I think crazy is the operative word in my blog title. I agree there definitely is something to the phrase, crazy cat lady. Believe me, in our feral cat rescue, we encounter some, how shall I put it – eccentric women (why is it always women?) whose passion for cats borders on obsession.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not criticizing. I think anyone who devotes themselves to making life better for four-legged creatures is commendable. But I’ve also learned there’s a fine line.Before you assume I’m one of the crazies, I’ll have you know I have just one cat. That’s not to say on any given day I don’t have another I’m fostering for adoption. But with my brute of a cat, Oliver, and 3 rambunctious dogs that love nothing more than chasing what runs, my home isn’t exactly conducive to having additional felines.
To get back to the crazy part, we got a call from someone passing through Gustine (never heard of it), two hours south of us. Four hungry, unaltered feral cats were found living in the parking lot of a Starbucks in the middle of essentially nowhere. Whenever concerned citizens left them cat food, management removed it.
The woman who called was frantic, begging for assistance. Apparently she was having difficulty getting an inundated local animal shelter to help catch the cats to be altered and relocated to a more appropriate place.
Normally we don’t trap outside Marin but this seemed dire. Besides, we have an awesome place in our county wanting ferals ASAP, so the timing was right. And when we received photos of the felines hunkered under Starbucks tables and bushes, it disturbed me. (If it didn’t, then it’s time to get out of this business!)
Besides, my options for that particular Wednesday were as follows: a) clean the house; b) work on my taxes; c) save some cats.
That’s pretty much a no-brainer, if you ask me.
But first I needed reinforcements. So I asked Lisa, one of our dedicated volunteers, who jumped at the opportunity.
Well, the long drive south was uneventful. Got there at 4:00 p.m., set up our traps and waited. Lots of waiting in this business. Then we started drinking heavily. Mocha’s, that is. It might be a long night. (Little did we know…)
At dusk, the four cats appeared. Within an hour we trapped two orange and white cats. But the two calico’s were another story. They had absolutely no interest in being caught. We stayed six hours, but no luck. Full of caffeine, we headed for home with plans to return again for the other two.
Then, at about midnight and an hour from home, my SUV conked out. But things can always be worse, right? Had we broken down outside Gustine, we’d still be stuck out there surrounded in nothingness for 60 miles. Luckily, we ended up near civilization.
To add insult to injury, my phone battery was precariously low although I’d charged it the whole ride. How does that happen? So I called my insurance provider. I gotta say, Liberty Mutual road service sucks. (Mental note: switch to AAA). I was quoted $450 to tow my car home, 50 miles away. Once my battery died, we used Lisa’s phone to call for a tow. Then her phone died. (What else can go wrong?) An hour later, my SUV was at a shop and Lisa and I were on a long taxi ride home with the cats stored in back of the van.
When we got home at 3:30 a.m., I immediately took the cats to the Marin Humane Society. At 5:30, I crawled into bed for 3 glorious hours of shut-eye.
Turns out the two cats we caught were either lost or dumped domestics that became feral to survive. “Gus” and “Justine” were sterilized and are now up for adoption. No more living off Starbucks oatmeal left by kind patrons.
In the end, my alternator was the culprit for the breakdown, making it a bit of an expensive evening:
One hour taxi ride = $150.
New alternator = $500
Next day delivery of my SUV = $200.
Saving 2 lives = Priceless.
A week later, both calico’s were trapped and transported to our Marin shelter. Apparently these two were also lost or abandoned domestics. After being spayed, the cats will be available for adoption.
You are amazing, Janet, and I raise my four furry paws in salute to you!!!!
Thanks Jeanie! I high-five your furry paws…
What a great story! we to save and rescue cats and dogs here in Turkey. We do rehome where possible, but for cats it is mainly to release back to where or near by the rescue. We have to treat medically and if we can afford it to spay. We to have a house full of dogs as well as just one cat with wobbly cat syndrome, but we help many more at least for that chapter of their lives.
That’s awesome. Our rescue group knows a gal in Turkey who does a ton of rescue on her own with very little money or help. We’re trying to figure out how we can get a drop trap to her and also take some of the cats she has rescued for placement in our community. I hear help is greatly needed in many parts of that country. Good luck to you and the good work you’re doing!
maybe a way to get a drop trap to her is to buy on and get it sent to her in the post. As for helping get the animals to you… really hard to do! BUT check out a group on Facebook called TAG based here in Turkey near Didim they foster and get adoptions to other countries so they may be able to help you think through the big problems that this can raise.
Let me know if I can help.
Ditto what jeanieolson said, YOU ARE AMAZING, BELOVED JANET!!!!! And our planet is all the more blessed, by your presence. . . much love!
It’s just a drop in the bucket, as they say, but hopefully we’re making a difference one cat at a time!
Lisa thank you for sharing this great story! Sorry it was such a crazy and costly adventure, but certainly comes with the perfect outcome 🙂 Love and miss you as always, and your pic is darling honey! Friends always, Lisa
You are an amazing and talented writer! I so enjoyed reading these stories, anecdotes and observations. I said this before and I will say it again and again: ‘There is a special place in heaven for people like you and Lisa”. Just ask Susan. She’s up there now surrounded by all her rescues and by those she loved while here on earth. Thank you for this blog. I will check in from time to time.
Nora (of Feral Four Fame)
Thank you, Nora. So nice to hear from you. Yes, I know Susan is up there with Willy and all who loved her and who she loved. She was an earthly angel…Welcome to my blog…So glad you will be reading it.