As you may know I write a post five days a week, but I had Friday off as a vacation day so I didn't post. I had too much to do. It was also insane due to the publicity I received from the newscast that Channel 13WHAM did on Thursday. What a great piece. LOVE that Jane Flasch! Animal Lover. Although much was cut, a lot was unsaid to the public but what got out there was what was intended. That this is an epidemic and that something needs to be done.
When I started this over 20 years ago, feeding, sheltering and spay/neutering cats, I didn't know another soul in Rochester that did any of that. Since Thursday, I now know so many people out there care for animal welfare as much as I do. What the City of Rochester did, by removing and destroying the shelters for at least 20 cats at two of my 14 locations, and by them not offering compensation or trying to work with me in finding a solution, is a travesty.
In case you are reading for the first time, ever since I took a fun morning trip to the public market over 20 years ago, and saw the gleaming sets of eyes in the dark on Bay and First Streets, and saw a ton of kitties in a vacant lot, my fun trip turned into me going home, grabbing food, bowls and water, and going back to place a bunch of food and water down for all these cats that scampered away when they saw me coming. THAT was IT for me. It then turned into 14 more locations as of today. I fed there, with the permission of Wilbert, the Jamaican dude that lived on the corner, who I became friends with. He was always there, always kind, always watching out for me as I made my way to the back of that very dark lot. It was the business owner behind him that forced me, years later, to remove the shelters that were leaning against his shop because of the raccoons, so he said. I rescued as many kitties as I could before I had to leave there.
Today, this 'passion' has turned into going through 30+ pounds of dry food DAILY, with close to two cases of dry food DAILY, and four large jugs of water that I haul around in my dying jalopy, the Cat Mobile. I get up at 2:45 am and head out at 4 am. once I've had sufficient amount of coffee to make sure I am alert! I go in the dark in the mornings because its the safest time to go. The Beechwood section has a few streets with higher crime than others, and as the police once told me - even the criminals sleep. It takes me just over an hour on a good day. In the winter, when its blizzarding, or we've had a half foot or more of snow, I bring the shovel and have to shovel out paths for the cats to get in or out of the shelters to get their food, the only food they have. I pour hot water in the bowls and pray they drink it before it freezes over. When it snows, it takes me over two hours sometimes to get through all my locations and get back home to get ready for my full time job. I trap on Tuesdays because Rochester Community Animal Clinic allows me two spots weekly. This costs me $60 per cat. Last year, I TNR'd (trap neuter and return (to the streets) close to 50, or maybe more? I rescued and adopted 80 (maybe more). This year, I am also on a roll with both.
Keep in mind, I am feeding and sheltering ABANDONED cats, STRAY cats, NEGLECTED cats. I am also feeding ferals, but I don't see them because they hide. They come out when I leave. I can count at least 70 cats daily that are there waiting for me, an average of five cats per shelter. (I am not a mathematical genius). :) I just had a cat neutered last week - Leo - who is close to 9 years old, and never neutered. He is a mess too. Three teeth in his mouth. This is not a feral cat. He is abandoned by humans. And we have a responsibility to help these animals, not neglect them.
What the city did was cruel, and it needs to be addressed. I will not stop, someone needs to be the voice for these animals. I hope you will join me by speaking out and trying to offer solutions to the City of Rochester, and what they can do.
Thank you for your support. I just cannot do this alone. :(
PS, here is a great link to cat shelters. Hint hint. :) Thank you Liz!
PS. Leo, the elder kitty put back on the streets after he was neutered last week had quite the surprise. His new adoptive mom, Doreen, drove all the way from Connecticut to scoop him up from my bathroom on Sunday, and brought him back to his new home. Here he is! :)
PSS, I had a reporter follow me this morning from the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. He's pretty awesome! Not sure when video and article will come out. Today or tomorrow. :) or both. Video today? Article tomorrow? He was cute too! :) (sorry, getting off subject.....)
Have a great day!
"The kindness one does for an animals may not change the world...
but it WILL change the world for that one animal."