It was May in 2009 that we started feeding the Cherry Street cats. A few years before that I fed a few cats at my workplace, ironically it was just around the corner, and I brought home a kitten, got her mom fixed, then the 2 or 3 cats disappeared and that was that.
But I was looking for something meaningful to do, and didn't want to volunteer at the Humane Society, too worried I would bring them all home. Feeding feral cats seemed like a good idea, no bureaucracy, on my own time, no homes needed. Little did I know what I was getting myself into it, and to be honest if I had to do it all over again, I would say no thanks.
In the colony over the five years there have been many changes, all the cats have been fixed, new ones appeared, some found homes, many have died, and now I feed 5 times a week, it's a big commitment. My involvement with ferals led to my rescue and TNR work. I've helped literally hundreds of cats, I've lost count, but it's probably four or five hundred at this point, and in helping all of those prevented thousands of kittens being born. I'm proud of my work, but it's also left me with a houseful of cats, a lot of responsibility and virtually no free time. I used to garden but there's hardly any time anymore, I'm always behind in my filing and my house is a disaster. I'm probably close to being divorced, and cats are the largest item in my budget.
What did Steve say this weekend? I think it was that I've ruined both of our lives. I have met some absolutely amazing people though that I feel privileged to know, and to be part of such a great community. I suppose everyone doing this kind of thing eventually reaches a tipping point.
So what do I do? Ignore the pleas for help? I guess I have to try, focus on the projects I already have going on, now I'm worried I'm going to end up feeding at Gloria's every day once she moves in 10 days. Maybe I've done my duty, but I can't just walk away, I never understand how anyone could do that.
Maybe I'm just discouraged after yesterday, we went to try to trap Teddy, no luck, I have money for his surgery but no way to get him. Clayton was saying boat owners were complaining about the cats and the raccoons being on the boats and there are raccoons because of the cats, I replied uh, how about the hundreds of dumpsters full of garbage. The raccoons and a dog were eating the cats' food, the boat movement was scaring them, sometimes it's such a frustrating exercise and amazing how much resistance feral feeders are always running into.
Meanwhile, things march on and I'm off to try again to get Teddy, with Connie's help today maybe we will have better luck. He's been trapped in the drop trap a few times and once in his feeding station, he's a smart cat.
On a positive note, I took 11 more cats into THS yesterday from Bowmanville, 40 down, only 5 more to go.