Friday, April 16, 2010

Blue News

(Picture Left: "Dolce" -- Rescued almost two years ago, this playful, affectionate and outgoing cat has yet to find adoptive home. -- Harsh world for cats, these days.)

There was a time only a few years ago, when we used to average between 25 and 35 incoming phone calls a day.

While a fair amount of those calls were to give up animals or requests for help in placing strays, at least half would be adoption inquiries.

For a very long time, answering phones, was for me, a (more than) full-time job. It meant we were able to adopt out many animals and in turn, rescue many.

But, these days, I have a lot of free time for discovering the wonders of Central Park with my dogs and taking pictures.

That is because the number of incoming calls on a daily basis has dramatically dropped to less than ten or even five a day. -- This despite constant advertising of our pets for adoption on numerous adoption web sites, Facebook and even Craig's List.

It is always the dream of those in animal rescue or sheltering work, that we would one day, "be put out of business" because there are so few animals who need to be rescued or found new homes.

But, that is like dreaming that one day police would no longer be needed because there are no longer crimes.

Unfortunately, the lack of calls coming into a rescue and adoption organization is not sign of anything positive.

It means we are having a much tougher time finding the homes for animals already rescued and languishing either in boarding or foster homes. It means we are able to rescue far fewer dogs and cats than in the past.

While continuing to rescue and place some dogs, we have basically been "out" of cat rescue and placement for the past two years (with the exceptions of one or two cats per year.)

A number of cats rescued several years ago are still with me. I have long since given up that they will ever be adopted. -- I just know I cannot take in any more.

Over the past year, my personal and major "cat rescue" efforts have been directed towards trapping, neutering and releasing of the feral cats in the yards and alleys in back of my apartment building.

I can attest to the fact that, "trap, neuter and return" is definitely the proper and responsible thing to do for most feral cats (provided the environment is safe and there are regular feeders). The cats do very well. They are happy, healthy and thriving. Neutering keeps the cat populations in check and the neighbors happy. Cats meanwhile, keep rodent populations from taking over a community. There is, in fact, no better "deterrent" against rats and mice, than their natural predators, cats. Rats and mice are too smart to hang around areas where there are cats.

Sadly, "News" stories over the past week or so, do not reflect this new awakening, responsibility or respect for feral cats. On the contrary, they reflect the exact opposite.

One story reported on the local evening news described "Stray cats taking over a Queens housing project!" City building owners took to sealing up certain parts of the buildings which, according to the ASPCA would trap or separate possible Mom cats from their litters. Meanwhile, one woman resident of the buildings was spending "$150.00" a week to feed the many reproducing cats. At the end of the report, it was stated that the "City is going to work with Animal Care and Control to pick up the cats."

That means virtually all of the cats will be killed in city pounds as feral cats are not socialized enough for rescue and possible placement.

Meanwhile, on another network in the same week, it was reported that the "Brighton Beach area in Brooklyn is being taken over by rats!"

Years ago, Brighton Beach used to be teaming with stray and feral cats!

What happened to all the cats?

Presuming most or all were eventually picked up by Animal Control and killed, then it is no small wonder, the rats would eventually take over the areas vacated by the cats.

Should the city go forward with its "plan" to capture and send all the Queens project cats to the AC&C, for sure, we will soon see a story on the evening News: "Queens Housing Project Taken Over By Rats!"

Yes, it is frustrating being in animal rescue and placement these days.

Of the few calls we get, most are to give up animals, rather than adopt.

And even the evening news brings little if anything at all, to feel good about. -- PCA


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