Thursday, May 31, 2012

The ethics of cat trapping & feeding

Yesterday was a tough day here at Animal Matters. Although I feel strongly that feral cat trapping is critical in keeping the stray cat population in check, we really get into grey areas when it comes to making decisions about their well-being. It's customary to have the cat tested for Feline Leukemia and AIDS before they're altered. If positive for Leukemia, it's not a good idea (in my opinion) to put the cat back out on the streets. It can be a long, rough illness. Add in the outdoor elements and it's down-right cruel. If positive for AIDS, the cat can live an ok life back out on the streets but there's risk that he/she can spread the disease to other cats and will have a hard time healing from bite wounds or any afflictions. So what's a trapper to do? We made the hard call yesterday & authorized one of our trapped males to be euthanized. This was agonizing. He was a big boy we named "Puff" who was in our managed colony for years. I noticed that he was limping & his leg was red and swollen. He couldn't even put any weight on it. I knew I had to get him in a carrier and to the vet as soon as I could. I was so happy I got him on Monday night! The vet called yesterday to tell me he had tested positive for AIDS. I was shocked! She said that his leg was in bad shape & didn't know if he'd be able to even heal because of the AIDS. The only hope for him to be treated & to recover was to have a quiet indoor spot to go to. That's the problem. I don't have that. I can't even find a foster home for a healthy kitten! Plus, Puff had been in a home years ago & hated being inside. Hence, he was thrown out into this colony. After much deliberation, we let him go. I cried all day. We will have him cremated so he can rest in peace at our home. Just because he lived on the streets doesn't mean he didn't have a family in us. We will miss you "Puff."

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Mixin' business with pleasure

Last week, my best friends were in town for our annual girls' weekend. While sipping cocktails & chatting about our lives at a cozy hotel restaurant, we saw some stray cats in the bushes. I realize that the life of a cat trapper (me!) really never takes a vacation. My friends knew I mentally checked out of our conversation & was focusing on how to catch those cats. They were right! It turns out the hotel staff had been feeding & looking after the cats. The bellhop was especially sweet regarding the care of the cats. He told me four of them needed to be neutered but they didn't have enough money to get it done. Fast forward a week -- the bellhop and I caught three of the four & I got them neutered. They're currently on my side porch in carriers recovering from surgery. I'll go back over to the hotel in the morning & re-release them. That's always the bittersweet part of my job. There aren't enough homes for all of these cats so the street life is going to have to do. I can take comfort in at least knowing I did my part by getting them altered & making sure they are as healthy as can be to live their lives out on the streets. I'll say a prayer for them when releasing like I always do when letting the felines go. I ask God to guide them, protect them and bless them for whatever time they have here on earth.