid and many other places. Volunteers can make travel arrangements once in Barcelona, with the advice and guidance of our local team.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel about 10 - 15 minutes from the city center of Barcelona. You can expect to share a room with up to seven other people of the same gender. The hostel also caters to independent travelers and groups who book rooms from time to time for varying lengths of stay. Every volunteer will have access to their own locker to store valuables and other personal belongings. The hostel has shared bathrooms equipped with western toilets and showers in each room. Bedding is provided for each volunteer. Volunteers can also enjoy a shared living room, kitchen and large outdoor terrace. There is staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week; however, volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy.

WiFi is available in the volunteer accommodation and can be accessed from many cafes and restaurants in the area. A local SIM card with data can also be purchased for unlocked phones.

Private rooms in the hostel with shared or private bathrooms can be arranged upon request for an additional cost, subject to availability.


Volunteers are provided with breakfast and lunch each day.

Breakfast is self-serve at the volunteer accommodation and includes fruit, bread, jam, cereal, milk, tea, and coffee. Lunch is provided in the accommodation according to a fixed menu. Meals will include pasta, rice, meat, seafood, vegetable and salad dishes as well as some typical Spanish dishes.

Volunteers who wish to spend the day in the city and require a packed lunch can request this the day prior.

Tap water is fine to drink in Spain; however, bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget approximately US$5 (approximately CA$7) per week for this.


  • USD
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week CA$1128 Equivalent to CA$161/day
2 weeks CA$1794 Equivalent to CA$128/day
3 weeks CA$2459 Equivalent to CA$117/day
4 weeks CA$3125 Equivalent to CA$112/day
5 weeks CA$3790 Equivalent to CA$108/day
6 weeks CA$4456 Equivalent to CA$106/day
8 weeks CA$5787 Equivalent to CA$103/day
10 weeks CA$7118 Equivalent to CA$102/day
12 weeks CA$8449 Equivalent to CA$101/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$476) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, dinners, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Spain generally find US$100 to be sufficient for weekly expenses including dinners, transportation and miscellaneous spending.
  • Please note: You will need to budget an extra US$10 per night for the Barcelona City Tax, paid directly to the accommodation upon arrival.
  • Any changes or cancellations within 14 days of your start date are subject to a US$200 late change/cancellation fee.

Language lessons in Barcelona

Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers in Spain regardless of their ability. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and are taught by professional Spanish teachers. Classes run Monday through Friday, the cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.

  • 1 x 1 hour class = CA$63
  • 10 x 1 hour classes = CA$471 Spanish lessons can be booked through IVHQ once you have been accepted onto the Barcelona program.

Check what's required to visit Spain

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Madrid
Population 46.9 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+01:00

Weather and climate: Being such a large country, the climate of Spain is very varied. Barcelona and its metropolitan area has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. Its average annual temperature is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F) during the day and 15.1 °C (59.2 °F) at night. In the coldest month, January, the temperature ranges from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F) during the day and 6 to 12 °C (43 to 54 °F) at night. In the warmest month – August, the temperature ranges from 28 to 32 °C (82 to 90 °F) during the day and about from 20 to 24 °C (68 to 75 °F) at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are very rare.

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How to get started

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