Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I’m one of those crazy old women with no kids and a houseful of cats. Yep, that’s me.
I’m not in animal rescue, however. Just by circumstance, I’ve had a lot more experience with stray and feral cats than with the rescue of tame animals. If you’ve never seen a wild cat when it’s threatened, you really can’t imagine just how savage they can be. I once lured a feral cat onto an enclosed porch and closed the door behind her. It was the first time in her life she’d ever been contained in a “room” and it wasn’t pretty . . .
These animals live short, dangerous lives. Even if they find someone to feed them, there are plenty of other animals vying for the same food; I’ve seen cats and raccoons eat side-by-side in my garage. I’ve also seen a litter of kittens with their heads chewed off by raccoons. There are lots of predators for stray cats; it’s really quite sad.
It doesn’t take long to realize that spay/neuter efforts are the best thing that mankind can do for these wild animals. Generally, these efforts are made to control the feral populations. Honestly, I do it because I have seen, in my own backyard, just how difficult and violent the lives of these animals are; I know it’s humane to prevent more animals from being born into that life.
Toledo is lucky enough to be the home to Humane Ohio, a program that fixes animals at great prices. The price for feral/unfriendly strays is a mere $25! They also operate an animal food bank for folks who need help with paying for pet food.
I have trapped and fixed many feral/stray cats at my house; enough that the population has died out and I now only have the tamed ones living inside. However, there’s a guy down the street who is feeding a bunch of them. I’m helping him get them, one by one, down to Humane Ohio to be fixed. I love helping out this way!
Most cities have a program like this. I’ve found that many smaller communities still don’t grasp the scope of the feral cat problem or the service that is provided by people who care for them. My township’s supervisor once wrote an article in the township’s newsletter, which accused people who “have a yardful of stray cats” of being bad neighbors. Sigh . . . It’s usually impossible to drag these old-school dinosaurs into the 21st Century; I’ve found dealing with an existing program to be much easier than fighting city hall.
All it takes to help out is a $20 live trap. You can learn more at www.alleycat.org/