It’s tough enough to find homes for the cats we already have at the shelter but when kitten season comes around, we’re inundated with more of these babies. We do what we can to socialize the new ones as they come in so they’re ready to interact with other cats and with people. It’s good for us as animal lovers to bring a skittish kitten around but it’s even better for them because a happy cat is usually a cat who will be adopted.
Thing is, as a shelter, we can’t always control how the cats come to us. Some are from various neighborhoods and we’re called in to help trap, neuter and release. Sometimes, the ones we trap and neuter are so friendly or docile we simply can’t release them again and try to find adoptive parents for them. It’s a great feeling to know you’ve rescued a cat off the street and have found it a safe and loving home.
What’s not such a great feeling is finding animals dumped at our door.
Sure, people mean well. They think the cats they dump will be better off with us – and maybe they will. But it costs money to house and care for these cats. If someone wants to rescue a cat and decides to leave it with us, I wish they’d mail us a donation check, too. Instead, we’re left with the tab. As a shelter that gets it funds solely from donations, paying surprise bills like this is not the easiest thing to do.
Take this past Monday night… I’m driving to the shelter and I get a call from my co-volunteer. She’s scared. There’s a cardboard box precariously placed mid-way down the stairs to the shelter. It’s wrapped and wrapped with black electrical tape and the only ‘air holes’ are handle cutouts in the cardboard. There’s no sound from the box and no movement. There’s no indication of how long that box has been there. Hours, perhaps, in 78 degree weather? Imagine being alone and sealed in a box for hours.
I get there moments later, tear the tape from the box and peer inside. Two wide and frightened eyes stared up at me from way in the corner behind a small mound of ‘bedding’ (towels). It’s a kitten. A tiny calico, silent as can be.
That tiny seven-week-old calico, who we’ve named Lady and I call Lady Di, cost us an easy $100.00 right out of the box. Literally. She needed a flea bath, flea treatments, a fecal to test for worms, blood work to test for fatal and contagious diseases, and an overall exam. We want our kitties healthy. Now we have to house and feed her until she’s adopted and if that doesn’t happen before she’s 6 months old, we’re dolling out dough to pay for her to be spayed.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s what a shelter is for. But please, if you think a cat will be better off at a shelter and decide to leave that animal at the shelter door, be sure the animal is safe AND include a note stating your intention to send a donation… and then follow through.
Meanwhile, Lady Di is at my house being socialized. She’s still scared and hiding and my cats are not giving her an easy time of it, either. She’ll learn to hold her own and she’ll learn to play and trust. My job is to teach her while keeping her safe, fed, clean and secure.
I just hope I’m able to give her up when our ‘training’ period is over. She’s a precious little thing and easily wormed her way into our hearts. Take a look at her and tell me if she doesn’t do the same for you.
She is sure a cutie. Not quite a cute a my baby but then I can hardly expect another kittten to compare, can I?
Oh my gosh she is so cute! Those eyes! Do cats ship well across the country? (JK) Oh I miss having a cat.
She is a cutie. And the way she snuggles into my arms and purrs now is sooooooo sweet. She was too afraid before but has grown more comfortable already. And now… I await a photo of your cute little baby. 🙂
Isn’t she precious?! And, uh, no. Methinks cats do not do well during the shipping process. lol. Although… recently a cat did manage to stow away in someone’s suitcase, fly across country and make it into their hotel room with only a little dehydration, so… who knows?! 🙂
Debbie, the good work you do is amazing. Lucky Lady Di!! What a lovely pastel calico.
What an amazing job you’re doing!
There’s a large group of us who volunteer at the shelter. Each one of us brings a unique talent (obsession) to the job and, fortunately, it all benefits the cats. They way those cats greet us each day we go to ‘work’ is what keeps us going back.
It feels good to be at the shelter. Sometimes, it’s frustrating, like when we get several cats adopted and then someone dumps off a few more, but in the end, we know we’re doing a good thing there and so the work and emotional toil is truly worth it.
I just think of the alternative to the shelter. Yes, it may be relatively expensive to have a kitten dropped off without explanation (or donation) but it beats the alternative. I’m glad y’all are there and the cats are lucky to have you.
Oh, my gosh, Debora, she’s beautiful. I love Calicos. Look at those sparkly eyes! If I wasn’t allergic…
Thanks for posting her pics, she looks like a real sweetie!!!
The alternative is bleak for sure. And please, don’t get me wrong, we are a shelter after all, so we take in strays and unwanted cats. It’s a responsibility we took on with eyes wide open. It’s just so disturbing to see a cat dumped this way. This past August, someone put two cats in a plastic domed carrier and left them at our door. The weather was typical NY summer weather, an easy 90, and the cats were dangerously overheated. One of them, about four months old, never fully recovered and had to be put down. The other survived and is cared for at the shelter. We paid the bill for both because that’s what the shelter is for. But the money used to put down an otherwise healthy cat could have been used to medicate one of our older, non-adoptable residents. I know people mean well and only want these babies safely off the streets. It just doesn’t always work out the way they intend.
She’s a beautiful calico for sure. My fist cat was a calico and she found me. 🙂 It was mid-February and she was alone, hungry and out in the elements. She was a street-smart and toughened cookie who showed me what life was really like ‘on the streets’, and I showed her it wouldn’t be that way anymore. Her name was Tasha and she taught me about patience in love. Even after all these years, I still miss her.