Monday, March 23, 2009
Greetings from Caroline
I never knew what a feral cat was until I moved out east into the country. It was out here that I first noticed feral cats. I didn't understand why there were so many and why NO ONE did anything about it. There was so much cat roadkill. I was disgusted and confused why this even existed. I noticed 80 feral cats at a country gas station. Kittens running around, sick cats, injured cats ~ you name it. It was all there front and center staring me right in the face. I went home that night wondering what I could do. I wanted to know who is helping these cats and would they please hurry up and do something. I wanted someone to do something. I never even thought of me doing anything, just someone else.
When I went back there the next day, I saw a freshly run over cat in the gas station parking lot. People just ignored the cat and drove around it like it didn't exist. Nobody even checked to see if just maybe it was alive. Right at that instant I realized that the person I hoped was out there to help these cats didn't exist. And that if I wanted to do something, I WAS to become that person. So I did. I bought a trap and started trapping. Sadly, I was met with alot of resistance. I was surrounded by redneck mentality. People used to laugh at me and poke fun out of me, telling me I couldn't do it. I could NEVER trap all those cats. I was messing with nature. Who was I to play God and spay/neuter. Huh??? What??? Well, that was 10 years ago. I haven't stopped since.
And yes, I did trap every cat out there. One or two at a time. That's all I could do. I know some people frown on 1 cat here, 1 cat there, but really that was all I could handle. I was learning as I went along. I made alot of mistakes and I wish I had a support group, but these cats had absolutely no representation and they needed me.
As time went on an interesting thing happened. The rednecks didn't poke fun anymore. Isn't that interesting... Instead of being called a "Do Gooder," they now address me as "ma'am." Some of the rednecks have eveb "spaded" their own cats with the free clinics offered in Sarasota. Wow, attitudes changed out east, huh?
Fast forward 10 years. My colony is healthy and stable. they are fed every day. I put flea control on those I can touch. I love them and I know they feel it. It's alot of dedication and hard work, but it was all worth it. These cats are my inspiration. I draw strength and a second wind from them when I start to fade and feel hopeless and helpless from other trapping situations in other locations. THEY are the ones who give me hope that i can help other felines and to carry on with this important and thankless work.
I think back to the day I found the cat laying dead in the busy gas station parking lot. I say his short life had extreme value. Because of his sacrifice, he continues to save countless other felines. He ignited a fire in me that I didn't know existed. His life was not for nothing. If it wasn't for that fateful day, I'd still be waiting for that ONE person to show up that never even existed in the first place.
I end with this famous quote: Never underestimate the power of one.