It’s understandable, but sometimes very frustrating for us, that our reach throughout the community and our resources, are very different from what some members of the public perceive. This weekend that point was driven home for me in three very different conversations.
The first person I spoke with assumed our group was affiliated with a larger organization of some kind and asked me if we were sponsored by state or county. I told him “neither.” He followed up with “But you’re part of SPCA, right?” I said we were not. It went on this way for a minute or two. The confusion stemmed from our location in Newpark Mall itself. The guy was surprised that a small, donation-funded group like ours could manage to maintain a comfortable, [reasonably] well organized store as we do.
I explained to him that we are lucky enough to have not only dedicated volunteers who keep that store functioning as it should, but a management team overseeing the mall who value our presence there. We maintain our store, clean it, pay the utilities, do our own repairs; but we could never afford rent on that space without Management’s generosity.
The above conversation stemmed from confusion and did not result in frustration, but the next two exchanges were vexing. First was someone needing help with a group of free roaming cats that threatened to overtake an apartment complex. A few abandoned cats, unspayed and allowed to reproduce, a few more dumped by people who see the others; and it soon grows beyond what one person can deal with. I offered low-cost spay & neuter vouchers, resources for traps, the names of a couple of feral organizations. . . and that’s all. They extended their thanks, but I could feel their disappointment at the limitations of what we can do.
The final conversation was the most frustrating—and infuriating, of all. Last month we took in two pregnant cats. They would live in our foster homes, deliver, nurse and wean their kittens, then be returned to where the came from once they were both spayed. The kittens would remain with us until adopted. This weekend, the woman we took one of the pregnant cats from, came into the store and announced she did not want it back. This is an adult cat who is not very social and will most likely be hard to adopt. Not a foster cat we would take on without serious consideration.
More than one person had explained our program to this woman (I was one of them) so there is no chance she misunderstood what was expected of her. We agreed to do our part and now she is refusing to do hers. I called her a liar to her face, which is—by any measure—not the best approach, but in my head I called her far worse. Damn near every day, a member of Purrfect Cat Rescue goes out on limb for someone needing help, but our ability to do so is reliant upon the members of the community who do the same for us. This woman is not a member of the “community,” just a member of the public; and I suspect she does not understand the difference.
Thanks to all who do understand the difference and make our work possible. Your reward for sticking with us is the photos below.