We responded to an email and call for help from an older couple with 15+ cats (15 does not include the high risk ferals) that need to be removed from their current living situation by tomorrow, Friday, 3/19 due to the house being condemned. This is a case of a sweet older couple with really big hearts who have been working to save all the cats in the trailer park where they live. Cats that people have abandoned, neglected, and, possibly, some born to ferals. I was able to go out last night and meet the cats and check out the situation. The couple was out of town and a water main broke and came up through the toilet and the toilet basically exploded and went through the roof of the trailer, and water ran for 36 hours. There is no roof on most of the back half of the trailer, there is no plumbing except for running water in the kitchen and a good portion of the floor is missing. The couple must find a new place to live (right now they don't know where they will be living) and the cats need to be moved by Friday, March 19.
15 cats is not necessarily a big rescue number - especially when you hear about rescue situations with 30+ cats in one house more frequently than one would think, but it is more than our very small rescue can take on at this time. So we reached out to a bunch of other rescue groups today but haven't heard back from most of them yet. I'm sure most of them are inundated with requests for help. We did hear from two groups (Hobbes House and Safe Haven for Cats) and one vet (Dr. Carol Tice) who will take a couple cats each. THANK YOU!!
I saw 12 of the 15 cats. Some of them are a little shy, but none are feral. Ages range from 4 months to 12 months. There are a few at-risk (and possibly pregnant) ferals outside the trailer and we'll be trapping them and hope we find barn homes soon. There is one friendly cat that is deaf, beautiful Susan, a DMH white cat. There are also at least four high risk ferals that need to be trapped, vetted, and moved to barn homes.
None of these cats have ever had any medical care, but it’s not a case of intentionally not caring for the cats – it is truly a case of people with big hearts and good intentions biting off more than they could handle financially but they truly love each and every one of those cats and want to do right by them but could not afford it. The wife’s heart is very heavy over this and she was trying to keep her voice from cracking and tearing up, it was even harder for the husband to fight back the tears.
We've assisted other groups before and taken in cats where the other rescue has spear headed the rescue effort, but this is the first time we have led an effort. I must say we've only started and it is stressful, very emotional, and heart breaking. I don't like this part of rescue. Maybe because it's my first time, but I cried like a baby all the way home last night and a good part of the night. I wonder does it get easier? Thoughts of what if no other rescues groups can take in a couple -- where will they go, what will we do, how will we raise the money for medical. Well, that part is stressful. But what's heart breaking is what if we can't save them all? That's what kept me up all night -- the thought of not being able to help all 15 plus the high risk ferals. It weighed so heavy on my heart and mind and it was overwhelming. If we can't take all of them, the remaining cats will end up at a very overcrowded Animal Control (even more crowded than usual due to several large hoarding situations). When I spoke with the couple this evening they asked how many cats we would be able to save. The thought of the remaining cats going to AC is more than they can handle. Well, I can't handle that either. We will pick them all up tomorrow, parse out the ones going to other groups and figure out what to do with the rest. I hope we hear from a couple more rescues tomorrow. Marie is talking with one of the other rescue groups to see if they can take in 1-2. I hope so. We will not let these cats down.