When you do TNR, when you work in Rescue, when you have a non-profit, heck, when you do anything, there’s always something!
Just when you haven’t received a call in a week for help with ferals, and you don’t know if you can fill the slots that you have arranged for that week, Bam! 5 phone calls, a total of 50 cats, and most of your traps are already out trying to get the last one or two of different colonies. Oh, and most of these new calls have potentially pregnant females, so you want to get to them as soon as possible.
A colony that is “done” Bam! they start having health problems – a upper respiratory, an abscess, possible broken limbs, diarrhea that simply will not go away! A marauding, intact male that just stops by to pick fights every once in awhile!
You’ve scheduled and coordinated and gotten the cats to the spay/neuter clinic and Bam! they have a day filled with difficult surgeries and have to hold over the 10 cats that you brought until the next surgery day and on that day you have no available transport, or you already have another 10 scheduled and no way to transport 20 cats back!
The wife/husband/friend of the caretaker says, “This is cruel, how can you keep them in those traps, why aren’t they in carriers?” “They can’t stay in those traps, can’t they go in cages?”
The cats show up in carriers and now you have to transfer an agitated, enormous, male cat into a trap and he has every claw dug into one of the airholes on the carrier!
You’ve been watching your bank balance carefully, Bam! “I have 8 cats in my house, none have been neutered and I have no money.” “I have 15 ferals, neither of us have a job, please help us prevent kittens.”
But, then there’s:
“Thank you for doing my cats, I’m never going to need these again, will you please accept the donation of my two traps?”
“I have a dog crate, can you use it for the cats?”
“I work for a newspaper, can I bring you the copies that would otherwise go to recycling?” “I put a tub on my porch for all my neighbors to give me their newspaper.”
“I work at a company that matches donations, can you give me a receipt to turn in?”
"You’re only asking us for a $30 donation, we’ll do more than that. It’s so great what you do!”
“I’ve been calling everywhere, looking for help, I’m so glad I found you!”
“My sister works for a distributor, can she donate a case of wine for your event?”
Shelters donate carloads of food that they don’t feed their animals, bags of towels when they have too many, carriers when they have extras.
Volunteers get up at 4:30 AM to come pick up the cats to take them to the spay/neuter clinic and go back on that same day to be at that clinic at 5 PM for pick up. Volunteers transport cats to and from caretakers that cannot do it themselves. Volunteers are constantly promoting TNR, soliciting donations, helping to make this all work.
PAWS, day after day, cranks out surgery after surgery to try to “fix” the over-population problem.
The fish market saves the Styrofoam containers for us to build shelters with and the employees are greatly entertained that they are playing a part in helping cats!
A reporter, after seeing an article that implies we are trespassing crazies, calls to interview us and get the real scoop!
A local vet finds a way to only charge us $50 for a dental – with extractions!!!
A cat-lover contacts a well-known artist, who offers to do a benefit for us. A local pub owner agrees to hold the benefit. Area businesses offer to make donations for silent auction items.
Bam! this organization is growing, reaching out to more and more people, connecting people and as a result, the cats are benefiting tremendously.
Every day, there is no telling who is going to be on the other end of that phone call, or what they will need, what their situation is. It is so great to know that we are making a difference!
(The topmost picture is of an ear-tipped cat. Learn more about ear-tipping at the Feral Cat Friends, Inc. website. The second picture is of a drop-trap. Learn how to make and use a drop trap at the Drop Trap Design Bank website.)