I’ve had a few trying days in relation to my cat rescue duties. Last week I was asked by one of the Purrfect Cat officers to attempt to trap a litter of kittens and their mother in the yard of a man who called several pet rescue groups looking for help. One of them—not ours, is able to take the kittens but not to trap them, while all our fosters are full up on cats but can manage to find the time to do the trapping.
I took on the job and have been wondering why ever since. I understand that the general public (of which I was a member not too long ago) does not understand how an animal rescue functions, but I’d think that most rational people understand there are limits to how much we can do and what we are willing to do.
During our phone conversations and while picking up each trapped kitten and resetting the trap, it became obvious that he had no clue whatever what it is we do. I began to realize that he saw me as someone who could randomly trap any animal he regarded as a nuisance and take off it somewhere and “find it a home with somebody.” This seemed to include the animals that may very well belong to his neighbors, but happen to come into his yard on occasion.
I pointed out several flaws in his thinking, but he brushed them aside and started to interrupt me with the same kind of assurance and confidence generally demonstrated by a child about to stick a fork in an electrical outlet. Instead, I interrupted him.
I explained that the cats we take we also take care of. I said “I have a dozen cats (slight exaggeration, but I was trying to make a point) that do not belong to me. I have to feed them, house them and take them to the vet when they are sick, and it is me that is paying for that. And anyone else who fosters cats and dogs is doing exactly the same thing, up until the day that animal is adopted; something that often takes months.”
Aside from all of that, I don’t go around kidnapping pets. Yes, it would be great if everyone kept their animals indoors—or at least out the yards of neighbors who do not want them there, but I can’t carry them off just because someone let Socks pee on your azaleas. His regard for the pets of others became very clear during my most recent conversation with him. He called to say that a brown-striped cat was in the yard and he thought it might be the mother cat.
I looked at the cage on my patio containing the black cat I trapped three days before in his yard; the one he said at the time was the mother cat. Aside from a lesbian cat couple who adopts, there isn’t a scenario I can think of in which these kittens could have ended up with two mothers. I asked him about the black cat and he said I should take this one, too, you know, just in case.
I like to think I was diplomatic, but I’m pretty sure I sounded seriously impatient and annoyed. In the course of two minutes I reviewed just what it is we do, and then explained that each time I trapped an adult female cat in his yard I would have to take it to a vet for examination to determine whether or not it was spayed (and thereby, potentially the kittens’ mother), and that this would be at my own expense. I also told him that any cat that had been spayed was presumably someone’s pet and would have to be let loose in the exact place I trapped it: his yard.
He didn’t like that too much. But you know what? I don’t like that I am sitting here waiting for a vet to call me so I can find out if that poor black cat was in fact a pet that I unwittingly kidnapped.
Charles on behalf of Purrfect Cat Rescue