Rescue Cats

For several weeks now, I have been dealing (not very well) with a sprained foot and ankle.  It began with what seemed to be a minor sprain in the arch of my left foot and was aggravated when I had to lunge to catch a cat that was attempting to make a run for it.  I caught the cat but rolled my ankle painfully.  The cat’s name was Mittens, a resident at the Cats in Need cat rescue where I volunteer.   When I saw my doctor about my ankle, he asked how I hurt it.  He must be a cat lover because he said this: Some cats don’t want to be rescued.  It certainly would seem that way but the truth is, to a cat being locked in a cage in a strange place hardly seems like a rescue.

I started working at the rescue after our cat, Elvis, had to be put down because of a large inoperable tumor.   I was not ready for another cat but was in need of what I call some Kitty Time.  Once a week, I go in and clean the cages, empty the litter boxes and feed the residents … and most importantly (for me and them), I spend some time giving them some human affection.  Easy for me, not always easy for them.  Most of our cats come from families that have provided a home for years but for some reason can’t anymore.  Some are easygoing and settle right in to the rescue routine, welcoming the twice a day volunteers and anxious to visit.  Some are shy and need encouragement before they will socialize, and others are so scared, they hide in the litter boxes or hiss and scratch at my efforts to be friendly.  I try to explain to them that if they aren’t nice, they won’t be adopted but they don’t always listen.

For the first month or so, it seemed we got all easy cats that showed up one week, then were adopted the next.  The job was fun and easy.  But as time has gone by we got cats that were more difficult to place, some just older, others scared and angry or scared and cowering.  Two cats, Polka and Dot, came in with dental infections and had to have most of their teeth removed.  They are older cats, beautiful but shy and they have been clipboard01with us for weeks.  It breaks my heart to find cats still there week after week just because they are too scared to seem lovable.  Then there are people who adopt cats with a promise grahamto provide them a forever home, then weeks or months later, return them (we always take cats back to be sure they won’t be abandoned).   This week there were three.  Bambi and Thumper were returned because their owners are getting a divorce (Do you think they returned their children, too?).  Graham was returned because he was too playful and affectionate.  Really?

claudetooThe cat I adopted, Claude, is six or seven years old.  He was rescued, adopted, then returned when his not-forever owners moved out of state.  They didn’t want to be cited for taking a rescued cat across state lines, I suppose.   It has been fun watching him slowly realize that our house is his home now and return the favor by adopting my wife Muri and I as his people.   If you are looking for a cat, rescues are available in most Petsmart stores, here.   I know the kittens are adorable but consider taking home an adult cat who had a home once and will appreciate having one again.   And for Pete’s sake, if you bring one home, make it forever.

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4 Comments on “Rescue Cats”

  1. granny1947 Says:

    Hats off to you. Would love to foster an older dog but Mex will not hear of it.
    He is silly because it would be company for him but he also took Jasmine’s passing very hard.
    I miss that pooch so much.
    I love cats too but I would not even attempt to bring one home.
    He is NOT a cat person.

    • oldereyes Says:

      It took me a while to be ready for a cat after our last one passed. My best friend is a dog person and his wife is a cat person. They now have three dogs and two cats. So, cats and dogs … and cat lovers and dog lovers ,,, can coexist.

  2. barrythewiz Says:

    Great piece. As you well know I share your love of animals and volunteer at a fantastic NoVa shelter. The stories are amazing. We should start keeping notes and collaborate on a book.

    • oldereyes Says:

      We’d have to make a choice. Would it be an upbeat book about the miracles we see or down, about the way people treat animals. I helped set up for adoption yesterday and Jim, our resident feral cat guy, told me that someone had put rat poison in the bowls at one of his colonies. He found it before any were poisoned and he reported the guy to animal control. But he’s moving the colony, which you know isn’t easy. A friend of mine says “sometimes we should euthanize the people.” Sometimes I agree.

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