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- Animal Rights & Welfare
Me and My Cats
She wandered up one day after I moved to town. Sat down and looked me in the eyes. I thought she belonged to someone on the block and when I reached to pet her she backed away as if to say, look but don't touch me.
The next day and the next after that she would come to the porch area where I sat reading a book in the swing and just sit there and look at me, occasionally making a meow sound. She wasn't skinny so I didn't want to start feeding her if she belonged to somebody else.
As the days went by though, I began to understand that she wanted food, it wasn't affection she wanted as she was afraid of me and skitted away when I walked by. She seemed to know she'd found a sucker in the neighborhood.
I put out a water dish and some kibbles and we got into the routine, and by that time, I'd figured it out, that she must be an abandoned cat, as she knew people had grub, and she still had enough meat on her bones where she didn't seem like she'd been born in the wilds. So I decided I had myself a pet even if I'd not planned on having another pet at this stage of my life. I'd always had dogs and cats and even about 50 chickens once, ducks, boarded horses.
I had some experience with this thing we call a food chain, and the survival of the fittest, in relationship to coyotes eat cats, and the coon eat the ducks, or try their best! And so on and etc. It was hard protecting something from something else that was hungry.
Soon I discovered my new companion was pg. I quickly boarded up the undersides of my mobile home as I figured one pet was quite enough to feed, water and worry over. It never crossed my mind that Bullhead City, Arizona has an over-abundance of feral cats and no program in place to trap, spay or neuter, and release, TNR or TSR I think it's called. Phoenix and San Diego do have this program.
Missy, I'll call her. She was bound and determined to get under my mobile and that's exactly what she did. One day I look out the window and there 6 little guys frisking around on my patio.
I grew fond of watching them play despite my anxiety that I might end up being one of those little old ladies who dies all alone in her bed with 1,000 cats all around her. All quite illegal of course as the rules say we can only have two cats.
But these are not really my cats I would sit and reason. They just sort of showed up..All of the cats were gray tigers and one all black guy with yellow eyes I feel in love with.
One day the black one stopped coming around. I wondered why and then I had a dream that he'd found himself a home and he was thanking me for providing for him in his early weeks, and wanted me to know the new owners had taken him inside, and they too, loved black cats. It was a nice dream and I believed it. He was different, in that he was less afraid of humans and could be coaxed indoors with a piece of chicken, so the dream was believable.
I hand painted a sign Free Kittens To Good Homes, stuck it by the mail box and had the whole town laughing at me. It seems, I'm not the only one has cats being born under their mobile.
I contact Animal Control to discover every year, maybe twice a year the town overloads the shelter with kittens. There's not enough space to keep them nor caretakers to care for them and they said that feral cats are too wild to be put up for adoption as they tend to scratch and bite when held. So if I brought the cats in, they said, they would stay most likely only 4 days and then they would be put to sleep.
It seemed to me my cats had a better chance then at survival if I did not elicit aide from Animal Control at all. duh.
We really need the trap, fix and release plan here in Bullhead City. I contacted Phoenix and they said they would do it for $10 to $20 a cat, whatever I could afford, but I'd have to haul all 11 of them (another litter popped up) down to Phoenix.
I live on less than $500 a month. I'm not about to haul anything anywhere. I'm still researching the problem. Catching them is not a problem. I simply go get a roasted chicken, open my door and here they are, then I quietly close the door while their chowing. But have to be real sneaky and quick about it.
What I wanted to share really today is a smile with you all. What I did is take in 4 of the smallest of a new litter because of their calico coloring too, and one gray tabby that was more playful and loving then all the others. That would be Miss Prissy.
I gave the only male to my daughter, who informs me it was hell training him to be an indoor cat, but he is now sleeping in her bed and making contented noises, so I hear.
That leaves me with 3 indoor cats and 7 outdoor cats. After having them in the house with me for several months, I decided to open the front door and see if when they went outside, they would turn instantly wild again.
They tiptoed ever so carefully to the porch nervously and into the yard to smell the plants; they ran back and forth from the house to the yard. I thought they'd run away.
After enjoying the yard a bit they came back in and went under the bed, their favorite sleeping place as if to say, we're staying, and there's nothing you can do about it!
I had this theory, that if you love something, you set it free. If it doesn't come back to you it was never yours in the first place.
Mine came back, so I guess they are mine.