Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, 2019!

I know it looks like I completely abandoned my blog, but I have come here often to write a post, then found myself unable to... 2019 was a hard year. Although I was optimistic in my April post, we lost Kwazii on September 5th. His immune system was just too depleted by his FIV to withstand treatment for lymphoma and we had to euthanize him. It was extremely hard.

RIP Kwazii. You were one of a kind.

Many people had come to love this very special cat, and I still can't look at his photo without welling up. We only had him for a relatively short time, but I treasured every moment. He was one of a kind.

I started the year losing foster kitten Lucy. Then we lost Kwazii. I also lost Henry the pig (who died inexplicably in his sleep) and my goats Daphne, Harry and Daisy. I lost my new barn cat Chai.  And then our tripod kitty Alex was diagnosed with the EXACT same lymphoma that Kwazii had...

Alex has started the same chemo, and happily he seems to be responding well. He had his first blood tests yesterday and everything was perfect! That is a decent way to end the year!

This fall my horse Roo colicked, but fortunately recovered. (My first experience with colic!) Then immediately on the heels of that, we nearly lost our donkey Saul to a bile duct problem. Fortunately he also recovered! But it has all made me a bit too weary to write, which is unfortunate, because I feel emotionally constipated when I stop writing. But this year has been a bit much for me. I have taken in 39 foster cats and adopted out 35, which is fabulous, but I am also exhausted. But I didn't really come here to complain... this was just supposed to be a short preamble (if anyone is even reading!)

I think a lot about the work I've been doing taking in and adopting out cats. 99% of the people I deal with are amazing. It's the 1% I struggle with, who seem to think they can be as rude and abusive as they want. I deal with them, but I don't enjoy it. And the good people do far outweigh the bad! And it's the people part of cat rescue that I thought to write about...

People generally seem to realize that taking in cats, neutering/spaying, vaccinating and adopting them out to loving homes is a good thing, and the prime motivation for a cat rescue. But what I've noticed is how important this endeavour is to the happiness of humans.

Foster kitty Chinook

I get a lot of joy out of helping cats in need. I adore animals, but I have a particular soft spot for cats, and anytime I am able to help them, it is immensely satisfying. I am an introvert, and at a party, I'll be the one in the corner cuddling a cat. I can make small talk and be surprisingly social, but it's never easy for me. I find being with animals far easier than dealing with humans. Animals never lie and they never let me down. They have always been there for me, so I try to be there for them.

 But I have come to realize that it also makes me happy seeing how my work benefits humans. I have taken in cats from all kinds of situations... there was an elderly man going into a seniors' residence who couldn't take his beloved cat with him. There was a terminally ill woman who wanted to be sure her cat would have a safe place before she left his world. There was a woman who adored her kitty but had to go into permanent care due to severe mental health issues. There were many people who were trying to help homeless and sometimes injured cats, but whose resources were limited, so they asked me to help. There were people who desperately needed to rehome cats due to allergies, or divorce, or life-changing circumstances of an epic scale. The list goes on...

I have come to realize that helping humans is as much a part of cat rescue as helping cats! And that is extremely gratifying. I also take cats to visit seniors' residences... some people seem to view that as an act of charity on my part, but I do it for my own selfish reasons: I get a lot of happiness from seeing seniors light up when they cuddle a cat. I love listening to their stories about their own kitties from the past. Sometimes they will cry when they tell these stories, but I can see how comforting it is for them to be able to cuddle a purring cat or kitten. Visiting these places doesn't make me a saint;  just makes me happy! I highly recommend it.

I don't know how much longer I can continue with cat rescue. At the very least, I think I need to scale back. While, the majority of people are excellent, there are those ask too much of me. They get pissed off if I don't reply to emails and messages instantly. They come and dump all their emotional shit all over me like I'm a therapist. They should up at my door unannounced on Sunday morning with three cats in their car, demanding I take them. They get angry when I can't. It is incredibly hard to say "no" to a cat in need, but it's what you have to do if you want to keep your sanity. Boundaries are so important!

And then there's the people who stiff me for adoption fees. Only two to date, but it really burns my ass. Although I receive many generous donations, I am still spending a crapload of my own money on cat rescue, and for someone to refuse to pay me $175 for a cat they've adopted, a cat I've spent triple that on, well, it just makes me mad. I am  now demanding fees before people leave the farm with the cat. I've mostly had good luck with people not being assholes about paying adoption fees, but now that I've been screwed over twice, of course I have to change things. 

And this is why I haven't written here for a long time... I didn't want to write a whiney, complaining post about how hard cat rescue can be. Yet here I am!

Still, it has brought me so much happiness and satisfaction. When I see a cat go off to a fabulous new home with loving new owners, it fills up my heart. One more kitty who won't reproduce. One more kitty who won't die outside alone and unloved. What I do is just a drop in the bucket, given how many cats are suffering in our area. But I try to focus on the fact that I can at least help some, with amazing support from my community.

For the people out there who think saving cats is a waste of time and money, and that cats are expendable, and not worth caring about, I would say this... caring for cats = caring for people. You can't do one without the other.

That's all I've got right now... I need to eat breakfast! 

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2020!


 Throwback to 2018... foster kitten Jack's amazing metamorphosis...