I would like to start off by telling you a story that happens to be quite true. To say that this tale has a happy ending would be false, so I will leave out names to protect those who were responsible for the events you are about to learn of.
Close to 8 years ago I was living in a nice, quiet, suburban neighborhood, where everybody knew everybody else. So if something happened everyone pretty much found out about it.
One evening I was sitting in the house not doing much of anything when I noticed at my sliding glass door three kittens just staring at me. After a while of returning their stares, admiring how cute they were I realized these kittens were born not too long ago to one of the many outdoor cats around the neighborhood. I opened my sliding glass door and two of the kittens stepped back a ways and one just sat there so sick–goopy eyes and just not well at all. He was coaxed in the house with some bologna so he could be looked at further. The other two were a bit more of a challenge. We finally managed to get one of the very feral kittens in the house where he proceeded to hiss and scream and literally climb my walls. The other cat which was later named Frog would not come close enough so we could not bring her in. The horrified kitten climbing my walls we named Rocky and put him in a spare room. We thought perhaps he would be calmer the next day. The plan was to take them to our local shelter where they would be adopted since everyone loves kittens. However, the next day Rocky was not one bit calmer and if we had brought him to the shelter he would have immediately been put down, that is what they did in the little town I lived in.
We opened up the door and let him back outside and decided we would care for him the best we could outdoors and get him neutered and a vet check at a later date. So now we have this sick kitty in the house who was almost a twin to Rocky, we decided to name him Pumpkin being that he was an orange tabby. We took him to the vet where he received medication and got well, my daughter who was then about 4 years old just fell in love with him, so back to the vet for shots and a checkup and there you have it, he is sitting on my bed now as I write this. FYI yes he is neutered and strictly indoors and absolutely no longer feral.
As for Rocky and Frog, we took care of them outside. We had a blanket on our deck with some food and water– then one day Rocky disappeared. Frog stayed around and our plan for her was the same as it was for Rocky, if we could ever get close enough. Then she too disappeared; we were all saddened by this but then a few months later Frog reappeared. She came back carrying a kitten in her mouth as she crossed my yard and went under the deck of the house next door. After she did this a few more times I walked over to take a look– low and behold Frog had kittens. Under a year herself, I was sad but smiling at the same time thinking “Well Ok” now we can get her fixed and find the kittens new homes. Not so much— I knocked on the neighbor’s door to show her what was under her deck and she immediately said “Oh how cute! I am going to keep them all! So I though “Oh cool,” not realizing what she meant was, she was going to keep them all outside and no trips to the vet– you get the picture. Eventually Frog brought her kittens on my deck where I still had the blanket, water and food out. Sadly Frog disappeared again but the kittens would come to my deck to eat and sleep while the neighbor would come and grab them, it was a never ending cycle. I went to the animal shelter but they were so full and had no room. I was told there were no guarantees so right then I knew the kittens would not have a chance.
We watched the kittens grow and of course some were female and thus another and another, litter of kittens were born. Before long there were twenty or so cats and kittens wandering around my yard and sleeping on my deck. The neighbor claimed them all! I asked her “Are you not going to find homes for them or get any of them spayed or neutered?” Her response was “Oh no, kittens are cute I love watching them play. They are so much fun.” Little by little we would bury a cat killed by another animal or hit by a car. It was heartbreaking. I had named them all and I told her when so and so was hit and we buried him. “Oh thank you,” was her response. I asked “why not place an ad in the paper and find them homes? Or I can place an ad?” I got this glare and she told me “these are my cats and you will not be giving them to anyone, I take care of them and perhaps they would not be having so much difficulty if you would stop feeding them as well.” Shaking my head I just walked home. I did find homes for two and took in one that I kept and “yes” she did get spayed.
There was a house near me that was vacant for a while and eventually a family moved in and that woman was not a cat person. She did not like it when I would walk over to say “hello” and have a line of cats behind me. I just told her they were not mine but they followed me because I gave them shelter from the cold, unlike our neighbor. Months passed and more litters of kittens came and went when the new neighbor came to me enraged that one of the cats was laying on her new patio furniture and using it as a personal scratching post and had ripped holes in the cushions. I told her again, the lady next door was staking claim to the cats. She immediately went to her and they exchanged words and that was that or so I thought.
The next day there was not a cat to be found. I knocked on the old neighbor’s door and asked where the cats were and she said she was not dealing with threats and she took them all to the shelter and shut the door in my face. I immediately went to the shelter and was told, “Yes, a ton of cats were brought in, most of them with upper repertory infections so they are in a different room.” I could not go in but I could see the others that were ok. There was one who I had named Princess who was very pregnant, I asked what was going to happen to her? I was told the kittens will be aborted and then she will be put up for adoption. My heart just sank. I went back the next day and I asked about the cats again and she said the vet had been in and they could not run the risk of spreading infection so all of the cats that were in the back room had been put down.
I had to leave. My heart was crushed and I was in tears. Thinking I should have just found them all homes regardless of the threats made against me if I did. I immediately went to the neighbor with the ripped patio cushion and told her she would not be having any more issues with cats because they were all taken to the shelter and put down. She felt horrible or at least that was the face she put on for me.
About a month later Frog showed back up quite sick. She found me and lay under my vehicle for a while—I knew what was going on. She came home to die. She managed to crawl her way to the bushes in the front of my house and she just lay there looking at me as she slowly drifted away.
I cannot stress enough to you all how important it is to spay and neuter your pets, nobody should have to witness what I did and no animal should have to suffer this way.
Below you will find references for low cost spay and neuter programs across the United States:
- Animal Welfare Information Center
- ASPCA Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs
- Humane Society Tips
- Friends of Animals
Sharon Morrison is presently in her third year with the Temple of Witchcraft’s Mystery School. She is an avid animal lover and believes that there are many people out there that would love to do the right thing but perhaps just do not know how or where. She feels we need to be their voices and that “a life is a life regardless of how many legs they stand on.” One of her favorite expressions is, “ animals are my favorite people.”