Yesterday I shared with you the pain that’s in my heart about all the cats struggling to find help to get out of kill shelters or off the streets into a safe, loving home. I always feel torn about sharing things that are deeply painful. It’s never my goal to make any reader cry, nor even stir up “the pot,” for that matter. But…I also have to write about painful topics to purge my anguish and despair or I just can’t go on.
What surprises me is the reaction I got. I feared reprise or anger, but I got support, love, a few “hurrahs!” Of everything I’ve written, this one post grew legs I didn’t anticipate. I didn’t even consider that my voice reflected the feelings of so many other people who selflessly offer everything they have and do whatever they can to help cats in need.
I’d like to say “Thank you” to everyone who has been in my shoes, is in my shoes and who is contemplating taking on the role of cat rescuer, cat foster home, cat advocate. I say thank you because you don’t get thanked often enough. I’d also like to say this world is off-kilter if people who do what we do can’t make a decent living along the way, too.
Rescue always seems to mean sacrifice for the benefit of others. That’s not a bad thing, but it would be nice if the path was better paved and less difficult to tread.
Today’s letter is about Nico and all the cats like him who found rescue and safe harbor.
My life is filled with “shoulds.” I “should” work on finding a new client or I “should work on updating Kitten Associate’s web site, then do some laundry.” I will get to all these things, I hope, sooner or later, but I’m easily distracted.
I saw your photo in an email. A nice lady was asking for help. She said you were going to be euthanized because her shelter, try as they might, just didn’t have the room to hold you any longer. Other cats were arriving and they deserved a chance, too. You had your time. Now your time is up.
I look at your photo. I don’t know anything about you other than you’re a male. I don’t know if you’re sick, how old you are, if you’ll like being around people.
I look in my bank account. We just got a nice donation. I add up in my head how much I think it will cost to take care of you. I’m guessing it will be about $300.00. I have that much money, but I have 14 other cats who are ahead of you, whose needs must come first.
I add up in my head how much more I will need for the others. Most of them have what they need other than food. I try to figure out if I can afford to help you.
I look at your photo again. You have a quality about you that is appealing. Something in my heart tells me other people would agree and if I like you surely they would like you, too. I bet I can get you adopted.
Two days passed.
I can’t stop thinking about you. There are others who need help, but you really stand out to me. I really don’t have room to take you, but I’m going to give you a chance. I hope I’m not wrong. I hope to God you don’t test positive for Feline Leukemia. If you have FIV+ that’s not great, either.
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. A very hungry young kitty who is eating because of donations received to my non-profit rescue, Kitten Associates.
I hope you don’t end up being unfriendly or that you hate other cats. You have to get along with everyone until we find you a forever home where you won’t have many cats to live with.
I sent out a few emails on your behalf. I made bargains with other rescuers. I texted folks who could help me, help you because I live 1000 miles from your cage at the shelter. I stayed up too late again, but I didn’t have time to spare. The puzzle pieces came together creating a map of your rescue, how and when it would take place. Is it too late? Did I wait too long?
The next morning I find out. No. It’s not too late. They told me the cat is waiting for you. He has no belongings to pack up. You can just put him in a cat carrier and have your volunteer sign a few papers. He takes the cat away from that place.
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. Nico finally gets some rest and love in his new foster home.
Then I wait again for the call that tells me your test results. You tested negative. You have ear mites. You have fleas. It’s all treatable. It’s not expensive. So far, so good.
You need a name. I ask my friend Ingrid. She chooses Nico. Nico it is. Hello, Nico. That’s all I have to do for now. A nice man drives you to your new foster home where you can rest and get something good to eat. I don’t even get the chance to welcome you to my rescue or finally see you in the light of day, instead of in a photo online.
My job is done. Your life is saved. I will make sure you get a home where they won’t ever give up on you or put you back into a cage in a kill shelter. I won a small victory and I will continue to fight for you by saying no to some adopter-candidates and only yes to the one-the one who will love you forever this time.
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. Flame point sister have a rescue pending but their sisters don't. You can see them below.
I look at my email and there is an urgent plea about four kittens; two are flame point Siamese and two are lovely orange tabby girls. They’re at a kill shelter in the south. I should get to work. I should do the laundry and not write more emails or make more calls. It’s getting late. I need some sleep.
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. 5 month old sweet sisters need a rescue from Newton Animal Control in Covington, Georgia.
The laundry can wait.
The work can wait.
They cannot wait.