Oreo (left) and Domino (right) keeping warm during a record cold streak in NJ.

 

And I am exhausted.

People constantly ask why I do what I do when I have so many other priorities. When it costs money out of my own pocket. When I have my own indoor cats to tend to.

My answer?

Because somewhere down the line, a human let them down. Either they were dumped off, their parents were dumped off, or their great-grandparents, etc etc.

Because people may have been feeding them, but nobody bothered to neuter them so that they wouldn’t keep giving birth to kittens who would potentially suffer and die out there. So that feral kittens would no longer be dropped off at shelters and healthy shelter cats who had been waiting for homes would be euthanized to “make room”. So that Toms would never have to fight for territory or mates anymore. So that they could live healthier, happier lives.

We are just coming out of a period of extended record-breaking cold weather in NJ and many parts of the US & Canada. And feral cat caregivers are exhausted and over-extended trying to help our kitties survive it.

We are out there in sub-zero temperatures trying to feed them wet food before their food freezes and scheming ways to keep water from freezing so that our kitties don’t dehydrate. We are trying to figure out HOW we can get them to use the shelters we have set up for them to weather the elements.

We are worrying ourselves sick when our babies don’t show up after the snow storm. When they get sick because of the rough conditions out there. When one goes missing to hunker down somewhere til conditions improve.

Big Orange enjoying his heated shelter during the January Thaw

We look at untouched food bowls and hope that TODAY will be the day they are able to come out and eat.

We look at the pictures we took of them before the storm and HOPE we get to see them soon…alive and healthy.

Shadow before the New Jersey Blizzard 2018. It’s been six days and he still has not returned.

We spend time on social media talking to other caregivers because our families and friends JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.

We pray to God, St Francis, and/or the Universe to help our babies survive the harsh weather.

We spend money we don’t have on heating pads, heated bowls, straw, shelters, food, medication and supplements…hell, some of us build additions on to our houses or sacrifice our basements, garages and porches for our babies.

We dig our feral cat shelters out of the snow before we even dig ourselves out.

We scheme ways to treat sick ferals who cannot be handled or touched or just put into a carrier to take to the vet.

Fluffy, who is currently dealing with a bout of diarrhea and is too feral for me to help her much.

We look helplessly at our babies who can’t be handled while they deal with a mess on their bum from diarrhea and think “if she would JUST let me scruff her and wipe, she will feel SO much better!”.

Then we get a little break in the weather. And they come back or come out of their shelters. And enjoy the thaw right along with us.

They follow us around and try to trip us as we walk in the snow and ice and mooch treats and love.

They even roll around and play in the snow!

Oreo enjoying the January Thaw while Domino looks on and wonders what is wrong with him!

Those are the moments us caregivers LIVE for. Those are the moments that make it ALL worth it. When they look at us with love and gratitude in their eyes because they KNOW that all we do makes their lives THAT much more bearable.

Feral Cat Caregivers are unsung and often misunderstood heroes!

We may “think” that we aren’t making a difference in the world because we haven’t won a Nobel Peace Prize or saved children from sex trafficking or aren’t making six-figure incomes.

But to that feral cat, we have changed THEIR entire world.

And that’s ALWAYS enough!

***For more info on some of the products shown in the pictures, click Here ***

***For pictures of all of the shelters I have out for the Yard Cats, click Feral & Yard Cat Shelter Pics***

 

10 thoughts on “I Am a Feral Cat Caregiver

  1. I am also a colony care giver and every word you said is so true. There are times I sit in my warm home and cry from worry about my extended family out in the cold. I want to bring them all home and keep them safe.

    1. Deb, I hear you! I can totally understand how cat hoarders become cat hoarders! If I had the space for everybody to live a quality life inside, most of my yard cats would be inside at this point. Even if they are still afraid of me and/or Mom! lol Thank you for ALL that you do! If you’re on Facebook, join us so we can connect!

  2. Omg! Right on target! Keep up the good work. Bless you and to others for all you do for our Furry Babies. All of my cats(4) are rescues, and I have 3 Feral Babies outside. Everything you wrote is spot on!

    1. Thank you so much Ann and thank you for all you’re doing, as well! Join us on Facebook so you can meet all the cats and keep up with their antics! 🙂 I love to connect!

  3. After having spent 30 straight years in cat rescue feeding, and caring for strays and feral’s every single night, I thoroughly understand and agree wholeheartedly with every word of this beautifully written article. Now at 70 years old, exhausted and battling medical problems from being exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, I finally had a chance to retire from it, move to another state, but left all my beloved babies in very capable hands and would do it all over again with no regrets. God bless you for doing such a wonderful job and caring for all those precious kitties.

    1. Wow, Joseph! First and foremost, THANK YOU for your service to our country! All of this is possible because of the brave menn and women such as you who protect our freedom every single day! Second, THANK YOU for making such a HUGE difference in so many lives over the years! It’s so much sacrifice and work, and, like I said in my post, caregivers are all too often unsung heroes!! Bless you! If you’re on Facebook, join us! I’m always telling stories and posting pics of my “Yard Cats” (I hate calling them “feral” lol) and my four indoor kits that I rescued from my backyard! You’ll get to meet the entire family! 🙂

    1. Oh wow…we are in the woods in Camden County, South Jersey, on the edge of the Wharton State Forest. Not too far from you! Thanks for all you do, Carmen! If you’re on FB or Instagram, look us up! I’d love to connect with you!

    1. Marilou, I, too, Have a big guy who I think is Siberian. I TNR’ed him Fall 2016. A year later, he suddenly decided he loves me and it’s okay to pet him. But only in the back yard. He does not recognize me if he comes across me in the front yard! lol If you’re on Facebook, join us there! I just posted a video of him the other day! 🙂

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