Nearly everyone and anyone who lives outside of Rochester and has driven in to 'the city' for a variety of reasons - whether attending a concert, or church, or going shopping at a cool store, or going to work, or the public market - has seen a cat dart in or out from behind a house or building. Nearly everyone and anyone will see it, and then continue on and try to get it out of their minds, if they have a conscience, or a shred of compassion for an animal. When I started to see them, I couldn't turn my eye. Even the dead ones on the street. I couldn't pass an animal laying in the street knowing it will get hit over and over again. I get out each and every time to pick it up with a towel, and say a small prayer as I place it to the side, under a bush or tree, knowing its soul has already left its body and its just the carcass left.
And that my friends is how I got started in the first place. I now go to 17 locations in a 3 or 4 square mile radius and feed over a hundred cats a day. I started doing this when I bought my house about 25 years ago just outside the Beechwood section of Rochester, on the border of Irondequoit and the city. I went to the public market one early morning and saw eyes illuminating in the dark corners of buildings and houses. I knew it was a depressed area, scary to me actually, back then, but I couldn't ignore it. I thought about it and thought about it. I kept going back to place a bowl of water and a plate of food. This was mainly just on First and Bay Street in the lot next door to Wilbur's house, a black Jamaican man who befriended me.
I didn't know about TNR back then (Trap Neuter Return). I knew I had my own cats, and that they were all spayed and neutered. And cost me a fortune to do, but I knew that there were many many cats out in this area. I don't know how I got started getting them spayed, but from that point it began to explode. I was now feeding many cats, in many areas, and winter was looming, so I began to make my first shelters out of boards leaning against a house, with towels as walls to guard from the snow getting inside to cover the food - I didn't even know about rescue groups back then. I did the best I could.
And here we are today. I have made a million friends doing this, all caring and compassionate people. I've begun to get help with food, and shelters, and the other necessities for me to do this job in the dark, each and every single day. I've rescued hundreds of cats and found them good homes with families who love them to pieces. I've spayed and neutered hundreds more so that they don't reproduce any more unwanted and homeless offspring. I've rescued many gravely ill cats and have had them humanely euthanized to end their suffering.
I wish I could clone myself because I can't do this forever. But as long as I can keep doing this, I will continue to need help. And I can't thank you enough for helping me. There are many of you. Donations of money, shelters, food, paper products, towels and blankets, straw, headlamps and batteries, wine (for my sanity), food (the pasta queen Maria, and Beth and her pasta sauce).
Tomorrow is TNR Tuesday, wish me luck.
I continue to hear progress and good things from my most recent adopters, and I hope I can rescue more soon. There are so many.
Have a great day!
“The most you give
The more you get,
The more you laugh
The less you fret,
The more you do unselfishly,
The more you live abundantly,
The more of everything you share,
The more you’ll always have to spare,
The more you love,
The more you’ll find,
That life is good,
And friends are kind,
For only what we give away,
Enriches us from day to day.”