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Need advice regarding my cat involvement

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey everybody,
As many of you know I've been involved with a small TNR/rescue group for about a year-and-half (it's how I ended up with Pete and Claire!). Anyway, my role has been pretty limited - mostly socializing feral kittens, handling adoptions, some transport. Lately though, I've been feeling like I've become "too involved." It's not just the time factor, but the emotional one. I get so attached to the cats and worry about them so much. It's been keeping me up at night and distracting me from work and stuff at home. Don't get me wrong, it can be so rewarding and I completely support this group's efforts. I'm at a loss regarding what to do. I don't want to cut the ties because the group REALLY needs help. At the same time, I'm neglecting other things and that can't continue. Then there's the fact, that I really feel the need to somehow be involved in cat rescue/TNR because I believe in it so much. Maybe I just need a break, but this isn't the time with all the moms/kittens we have to care for. I should add that I just offered to foster a mom/kittens. What was I thinking?
Any ideas? Thanks for listening anyway.
post #2 of 18
I'm sorry you are feeling overwhelmed right now I don't see how you can do that type of work and not be emotionally involved. You obviously adore kitties, otherwise you would'nt care soo much about them. I would have a housefull of cats if I did any sort of fostering! So to you! I really don't know what to say in regards to taking time off, you are the only one who knows what you can handle. Again, to you, you have helped so many already
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Chichismom - thanks for your encouragment and kind words.

Sorry for my rather emotional and overdramatic post, everyone. It's just how I react to things sometimes. I'd just had news from our coordinator about an outbreak of some kind of virus in our main foster home that has a number of the cats sick. This includes a feral mom who gave birth to two kittens last night and is now refusing to feed them. Our coordinator has many years of experience in caring for kittens/cats and has already been in contact with our vet, so she has a handle on the situation, but is feeling overwhelmed herself. The adults are responding to treatment, but we're very concerned about the kittens.

Again, sorry for getting so emotional about this.
post #4 of 18
Just remember that everything that you have done up to now has been a gift to these animals that need you. You have given more then most people do. Maybe you need to give yourself the gift of a little time and then you will be ready to dive back in again.

Good luck.
post #5 of 18
Eileen You are an angel on earth to both humans and felines. Your worry over this is a testament to just how wonderful you are.

I agree that your help with the rescue group is inavluable. However, as with everything else, sometime it's good to take a break for some "me time." How would the group react if you took a month or two off to recooperate, emotionally?
post #6 of 18
Sorry to hear about the nasty virus going around I hope the kittens make it through ok. It always seems like all of a sudden, we get overwhelmed, all it takes is one little thing too. I think it's good that you are letting this stress out. Alot of times, especially when we are taking care of someone/ something, we tend to hold things in until its' too late and we just can't handle it anymore. The work you do is SOOOOO emotional, don't ever feel ashamed to express your feelings. We TCSers need each other more than we'll ever know
post #7 of 18
We all feel over whelmed at times. It is nothing to feel bad about, but you may need to re-group and re-focus your time and attention or you may just need a break.

In general, woman are prone to carry things with them even when they aren't with the problem. Which causes additional stress and makes it very hard to recouperate from situations that drain us mentally and physically. A well deserved break may be just what the doctor ordered.

God uses those who are willing and there are many, many needs in the world today. I believe that he did charge us to take care of home and families first though. They are dependant upon us too and are our support group to help others. Just a thought.
post #8 of 18
Elicon,

I hope you read my good intentions in my words, im often blamed for being to blunt. anyway,

I completely understand what you are experiencing.

I am just coming off some "middletown's time" myself as i HAD to take a break.
I had to take a break due to a little pink nose whiskered smile with white and grey fur.
Jezz it still hurts. anyway.

If the hopes and worries of these loving defensless creatures didnt haunt you at times, you're in the wrong place.

People always tell me, "you cant save them all" i usually say Bullcrud and try. I try and try. I almost always find a little poster kitty for my efforts. i pour every ounce of spirit and love i have into helping that cat. I neglect work (like im doing now), sometimes my wife and kids, mostly my friends and my feline family at home. I worry. I wake up all night, I pace, i have this general feeling of "somethings not right". I fixate on trying to help that one cat. Happily; most of the time my efforts pay off. Sometimes. They dont.

Welcome heartbreak and emotional devistation.

I try until it makes me physically sick. Thats when i am forced to realize that I cant save them all. I dont have enough $$ to rescue and take every little pink nosed nuzzle that comes my way. then i just break down. At that point i have to step away from the rescue efforts. at least for a short time. Mourn. Greeve, but mostly.

Take count of your blessings!!!!!

It is SO important in your everyday life to count your blessings that you have in your life. It doesnt have to be a religious thing, but that helps me,
but just start thinking of all the GOOD that is in your life. count them 1 by 1.
That one little realization that the blessings far outweigh the burdens or stresses is what takes me back to save another.
It takes the burden off your shoulder and replaces it with joy.

Male or Female; its in our nature to love and to care for something defenseless looking to us for help.
What you are feeling is normal. Dont let it make you feel worse by thinking that you are not equiped for this task.
You are FAR better than 3/4's of the worlds population cause you are actually doing something to make it better!!!
If you need time away. Take it. when you got back, you will be ready to take on the world again!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for listening and understanding. Middletown, thank you for being blunt. I needed that! So much of your post rings true for me and I appreciate your willingness to open up about your experiences.

I think a break is definitely in order once we get through kitten season. Sometimes I look at what people like our coordinator do - works fulltime and still cares for all the cats - and am just amazed at her dedication. I think one thing I'm lacking is her objectivity. Not that she doesn't care - she cares deeply but, over time, I think she's been able to sensitize herself to some extent. She's had to do that to keep herself going. Just in the past year, I've become much more objective and realistic, but still have a long way to go. I get so attached to any of the cats who are with us for any length of time - often getting fixated on doing everything possible to help one in particular. I know I can't save them all, but I want (need) to help those that I can. I blame it all on the the little black cat pictured in my signature - didn't even like cats before Katie came along!

Last week it was all my crazy guy dreams. This week it's the cats. What an emotional rollercoaster! Thanks for putting up with me.

I need Taco Bell!!!
post #10 of 18
It's very admirable of you to give so much dedication.
Maybe try cutting back your time to only couple of days. If anything involves lack of sleep, then you do need to step away for your own mental sanity.
Believe me I've done it before and have wound up in the therapist's couch everytime!

My advice would jsut cut back for a couple of weeks, then once you feel like you're back on track take a vacation and then go back to the TNR.
post #11 of 18
Oh i know. Kitten season is the reason i had to take a break.
Good lord the kittens. so many of them. i could not face another box full of kittens dropped off. Half starved, infested and clinging to life.
People have NO respect for their cats by leaving them to breed at will.


I know what you mean regarding your coordinator, our vet tech who is such trooper she seems unstoppable. but everyonce in a while she lets the toil it takes show.

I just had a very similar conversation with her as i noticed that her smile was gone. vanished. her heart was so full of distress it was making her sour. After a year of nonstop, no break, no vacation, she started to question "why?". Why she chose to be a educated to help animals only to have to put so many sick ones asleep.
Even those saints of the shelter and rescue groups need a break.
I think the stoic nature of these people feel is normal. Normal until it desenstizes them.
Which i hope it doesnt do in our case as she is such a good person.

Measure yourself to yourself, not someone else.
And keep on helping those kitties.


To bad I missed the crazy Guy dreams thread.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just heard from our coordinator and she turned down my offer to foster, reminding me why we'd decided I shouldn't foster anymore for the time being (the getting too attached issue). I'm actually very relieved.
post #13 of 18
Eileen!! You're a nun! You should know that God doesn't give you more than you can handle!! Though, have you thought about incorporating TNR/Rescue in your religious affairs? Isn't there some way to maybe have that be your community involvement? After all, aren't cats some of god's creatures too?

Hang in there sweetheart! I'm sure You will find your path in this.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlecat
Eileen!! You're a nun! You should know that God doesn't give you more than you can handle!! Though, have you thought about incorporating TNR/Rescue in your religious affairs? Isn't there some way to maybe have that be your community involvement? After all, aren't cats some of god's creatures too?

Hang in there sweetheart! I'm sure You will find your path in this.
Thanks. I really do believe that - just need to be reminded of it sometimes.
Actually my community has been incredibly supportive of my cat efforts. Of course it helps that our superior is a cat person. She has three inside cats (all rescues), five ferals she also claims as her own, and two neglected neighborhood cats that she feeds. She shares my belief that because animals are God's creatures, we're called to care for them. I've known some religious communities that make people give up their pets when they enter. With my community, it was never an issue. It's been a 'Love me, love my cats' sort of thing! Not all of the other sisters are animal lovers, but they respect the fact that I am and support. I'm pretty lucky!
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to apologize to everybody for my big, whiny, baby sobfest of the other day. Now that I've had the chance to think about things I've come to the rather obvious conclusion that just because something's hard for you, that doesn't mean you avoid it or bail out. I could never do that. So, thanks for listening and helping me sort things out!
post #16 of 18
Eileen, everyone needs to vent, scream, cry, and rant sometimes when things get too overwhelming. Be glad that you have a place where you can do that and have people here who completely understand why you feel that way, and can help you see the big picture again.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
Eileen, everyone needs to vent, scream, cry, and rant sometimes when things get too overwhelming. Be glad that you have a place where you can do that and have people here who completely understand why you feel that way, and can help you see the big picture again.
Thanks, Heidi! I'm so grateful for everyone at TCS at times like this. You guys are awesome!!!
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilcon
Just wanted to apologize to everybody for my big, whiny, baby sobfest of the other day. Now that I've had the chance to think about things I've come to the rather obvious conclusion that just because something's hard for you, that doesn't mean you avoid it or bail out. I could never do that. So, thanks for listening and helping me sort things out!
Eileen, there's only so much you can do, and if you're overwhelmed, it's probably best to limit your activities to a few areas and give 100% there. I'm allergic to cats, and have asthma attacks whenever I'm at our local shelter. I used to feel guilty about not doing more, but have found that I can make a real contribution by doing such a mundane task as looking for the best food buys on the Internet, and sponsoring special-needs kitties or spay/neuters. Stop kicking yourself! And everybody has to let off steam, so don't chastise yourself about that.
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