Calling For Public Awareness of The Lives of Feral Cats

Partial blindness from scarring

Looking out my window, only about 50 feet away, I see an overflowing dumpster, where four families try to cram a week’s worth of garbage. With the lid not able to close down tightly, out pops a kitten, it’s not the moldy chicken leg in her mouth that bothers me, but the small white maggots falling from her lip. Just another day for this 4 month old beauty, whose mom is off giving birth to her half brothers and sisters. I go to chase after her with a bowl of milk hoping she’ll drop the garbage in her mouth, but she’s afraid of me, and all people. She one of the babies in this world that have never been pet or talked to.

As I follow her back through a path of sticker bushes, I hear another cat howling. I look beneath a bush and see another kitten rolling around in pain and convulsing. I call animal control to report another stray has been hit by a car, as I instantly recall the stray cat a few months back, that after getting hit ran into the woods to die. To my surprise, even though his spine was twisted one way and his leg the other, his face slightly dented on one side and he dragged his back foot, one day he walked out of those woods with nothing more than a limp.

But back to this cat, Animal Control scooped him up, put him in a compartment in his truck and said, I doubt this cat was hit by a car and made it this far away from the road. I wondered what happened then, did he fall out a tree, get kicked by farm animals? I walked back towards my yard and could smell the dumpster, but the odor wasn’t coming from the dumpster, it was coming from my dog house. I looked in, and there lay 2 stray cats, side by side, I said aww! how cute, but they remained unusually still. No movement at all. I reached in, then jerked away as I was not expecting to feel solid, cold bodies. What kills two healthy cats at the same moment. Why was this kitten in the back rolling around in pain moaning. Poisoning? Surely accidental, who would purposely cause pain to these homeless, helpless babies?

Could there be something in the dumpster? I put on my gloves and threw back the partly lifted lids. After the swarm of flies passed my face, I turned my head slightly away from the bulk of the odor, while I move around empty cans, diapers, tissue, mail, pizza boxes, wrapping paper, milk cartons, butter wrappers, paper towels and something that looks like it was once dinner. I have to call my vet to see what she thinks, so I head back towards my house. I go inside and remove my gloves but I am so sickened by all I just saw, smelled and touched that I continue to scrub my hands with, bleach, soap, shampoo and hot water, dry them and start over again, before I reach for my phone. As my vet’s assistant answers the phone, I compose myself and ask, what kills an otherwise healthy cat with no symptoms except for pain and convulsions? They had no signs of any of the other diseases that plague unvaccinated cats, and no apparent injuries. She said "could be rabies, could be poison".

I stared out the window again, this time to see a red fox trot by with some kids chasing him. I thought "could a fox have gotten them, oh no wait then they would have open wounds". I don’t remember hanging up the phone, I was thinking about kittens that died a day apart on the property last year and the large number of strays that died of kidney failure and wondered if my window wasn’t big enough. A police car pulls up and asks if I saw kids running. As I pointed out back, he told me they were shooting at the farm animals in the back. I wanted to be shocked, but I was still stunned.

I made over 40 phone calls that day, an expensive toxicology report may reveal the poison, but only if you are looking for that specific poison. There are fines for those who poison cats and jail time if the cats die, but proving it is another story, you practically have to catch them in the act on surveillance tape.

This is a true story. I wish it had a happy ending. But these are just some of the many challenges that feral and stray cats face everyday. They cannot “take care” of themselves. They deserve a safe, warm bed, food, love, protection and medical care. This article was written by Frances Bleuet-owner of Nutrition for Weight Loss and Treasurer of “Plumsted Twp’s Trap, Neuter Return Program” for feral cats. Support you local TNR.

Plumstedtwptnr@aol.com

Little Batman with food on his nose!
Little Batman with food on his nose!

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