After several frustrating weeks of showing up at the door to receive the donation of food for the cats and coming up short, we have decided to formally stop active rescue. We will remain a sanctuary for the cats who have been rescued or dumped here, maintain our non-profit status but it would be foolhardy of me to increase the population here when I have no idea if the food that once was flowing fairly regularly can be maintained. Last week, their contribution was one jug of cat litter and a container of Temptations.
We have 8 indoor cats- 3 of which are semi-feral and then our outside kitties which number 17. Although it breaks my heart daily to tell callers: “No, I am sorry we cannot take your cat(s) kitten(s).” it is getting easier to do so. In the past, sob stories would melt our heart and off I would go on a rescue that would add to the population here. I can’t in all honesty do that anymore.
At Mike’s suggestion the other day, I went up to the attic and pulled out the 15 file boxes full of folders that contain the lives of the cats that have come under our roof. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of these creatures who lived better, found love and warmth and went on to better homes because of our efforts. That speaks to my heart and looking through the files and the before and after photos brought back a ton of memories and some tears for those who did not make it. That’s our legacy. We leave rescue knowing that no one is coming in to take over and step up and walk this incredibly rewarding and sometimes painful path. A few have tried, but I guess their commitment wavered in the end and they went on to just make a difference with one or two strays instead of dozens and that’s okay. This path is not for the faint-hearted.
We still have debt with the vet ($600.00 currently). I did manage to catch the orange boy who turned out to test positive for Feline Leukemia and he went on to heaven to have a better life. The other four are keeping their distance and sadly, they look as hammered as orange kitty did. The vets also suspected orange boy had FIP because what I thought might be a pregnancy turned out to be fluid in the belly.
I will be blogging as much as possible. But at this time, with Mike’s leg once again becoming challenging- I am concentrating on training Kota to be a full-fledged service dog for him. I will also still be trying to find placement for the outside kitties- but they are semi-feral so barns would be the best bet for them. Although there are people who want barn cats, it is hard to find a person that wants to put the time and effort into keeping the cat in a cage long enough for the cat to adjust to the new home. Most people just think, you find a barn, dump a cat in it and it eats all the mice and gets fat and stays around. Doesn’t work that way- you have to still feed barn cats, de-worm and de-flea and keep the cat contained for at least 45 days to make it work.
My friend Midge is coming over next week to take photos of the cats that now call this sanctuary home so I can update the current files. My brain and heart is currently full of names of the cats who have been here and gone: Hurricane Charley, Bravo, Stryker, Hissy, Shell, Funny Face, Sheldon, Prowler, Rocky, Everest, Taylor, the names go on and on.
We did good here. We gave those with little chance the best chance of all to have a normal, loving life. We will from here on in, be operating on a shoestring budget- because face it- it is hard enough to ask for money for the special needs kitty, but when you have older, settled cats that have called this place home for years- most people won’t give if the need isn’t that great. For me that was the hardest part of rescue. Asking for money from folks, some of who are just trying to keep their own heads above water.
I’ve met some extraordinary people both in person and online and I have also been exposed to the dark parts of a person’s soul during this 35 year journey. God has helped me keep it all together and for that, and so much else that remains unspoken, I will be eternally grateful.
Sad Update- it looks like Tripp, the seven month old kitten that has attached himself to Mike’s hip has PICA. I will be taking him in to the vet tomorrow morning but I have caught him chewing large holes inside of blankets and eating socks and anything else he fancies in the past couple of weeks. This disorder is thought to be genetic but they aren’t sure. The problem is that I just discovered an electric blanket stowed away in the closet with a hole in it and some of the wires are chewed. There are no missing pieces of wire to be seen and Tripp is vomiting. 🙁 This is a kitty that sleeps with Mike daily and nightly so prayers will be welcomed and much-needed.
Tripp and Kota- best buds