Sunday, November 23, 2008

Whether Signed Up For or Not (Reply)

(Picture Left: "Gabby" -- Affectionate, if not slightly quirky cat rescued last year. Despite being advertised, has never been officially adopted, or even inquired about. Forever a foster -- or do we call such animals "default adoptions" of the rescuer -- who can then, no longer rescue?

Amby111 Writes: Adoptions have dwindled dramatically during the last few years. This past summer I rescued six kittens from a trailer park where my TNR group started a trapping project. I wasn't too worried when they didn't get adopted in July or August. I've always been able to count on adoptions picking up in the fall. But now it is November, and not one of them has been adopted. No one has even shown any interest, and they are beautiful, friendly kittens (now 5 mo. old and not getting any smaller). I have no idea what I will do with all of them, but I can no longer take any other kittens or cats for fostering. This is probably the end of rescue work for me, and I know many other rescue groups are in the same position. I feel very badly for all the wonderful cats out there who will never get a chance. It's heartbreaking.

Reply: You've hit on the hardest dilemma facing most cat rescues today: What to do when all your fosters are full and none of the cats are moving. What to do when you can't find new people willing to foster cats?

I don't have an answer for that.

I remember times in the past when I fostered more cats than I currently have. I didn't mind all the extra work because I could feel confident that the cats would eventually be placed and adopted.

But, I don't feel that now.

On the contrary, I feel (like Marla) somewhat "stuck" in a situation I didn't exactly sign up for or anticipate: Keeping rescued cats forever -- cats with little or no hope of being placed.

There are times, even in rescue or sheltering work, when one needs a "break" from the daily cleaning, picking up after and general stress of having a number of animals to constantly care for and keep peace with.

Ah, to get away for a few days! Or, to get some time and space to finally paint the house or pretty things up in some way. Wouldn't it be nice to finally put down your pretty carpeting again? Wouldn't it be nice to live like a normal person again?

But, one has a "job" just trying to maintain some semblance of order. -- Keep things from falling apart.

I sometimes wonder and worry what happens to these animals were I to become ill and unable to care for them?

I know I could find people to take my two small dogs.

But, the cats would, without doubt, end up back in the pound. All that sacrifice, expense and effort only to end up with the same result: Animals dying in the shelter.

But, the very worst part of all this is exactly what you cite in your last paragraph: "This is probably the end of rescue work for me."

Though still rescuing dogs, I have only been able to rescue a small handful of cats this entire year.

A couple of purebred cats were placed, but the others are still in foster.

I look at the shelter (cat) euthanasia list each day -- a list that keep growing ever higher and can only feel a profound sense of continual failure -- and guilt.

Here we are supposed to be "rescue" and we aren't saving ANY of the cats!

I can hear and feel the total frustration in the voices of those calling everyday seeking to place a cat they cannot (or won't) keep anymore or a cat they found.

"So and so gave me your number and said you are cat rescue. Why can't you take in my cat?"

Usually they have called me after calling a dozen other shelters or rescues who can't help them either.

There is no place to direct the callers other than Animal Control.

"But, I don't want my cat to DIE!" most of them say.

To which I answer:
"The world doesn't revolve around what you WANT. -- It revolves around what IS."

Unfortunately, I have to tell myself the same thing everyday.

And so, the home remains in need of a paint job (after 8 years) and the carpets remain rolled up.

And no, I won't be going anywhere during the "holidays" -- other than Central Park with my dogs and a couple of "cat sitting" jobs for friends.

This is the life I chose and yes, there is a price for it.

As I tell everyone else:

The world doesn't revolve around what one wants -- it is what it is and one has to learn to roll with the punches and try to live up to one's commitments and responsibilities, whether "signed up for and anticipated" or not. -- PCA


1 comment:

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