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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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***