Well, its been quite the year. I had only three days off from feeding at 16 different locations in the inner city at 4:30 am. - all 60+ cats that I can see, plus throw in a few raccoons, opossums, rats, and birds! and thats a lot of critters! Total rescues: 2 puppies and.... I would have to say maybe 70 cats this year. I am waiting on official confirmation of that number from Kristin, but thats what it seems like. I know it was at least 40 in the beginning of August when the fundraiser occurred. I am very proud of this, but it was a lot of hard hard work. I don't even know how many Trap Neuter Returns (TNR) I did, but that was also significant. But truth be told, a lot of those I wound up rescuing and finding homes for. Not a lot, but quite a few. At least the friendly ones...
It was also very hard financially for me. I live in a one income household, and paying the bills to survive, and doing what I do is challenging. I go through at least 22 pounds of dry food per day, and more than a case of wet food a day. I've had some special people help me this year, and for that I am forever grateful. One 16 oz. bag from maybe 8 different people will save me over $100 per week!
To wake at 3 am. and know you HAVE to get up, even when you are in the middle of that cool dream you are having, or are just in a deep, wonderful sleep, you still HAVE to get up, wake yourself up, talk to your own cats and make sure they are fed and well cared for, get the caffeine flowing through the veins, gear up with either a hoodie for the rainstorms (gotta protect my hair!), or gloves, boots and a snow shovel for the snowstorms.
People wonder why I do it, or how I can do it. When you drive up to where you've built some sort of shelter for the animals you feed, and they come RUNNING to you, and you go to their bowls and see them empty, wondering when is the last time they ate since the 24 hours you were there last, you know they depend on you, and you will do everything in your power to be there the next day. Because they are hungry. At most locations, there are an average of three cats. Some have 8, some have 6, some have 4, some have two, but there are so many more lurking in the shadows waiting for you to leave so that they can sneak up and grab a bite before they get chased away by the others because they can be so territorial.
I look at my own cats, and the ones I just rescue, and I say to them 'do you know how lucky you are?' - they usually just look up at me with loving eyes, not saying a word, and they know, I just know they know. And how do they show us gratitude? By hacking up hairballs either on the most expensive floor coverings, or right where you'll step with a bare foot. You have to admit thats talent, especially when you consider how the sound of a cat hacking up a hairball in the night truly makes the whole performance come together. :) By throwing up their food, spraying in a corner when they can, lick each other's butts just before they know you are going to kiss them, and making a big mess in the litter box. Oh, and crowding you on the bed so that you can't move! Yes! This is how they show their love! We love our cats!
The fact is that cats are so special, so appealing and so inspiring and loving as family members that we forgive, forget or ignore any challenges that come with sharing our lives with them. Because we wouldn't have it any other way! They must think we are clumsy too - not many cats trip over people, but we trip over cats. :)
So, if you don't have a cat, please consider adopting one - there are so many out there that want to share their short lives with you. Make it a great new year, with a cat!
Happy New Year everybody!
"Cheers to a new year, and another chance for us to get it right!"