I´m Helping Destitute Animals – One Animal at a Time
Three years – three new cats. Each winter since 2005, I have fed, neutered, and medicated a new stray.
I´m sure there are more to come as well. I think they are following some secret cat radar, coming from old farms awaiting sale, or they have been abandoned because people know that some of us can’t say no, and they know who we are. When the comment inevitably is made that they won´t come around if there is no food, I am incredulous – how can anyone turn his or her back on a helpless creature?
So far we´ve been lucky. Luigi, Tomasino, and Giuseppe have integrated well with Marcello, Valentino, and Sweetpea — all walk-ins themselves — but there is a limit. What would have happened to them if I hadn´t had the means or ability to befriend, vet, and open my heart and home to them? They probably would have continued to breed, been infested with ear mites, ticks, and fleas, and suffer the effects of harsh upstate weather. They would have died under automobile wheels, in the jaws of predators, or from the effects of an untreated disease or injury.
Sensing something while gardening last night, I looked behind me to see a beautiful black cat waiting and watching, so there is another bowl of food out now to start the process of rescuing him/her. The problem becomes, of course, what to do with the cat. I am out of room, but so is everyone I know, and most of their cats were strays, too. The saddest part is that this is probably just the tip of the iceberg – how many of these abandoned cats don´t we know about?
People tell us that you can´t save the world, but it´s important to try to help whomever we can, whether they are horses, dogs, cats, ducks, or roosters. By setting examples of caring for destitute animals, we each in our own way become humane educators. In the beginning, these animals need us, but ultimately we need them, and that is a very satisfying and fulfilling feeling.
As always, for the animals,
New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XX, No.3, Spring/Summer 2007.