For nearly two months now, cats have been my life. I’ve taken in not one, but THREE, pregnant feral cats in the hopes that I can get the babies homed and the mothers fixed and put back outside. My goal is to prevent the current colony from growing in size exponentially. I have now prevented 12 babies from growing up feral outside and reproducing. Of those 12, five for sure have been girls. Which can each have three to five babies per litter before they hit one year of age.
Let me back up and say that we inherited this cat mess when we moved in. The neighbors across the street should be the responsible party, but they just don’t care. I know that’s where the problem started because A) they all ran from there to here each night and B) the little girl who lives there asked me one day “Why do my cats like you?” Hmmm. Because I FEED THEM!?
Anyway, in my quest to humanely take care of the cat problem that is now in my yard, under my house, and taken over my studio and guest bedroom, I’ve run into tons of hurdles. The biggest being that people just don’t care. No one cares that these animals are scrounging for food, digging up yards and gardens, and reproducing like there’s no tomorrow. No one cares that these are living things with physical needs. No one cares!
When the first litter was born, one baby was very sick. She didn’t make it to a week. It broke my heart when she died, because she was a precious living thing. While discussing things with a woman (we’ll call her L) from the cat rescue I’ve been working with, she told me “Well, we have enough cats in this world, and we don’t need anymore. It’s better that they die.” This, from a woman who is supposed to be rescuing cats. Sure, it may be true that we don’t need any more cats, but the fact that she didn’t care at all that the baby didn’t make it bothered me a lot. Obviously I have a lot of respect for animals and I don’t believe they should be discarded or so easily dismissed.
L’s specialty in the rescue group is hand raising kittens. On her last visit to check in on the older litter and to give them their first round of vaccinations, she told me she had lost nine kittens in the last few weeks. She didn’t even care. Why are there people working with animals if they don’t give a damn? It makes no sense to me. I have a feeling it wasn’t because the babies were destined to die. After requesting medicine from her and not getting it for a week and a half (ultimately I went to the vet and got it myself), I understand that it’s because she can’t be bothered to take immediate action. She just doesn’t care.
Another person I’ve had to deal with is someone who works for an organization that provides low-cost spays and neuters. They don’t care if it’s for a pet or for a feral cat, all are welcome. I’ve gotten two feral cats fixed so far, plus one of my own and a voucher on hand for the mama of the older litter, so they know who I am. Recently, someone has been kind enough to donate money to get the rest of the colony fixed. When speaking with the woman (B) from this group, she wanted to know what the situation was. I told her I had three with kittens that need to be fixed, plus another four outside, one of which is pregnant. I was told to catch her (though I don’t know how–I’ve been requesting traps from the rescue group for nearly two months now but L can’t seem to locate them) and have the babies aborted.
This woman, whose job is to take my money and give me a voucher, told me to murder kittens. This is the second person that works with cats who has told me they don’t matter. I’m just so frustrated that I can hardly see straight!
I have to get just a little more off my chest. I believe that we have an animal crisis on our hands because of people’s lack of responsibility. Shelters are packed, hundreds (or more) of cats and dogs are euthanized daily because there’s no more room, and rescues are full. Why? Because people DON’T GET THEIR PETS SPAYED OR NEUTERED!!! Here in the Valley, it’s a common practice to simply put your pet outside if you no longer want to care for it. Many times, they’re not fixed, which leads to these feral colonies.
Since we have created the problem, we have to fix it humanely and with responsibility. That does not mean killing the innocents. That does not mean waiting for someone else to fix the problem. That does not mean ignoring it and hoping it will go away or pretending there isn’t a problem in the first place.
Cleaning up this mess has cost me dearly. Not just financially, but emotionally, physically, and mentally as well. I’ve had to give up my time, my house, my money, and my sanity to clean up someone else’s mess. I had to take responsibility because no one else would. I have to live with my choices and decisions. And doing that means sacrifice. I believe in a higher power, and I believe we will all have to be accountable one day for how we treat other people and animals. I have to do what I believe is right, and that means rescuing kittens and spaying/neutering and releasing the adults. That, in my opinion, is the only way to clean up the mess that has been created.
I care deeply about each and every one of these cats. It is who I am and I will not change. I will not toss my morals out the door because every one I’ve encountered so far thinks I need to kill these animals instead of helping them. I will continue to do what I have to in order to fix the problem responsibly.
I know this has been a long post, and I thank you for sticking with me to the end. I’m fighting an uphill battle and I feel like I’m doing it alone. I know it’s a long shot, but here is a link to my Amazon wishlist. I don’t expect any help, but I would be incredibly grateful if you’d consider chipping in.