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Lone rescuer, what would you like to see from an organization?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I'm with an organization that is working hard to help cats and their caretakers, in our local area. We handle lots of calls and do a lot of TNR support, adoption, and advocacy for feral cats and cats in general. I handle a lot of the initial contact with caretakers and concerned members of the public. Most days, that's fun, actually!

But there are days when I feel very frustrated, because I talk with someone who is doing all the right stuff, but doing it all alone, and spending tons of his own money on it and all, but kind of, from my perspective, not getting very far. Sometimes, after several efforts, we get such individuals into working with our program. But lots of times, we don't. Either they will get speuter help from one group, adoption help from another, and so on, or, they just go it all alone completely.

I am convinced that it takes more than a lot of individuals working alone to make real change. I know that a lot of people want us to change laws and change thinking about cats. However, sometimes, these same people complain to me when we spend resources on such things as advocacy and long-term planning for cat care.

I'm wondering, if you don't work with any one organization right now, and if you had an opportunity to do so, what would be important to you for the organization to do? We loan traps, provide low cost speuter, coordinate aftercare, help with colony monitoring, provide educational materials and speakers, and network caregivers so they know they are NOT all alone. Is there something we are missing? What would it take for you to give up being a "lone ranger" and work with a group? Or do groups have SUCH a bad reputation that you just don't want to have ANYTHING to do with 'em?

If the opposition to TNR can more effectively create alliances than we cat advocates can, I am afraid we are in for some very sad times!
post #2 of 8
Hi Linda,

In my area there are 4 of us that work alone (as far as organizations go) but we work together in this one area. One gal has a beautiful piece of land with over 28 acres, a full on nursery for sick and orphaned kittens, last time I was there she had over 62 cats. All of her cats are in prime health, most were dumped off near or on her place. Townspeople will stop by our individual homes and drop off food and litter from time to time, but mostly we pay for what needs are required out of our own pocket.

The nearest organization is not very close to us, and the best resources we have is the Oregon Feral Cat Coalition that allows us to spay and neuter at low cost. Also a vet in the area will endorse our work by providing us with the same vet costs as she gives the shelter in a nearby town.

During kitten season (soon to start here big time) we are constantly networking back and forth to be sure that all the cats that are dumped have a chance at a life, and the kittens can be cared for.

When I first started rescuing years and years ago there was no organization per se to turn to. I am glad that has changed for so many, but I don't feel the need to *belong* to a rescue organization and get caught up in the politics and regulations and what all. Personally, I just want the cats to be cared for and have a chance.
post #3 of 8
I'm not sure I fit the mold, but I figure that you are looking for ANY information.

My husband and I had worked for SEVERAL different organizations before we found H.E.L.P. (with whom we remain working for). The reasons that we would not work for some of the groups were:

1. Rude fellow-workers (paid or volunteer). It is, after all, a VERY stressful environment. BIG, BIG PROBLEM!!!!!
2. Disagreements on beliefs for care of animals (declawing for example).
3. Screening process for volunteer work too tedious.
4. Volunteer time requirements too strict.

Any questions....ask.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I DO appreciate any and all advice and input!! It seems to me that both of you so far are implying that it is politics, bad management (mostly, of people), in general, the reputation that organization work has, that are the obstacle for an organization in attracting people to join.

I'll stay tuned for other comments and wish-list items; at least it's possible to work on and improve bad management; I don't know what to do about people being SO badly burned from bad experiences that they don't want to give new efforts a chance, but, I guess, some of that is gonna be with us forever.

post #5 of 8
Hi Linda,

I live in MD and I've been trying to find other caretakers in the Southern Md area that would like some help but I can't find any. Could you hook me up with some? I tried Alley Cat Allies, Humane Society, Lucky Ones, Animal Control and PG Ferals. I only have a small colony left that I care for in my back yard and I have 3 traps if you know of anybody that wants to borrow them.

post #6 of 8
Linda...why don't you contact Neighborhood Cats and see how they were able to work things out between the various groups:


The first meeting of the newly formed New York City Feral Cat Council was held on February 24, 2004, at the Association of the Bar of the City of NY under the auspices of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. Representatives from all NYC organizations with significant Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs were represented, including the ASPCA, the Humane Society of NY, NYC Animal Care & Control, Neighborhood Cats, Kitty Caretakers of Queens, CSM Stray Foundation (USA), Urban Cat League and Le Cats on the Water. Formally joining the Council was also the Queens shelter, Animal Haven.

The Feral Cat Council has formed for the purpose of sharing information among TNR groups, coordinating services, and promoting the use of TNR. At the first meeting, the organizations shared the details of each others' programs, agreed to launch a web site to list all TNR-related services available to the public from Council members, agreed to explore a poster campaign promoting the Council and the use of TNR, and formed an online discussion group for Council members and feral cat activists. In addition, extensive discussion took place on the obstacles and challenges now facing the TNR movement in NY as well as possible solutions.

The Feral Cat Council, to hold quarterly meetings, represents a significant development for NYC's street cats for reasons well beyond its productive first gathering. TNR is a uniquely community-oriented approach, especially when practiced on a large scale in situations involving great numbers of animals (here in NYC, there are at least tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of feral cats). One organization necessarily relies upon and impacts others as the work progresses. For example, when Neighborhood Cats conducts a mass trapping, the free spay/neuter services of the ASPCA or Humane Society of NY are brought into play, as well as the policies of NYC Animal Care & Control in approving the maintenance of managed feral colonies. As another example, the more standardized TNR groups are in their requirements of caretaker training, the more the system as a whole can know what to expect from those who seek to use its services.

It's fitting that the Feral Cat Council is a project of the Mayor's Alliance, an umbrella organization whose purpose is to bring about the end of the killing in our city's shelters. United action, while difficult and sometimes time-consuming, is an essential ingredient for a community to move ahead in turning around a desperate, chronic situation where thousands of lives are needlessly lost every month. Much of the problem in New York stems from the street cat population, which contributes at least 50 percent of the kittens flowing into local shelters. These kittens, if not euthanized themselves, take away spots in homes from other shelter animals who might otherwise have been adopted.

With traditional rescue groups and shelters focused on increasing adoption while Feral Cat Council members find improved ways to end the birth of unwanted animals on the streets, No Kill in NYC has become an attainable reality.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks Katie,

Will DO! I've been a fan of their online course for some time, but I have to admit I wasn't keeping up with 'em closely enough to have seen this news. Great work! Great accomplishment. Nice to have such good stuff going on out there!
post #8 of 8
In Indianapolis we have quite a few orgs. which are now available to help. Indy feral, I-CAN, FACE clinic just to name few. I volunteer to wrk with them but often my services are turned down. Since I am a college student I have very limited time and they need more than I can give. Also most of our help comes in the form of Vet care (spay/nueter, shots check-ups) not alot of help regaurding finding homes or food sources. The orgs here are trying to get their own food donated for the many many colonies that they take care of. We are now trying to get the work we do with our ferals on the registy for fral cat help, but that too is a hard thing to do.
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