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I need advice about this problem

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have always had concerns for animals. When I became an adult, I have actively been involved with animals and concerns for animals. I am constantly appalled by the way the people treat animals and abhor the ignorance that is constant with people in caring for animals, not to mention the simple fact that so many people cannot, will not, and are incapable of considering animals in any humane aspect.

I live in a rural community. When I moved here, the town pop. 500 +, had a real problem with the residents allowing their dogs to run rampant and at large. There was no doubt that some were wild dogs that roamed the fields around town. Then the government of this town and their infinitely limited intelligence decided to enact a license law to curtail the dogs at large and roaming freely. This took a couple of years before the dogs roaming in packs were under control. When that happened we became inundated with skunks, and are still having problems with that. In fact a couple of months ago, my daughter took our van to the "local" convenience store for a pepsi (about 3/4 of mile away), and on her return was charged by a skunk that had rounded the corner of our home.

About 5/6 years ago, in the below freezing weather of our Januarys here in Missouri, we noticed a cat that was severely injured on her back hip and barely able to move about, yet able enough to keep us at a distance. We also tracked her to her substandard shelter (our front porch). Since we could not get near enough to her to capture her, and transport her to a vet, we could only hope for the best and try to sustain her life through food and water. We did this. She survived, and albeit was not in really good shape without medical help, she did manage to heal and function, and actually look healthy although handicapped to a certain degree.

I claim to be very ignorant at that time in regard to feral cats, even though in the course of my adult years I had managed to catch, obtain 2 and successfully tame them.

I was very concerned about her reproducing, but not wise enough to figure out how to help her and everyone else in that area.

The summer after her appearance, I noticed that a very small kitten had been ground to mash in the street in front of our home. I KNEW at that point I was in trouble and had been a cruel instigator of productivity.

I actively sought help. I obtained for a fee of $70.00 a catch cage, and started to catch these beautiful and elusive creatures, transport them to our WONDERFUL vet, get them neutered/spayed, bring them home to recuperate in the center of our "inside" universe, housed in a large canine kennel cage equipped with amenities any cat could possible imagine, a private area for them to hide and feel secure, a box for litter, and a comfy place to just lay around, heal and just watch. The kennel cage was placed central to family activity, including our own original pets and how all interacted.

I became quite successful at catching, and taming these fur people. The initial plan was to catch, neuter/spay, vaccinate, then release them to live outdoors around my home (if they so desired), and give them the care that they needed and desired.

The problem from that point was that once I had caught them, neutered/spayed, vaccinated, and tamed them, they had no desire to return to the outdoors.

I lost a couple of the cats before I could catch them and this caused me grief and sadness but I still continued to do what I felt was necessary to eliminate the problem around my home.

The problem as I see it now (through research, and awareness), not simply isolated around my house. The people of this community are not actively caring for their animals. They do not concern themselves with vaccinations, or spaying/neutering of these animals. They do not care for the products of reproduction and simply drop them at the side of the road or dump them somewhere.

The simple fact of the matter is, if they survive to any capacity of being capable of scrounging enough to survive, they find themselves around me.

I don't have a problem with that per se, and have paid out a medium fortune to do what I have done for the ones I have caught. What bothers me is the fact that I now read in a local regional rag that the city is going to implement action to eliminate the population of stray cats here.

I know how these people are, a wild cats are poisoned, shot, or whatever to make sure that they are DEAD!

I want responsible action. I want responsible treatment. I want compassionate action taken. I don't want to see these creatures MURDERED. I have worked to hard for some that I haven't been able to catch yet, to ensure that they have access to food twice a day, and water. They can depend on this and do depend on it.

Is there any way you can assist me to prevent such action? Can you connect me with someone who would know how to ensure that these animals are cared for in a responsible manner? Have you any ideas on how I can take care of this cruel and inhumane action?

I would appreciate any input in this regard.
post #2 of 5

Welcome to the catsite! First of all I would like to commend you for hard work, dedication and perseverence in working with ferals. It is very difficult to understand the ferals. Most people don't know what they are or how they got that way. They got that way from HUMANS. Irresponsible cat owners who treat them as disposable pets once their "cuteness" is gone. They leave them in boxes at vet hospitals, in dumpsters or throw them out of car windows. And it totally disgusts me. I've worked with ferals and find it very rewarding when they become socialized.

The other problem is the responsibility of trap, spay/neuter and release. Most people just want the problem to simply "go away". I have an editor who badgered me for months because she had a mother and kittens living under her deck. She would come and talk to me about it. I explained that they needed to be trapped and fixed and released. The only thing is, she wanted ME to do it. Now I only work as a staff writer and make far less money that she does. When I told her about our TEAM van that goes around Connecticut spaying and neutering, as well as rabies and distempter shots and also treating for uppper respiratory infections all for the lost cost of $39 per cat, she was offended. She said she was willing to pay for only 2 cats. That's when I told her she was on her own. She simply wanted ME to make the problem go away. She tried the guilt trip by saying "well, they're going to die this winter if something isn't done." I told her "oh well, it'll be on your conscience not mine." I gave her several names and phone numbers of shelters that would help her out but she was too busy to do the foot work. One woman at the shelter cussed her out saying that since she's feeding the cats they are her responsibility.

It's too bad that dogs have more rights on this earth than cats. The stories I read make me cry and sick at the same time. Stories about young boys who break 6 week old kittens legs just for the fun of it. I blame the parents for not teaching these juveniles respect for living things. Kids who do that to animals are known to grow up doing those kinds of things to humans. Look at Jeffrey Dahlmer. He started with cats in his grandmother basement. Need I say more?

I also believe that states need to get involved in regulating the prices vets charge to spay and neuter. Many times people who have pets can't afford to have them spayed/neutered so they don't. I truly believe that if they can't afford medical treatment for a pet, they can't afford the pet. Plain and simple. I have been active in animal rescue for about three years now and love it. But sometimes I get burned out and have to take a break from it. Whenever we have pet adoption days, people come in and, on a whim, adopt a cat or puppy only to call a week or two later saying they can't afford it. We try to tell them that a pet is a commitment (15 to 20 years) and it won't all be rosey. Pets do get sick. I also believe that stricter laws and fines should be implemented on people who abuse animals. But unfortunately legislators have other things on their minds like getting re-elected.

Unfortunately it's not that simple and the problems will probably not be solved until long after we are gone and maybe not even then. The only thing we can do, is keep on doing what we're doing and hope for the best. It's angering and frustrating but I've come to the conclusion you can't save the world. The serenity prayer says Grant me the courage to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. It helps. You are an

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Just a note to report progress of my quest to save the lives of the feral cats in my town.

I was amazed when I was contacted by the Kansas City Star newspaper to interview me about my desire to convince the city to trap, neuter, and release the feral cats in this town, and develope a managed feral colony.

A very large article was printed up in the paper on the day before a council meeting.

I attended the council meeting equipped with everything I thought I would need to convince the council that this was the only way to control the ferals, and how it would benefit the community and citizens of the town.

It was agreed upon my the majority of the city council, but the discussion was tabled to investigate funding, and try to find a way we can readily identify the owned cats of the community should they venture into the area where the traps may be set up.

We do not want to catch an owned cat, and neuter it, tip its ear, then release it. Figure the owners may not appreciate such an action taken against their pet.

If anyone has any ideas that may assist in this, I would be most appreciative.

At this time, I have thought that with a population of 520 citizens in this town, notices could be sent with the water bills, requesting that the cat owners register their pets (we are trying to convince the council that licensing won't work, and cats should not wear collars). After that I will go around to each home, and find out if they are cat owners, and register their pet myself, along with a poloariod pic of the cat, noted on the pic the address, and name of owner, etc.

After that, when I am called to capture a feral, I will check with the neighbors surrounding the area where the trap will be set up, and make sure that all cats are registered, and request that the owners of cats try to keep their pets indoors until the trap is removed from the area.

Other than that, I will be working in close conjunction with a council member (she is also against licensing the cats), investigating the funding and vets, etc.

That is where it all stands at this point in time.

I appreciate any ideas and moral support that has been given in this trying time.

post #4 of 5

Way to go Crickett!!

You started in the right place. By notifying the town/city, it makes them aware of how irresponsible pet owners are and what can be done. Unfortunately, there will still be some real assholes who just don't care and will continue to defy the laws. And it's sad because not only does it put the ferals in jeopardy of catching any diseases that pets owners cats have from not vaccinating, but it will also cause it to spread.

Keep up the good work and don't get burned out! If you have to, take a break.

post #5 of 5
I don't have much practical experience in colonizing ferals but I'll certainly give you moral support!

you are doing a wonderful thing and your community is blessed to have you. you are fighting for those who can't fight for themselves.

Donna is right, you are an :angel2:
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