About a month ago, I took a drive over to a little town called Whaleyville, Virginia to get 5 kittens out of a barn who were ready to be weened. I had a friend of mine along and we picked up the kittnes, placed them into a large carrier and started back.
Since the Suffolk Animal Control shelter was just about 2 miles out of the way, we decided to stop in and see what they had in the way of kitties who were down on their luck.
The friend that I had along could be called a cat-fanatic but that description wouldn't do her justice and seeing all of those kitties in the cages just wasn't sitting well with her.
We ended up taking them ALL, a momma and two babies and three adult cats, a gray stripped tabby we named "Tucker" and a Tortie that looked like she had some Scottish Fold in her we named "Tess". The other one was a long-haired calico we named "Bathsheba" who was going to have kittens herself.
I got to fill out the adoption paperwork on each and every cat we took out of there and a seperate form for the two kittens.
Don't you just love government?
Suffolk Animal Control was nice enough to loan us the extra pet carriers we needed and so we loaded up my van with felines and headed home.
About 10 minutes into the trip, I got a call from Linda BD who is the lady I adopted Zoey and Bari from and she called to ask where I was with the 5 kittens I was supposed to pick up.
I said, "well, we have a shade more than 5" and Linda asked me, "How many did you get from that barn?"
I explained that we had stopped by Suffolk Animal Control and pretty much de-felined them, leaving them with vacent cages.
Linda BD said, "Oh-My-God, how many cats DO you have?"
I softly and sheepishly said, "11"
Linda told me that I was never again to visit Suffolk Animal Control on pain of death but added, "Bring them to me and I'll start making calls"
We arrived at Linda's home and there were two of our other members there to take the Momma and the Momma-to-be to their homes for fostering.
We set the 5 kittens up in an isolation cage with everything they needed, food, toys and a litter pan. I don't know where Linda BD got this cage, but it's a MONSTER with ramps, shelves and all the room a litter of kittens would need.
We placed Tucker and Tess into two other isolation cages and started tending to their needs.
When I come home, I always "cash out" all my frequent-fueler points at the Petro and Pilot Truckstops in Ruther Glen, Virginia, buying all the cat food that I have points for.
With every gallon of diesel you buy, you get a one cent credit and since I usually take on over 100 gallons at each fill-up and I can burn through over 2000 gallons of fuel per month. I'm usually gone for 6 weeks at a time so I can get a LOT of free cat food even at the OUTRAGOUS priced that Truckstops charge.
I always bring everything to Linda's house along with the extra I buy when I shop for my own pets because, although she and her husband are WAY BETTER OFF than I am, I very much believe in her work and want to help her all I can.
I got Tess food and water and then tended to "Tucker". He seemed aprehensive at first since there was all this activity going on around him, but once I placed the food and water in his cage, something in his manner changed and I think it was at that moment that he realized that we were only there to help him.
The next day was busy as well because Tess, Tucker and the 5 kittens had to be shuttled to the Vet's Office for exams and testing. Tucker and the Kittens went to the Norfolk S.P.C.A. and Tess went to a Vet's office nearby.
During the ride to Norfolk, I discovered that "Tucker" was a pretty friendly cat and LOVED to have his chest scratched, they all tested negative and I ran them back to Linda's to get Tess.
Tess isn't the kind of cat that really needs a carrier. When I opened the cage to pet her, she just came right out onto my lap and that's where she spent most of the time we spend together.
She purred softly and was great company. I gave her over to the Vet tech to have her tested and when she returned, she warned me that Tess was pretty upset and I noticed that she had Tess by the scruff of her neck. As soon as she handed Tess back to me, Tess was purring before she was on my chest, calm as could be.
We got her examined, shaved her tummy and found the tell-tale spaying scar and clipped the hooks she had for claws.
Once we got back to Linda's, we could let Tess roam around and she was one of the most laid-back cats I'd ever seen.
Friday rolled around and Tucker had an appointment to bid farewell to his manhood.
I picked him up and we rode down to the place where it would happen and the whole way there, Tucker just wouldn't stop loving on my hand, as though he was asking me over and over "Let me be your cat".
I dropped him off at the scene of the crime and told the receptionist in no uncertain terms to take good care of Tucker. I think I might have frightened her a little becasue I'm a pretty big guy and since this wasn't "my" Vet, they might not realize how personally I take it when a cat is made to suffer needlessly, so I was pretty stern in my demeanor.
If someone wants to rant and rave about something, I usually let them because, like the woman who recently threatend to sue me, they're more bark than bite and usually haven't given an ounce of thought to anything more than their "feelings".
Quiet, calm and firm-THAT is when you need to pay attention to what's being said and that's how I was with regard to Tucker's care.
I had to have a friend pick Tucker up because of a prior commitment and she told me that the lady at the Vet's office was REALLY pulling for Tucker because apparently, I'd gotten my point across better than I'd hoped.
That Saturday, I took Tucker and Tess up to PetSmart for adoption and although I can be pretty convincing, I couldn't find the right person that wanted either cat. We did pretty well that day, getting 14 cats out into new homes, but not Tucker or Tess.
My Wife stopped by and I expressed my disappointment and she told me that we cold take one or the other, but we'd have to give up our kitten, Bari.
Heritic, infidel, follower of the false profit! Give up Bari?
Since we had done so well, there was room in the PetSmart adoption center for both cats and after providing everything they needed, I gave them both some extra attention because since I was leaving back out the following Monday, I might never see them again.
Later that week, another one of our members called me to ask about Tess because they had an adoption contract on her.
Tess was being adopted into a home where they had lost one of two cats and from everything I gathered, Tess would be a wonderful fit.
The following weekend, Tucker was adopted into a family with two parents and a 9 year old daughter who was absolutly smitten with Tucker and he with her.
I can see him now, rolling onto his back, "Let me be your cat"
All of the barn kittens and the two others that were rescued from Suffolk have long since been adopted along with the mother of the pair, the Calico has had her babies and they are only a week or two away from being placed for adoption. The calico has even taken an orphan that looke nothing like her babies, but she's caring for it as though it were her own.
So it looke like this is all headed towards a happy ending for each one of these 11 cats. Each one got or will have the home they deserved to meet their needs and the adult cats, Tucker and Tess both found homes where they fit in prefectly.
Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time I've gotten great cats into good homes. I managed to rescue a 6 motnth old kitten in Louisiana several months ago and that's when I took the bait.
These rescues have pretty much "set the hook" and when I'm hauling freight across the country, I look forward to getting back home and finding another cat that needs some care and a home of it's own.
I've got 5 cats and I can't accomodate any more, one rides with me on the truck and the other 4 are at home with my wife, keeping her company.
But what I can do on my time-off is run cats to their appointments, buy supplies and in my spare time, I built and maintain the website for our group. I've even gotten so engrossed in rescuing cats, after having all of my cats microchipped, I called the chip maker and inquired into the possibility of our group obtaining and implanting micro-chips into our rescues for our clients.
The chip maker told me that we could get the chips, but the initial investment would be $250.00.
Since we're a small, home based group, we really don't have that kind of money to spend since we have to buy food, supplies and provide Vet care.
What I decided to do was, since I'd been keeping very careful records of all my work-related expenses and with the recent changes in tax code, if my refund was large enough, I'd buy the first batch of micro-chips myself.
I talked it over with my Wife and told her that I didn't care what she did with the rest of the refund, but all I wanted was to buy these chips.
She okayed the idea and we'll be getting our first batch of chips pretty soon.
What I want and all I want is to make some sort of difference. My cats have given my wife and I so much joy and companionship that, while I realize I can't save EVERY cat, there are those that I can save. I am determined that if more people would simply take the time and consider the cat, they would realize that all good gifts are from God and cats are among the best gifts he could have given us. I also believe that cats are Gods way of telling us all that we are and are worthy of being loved.
By rescuing cats, I'm convinced that I might just be caring for something that has a higher purpose.
If not, I still enjoy helping these fine animals.
Sorry the post ran a little long