I received the most unusual and unexpected gift last week from someone I’ve never met. She knows me from the work I do with feral cats and is a friend of a friend. So why did she give me a gift? Be patient, I’m getting there…
Hold your horses
In this line of work, meaning TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), I meet some interesting folks. Let’s just say not all of them particularly like cats. Some downright hate ’em. But then not everyone is perfect, right? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying if you don’t like cats you’re a sociopath. But my guess is you’re probably close.
Anyway, my friend was telling this gift-giving person about my encounters with these as yet undiagnosed sociopaths. They’re the characters who not only make this work interesting, unpredictable, and a little bit scary, but have taught me I should learn self defense. Like yesterday already. I’ve intended to take classes for about 10 years now but have I done it? Intended is the operative word there.
Now don’t get me wrong; lest you get the mistaken impression I’ve entirely lost my mind, I have to tell you something I hope will sway you in the direction of believing I am not, after all, crazy. Yes, it might very well appear that way, but as we already know, appearances are deceiving. At least that’s the rumor.
Anyway, what you need to know is that I’m currently fostering feral kittens #199 and 200. But that’s not the crazy part. I’d say 95% of my fosters eventually become adopted through Marin Humane. The other 5% I relocate to outdoor properties because they’re still not adoptable after socializing. That leads me to foster #198.
A few months ago I relocated a couple ferals to a family who wanted mousers on their property and Panther seemed to fit the bill. But as it turned out, he fooled us all into believing he was a wild man when all along he was a master of disguise.
So often in our feral cat rescue (Marin Friends of Ferals) it feels like we’re barely making a dent in controlling breeding. You think rabbits and mice are prolific baby-makers? Well, unaltered felines are like polygamists with 5 kids per wife, or maybe the Duggar family (19 Kids and Counting). They have no Off switch.
But the difference with cats is that they can’t control their mating and subsequent reproducing. No, I’m afraid this one’s on us. People refuse to spay and neuter pets for many reasons: they believe it will make the animal lazy and fat (false); some are simply against birth control; others just can’t be bothered. You name it, I’ve heard it.
To seamlessly segue from last week to this, Loretta and I ultimately accomplished our goal of giving cat beds to Slinky, who lives under a bridge at a local college and also to Bridget, who lives under another bridge on campus. Granted, that doesn’t sound exciting. But when you realize these two have spent 13 years living in dirt under their respective bridges, offering them their first beds was a big deal. (To us at least!)
Now don’t get me wrong; even though college administrators wish the cats, and we who feed them, would disappear, what they fail to recognize is the gumption of our feral rescue volunteers. These are no wussies. We hold our own when faced with unreasonable requests, like allowing elderly ferals to starve.
When Loretta and I decided it was way overdue that we provide our two ferals a bed, did we fear arrest? Nah. Call us crazy…those cats were getting a bed come hell or high water. And let me tell you, the water was high. (The creek under the bridges was rushing like a river after a recent storm.) So anyway, we waited for the cloak of darkness before pulling off the cat bed caper. Continue reading →