Recently well, not really so recent, I have found myself involved in a major move to rescue a family of cats. It came about quite unexpectedly with my reaction one of reluctance, yet a feeling that something had to be done.
I sold a wonderful old building in the downtown of a small town where I have lived for the past six years. Taking in a cat or two that had been abandon by its owner, or totally obviously neglected and in poor condition. A couple more that I saved because people promised to take them and then did not. One even not showing up at the vet after I had paid to have the big orange guy neutered and all his vaccinations. Sending an email that she just could not take him. So of course I picked him up and added him to my family of felines.
Then a month later I hear that a shop had been sold to the same people who bought my building and who do not really care for cats. Unbelievable to me that anyone could not like cats or any animal for that matter. The shop owner had been feeding a mother and was to catch her, find her a home. Did not. She had kittens and so it goes, there was a family in need that was not going to be allowed on the lovely protective patio behind the shop due to the change in ownership. The bowls and dishes where set outside the fence for me to take over the feeding…cast aside like an empty garbage can.
I began the feeding and immediately seeking help to rescue and locate homes for the Mother and her kittens. Through the grapevine of caring people…women of course, came the help of a woman who has been doing professional rescuing for sometime. She came with all her cages…I can not refer to them as traps…more on my feelings in a moment.
It was not that I am new to rescuing. Quite the contrary. I have saved many cats in my days and a dog or two. Those were in a city environment where there are many more animal caring people and more helpful vet clinics. In the small town where I live the mindset is to take the cats and toss them in the farm land surrounding the town so that the coyotes can have them. Others feel it is ok to let them starve. Neither of those mindsets can I tolerate. And then there are those who haven’t a clue what neutering or spaying is yet continue to populate the area with kittens on a regular basis.
I am a rather open minded person and fell into having more then two cats…now seven not because I sought that number out however because three of those cats were to have homes and did not. So what was I to do, turn them out to the street. Take them to a shelter where they would be put down because they may not fit the cookie cutter role of docile, or maybe their entry put the numbers over the toleration level. So I couldn’t do that and ended up with more cats then I planned or even really wanted. Yet it works out ok and life goes on. Somewhere along the line it will come back to me perhaps in a next life.
So to have to face rescuing and spending hours on end hoping that one will enter the open door to the cage does try one’s patience. The rescue woman is constantly saying you have to be patient. it takes patience and while I am grateful for her help….not exactly free by the way…cost a few dollars…the dynamics are like any other thing when one feels there is only one way to do things. Stressful. She refers to the process as trapping. I can not consider it that way since I do not like to feel trapped myself nor do I want anything else to feel the fear of trapped. At least she uses more humane cages which are much kinder, friendlier and the cats are not apt to be harmed. Still I know they feel fear and that is so unsettling to me even though I know in the end a better life is ahead for them.
Yet through it all we have been successful and now down to just one stubborn orange and white boy who is determine to keep all his parts and grow in to a free, although perhaps hungry alley cat. After all he has many examples to follow with his rugged desires. And probably the burly old guys have shared more then one wild story about their capers in the alley. Yet somehow we will catch him so that he will have a better life then the others.
It is stressful, yet rewarding and also unsettling to know that people will just turn their heads, not help, not even donate a bag of food, or a dollar or two to help out with the rescue. Rather they will sit on their hands and let others take care of the situation all the while complaining. And even worse is the city will not help either. They will not be proactive and talk with the people who are not spaying and neutering thus populating the town with way too many cats and making the life of those less then desirable.
It is a dilemma everywhere however what I have noticed in this small town is a mindset that is so unacceptable yet I wonder how to correct it. The deep seated outlook, yet there is such a need to correct the situation.
So we do what we can with this one family and hope someone else will pick up the slack when we can no longer. And those that help to rescue like the woman helping me and the others who are taking the cats, definitely have a bright star hanging over them.