Friday, December 23, 2011

Sooper Hyooge Mega Update

So much to report... Travel, Kitty-Hand-off, and Settling in Update...

On Monday, I picked up Red from the boarding place and brought him to Beatrice's house, where Scoots (now 'Scuse) had been recuperating since his neutering. There was some hissing on 'Scuse's part, presumably because Red smelled like vet and because Red, who he hadn't seen in 2 weeks, was invading his space. (What if he eats all mah gooshy fud??) But there was nothing worse than that.

I left the room to get them some food and when I came back, Red was drooling. I started to panic-- what happened? Was he okay? Had he gotten terribly sick!? But then I discovered, beside him, a now drenched catnip toy that I had made. So, no, not sick, just really really high.

The next morning, a kind friend gave me a ride over Beatrice's house. I put harnesses on the kitties, which had the result of making 'Scuse walk backwards into Red-- who didn't care. I put them into their soft sided carriers, of which they didn't approve, and got a taxi ride to the airport, the boys meowing the entire way.  This didn't bode real well.

At the airport, there was no way to play down the fact that I had two cats. One cat in a soft-sided carrier? No problem- it looks like a duffel bag. Two? And both meowing? That's a lot harder.

Fortunately, I got all checked in with both of my tickets. (Yes, you can only fly with one pet per ticket. The boys' new human bought me a second plane ticket.) Then it was time for security.

Anyone who has flown post-9/11 knows that security has become somewhat difficult. Shoes, jacket, laptop and liquids all must come out of your bag.  I had a bookbag (with laptop) to disassemble before sending through the x-ray machine, and of course two cat carriers to go through the machine, and then 2 cats to walk through the metal detector. I started to ask a (n incredibly UNhelpful) TSA security officer for advice, but when he shot me down, the young woman in front of me offered to help by taking one of the cats through the metal detector. Grateful, I accepted.

I gave her 'Scuse as he is generally pretty accepting of new people. By the time I'd gotten my stuff ready to go through the xray machine and gotten a very scared Red out of his carrier, the kind stranger and 'Scuse had disappeared. Red started to do his best to get away from me, tearing my shirt in the process, as well as yanking it down to bare my (thankfully same-color-as-my-shirt) bra. Thanks, cat!

I stepped through the metal detector-- having been waved away frm the scary cancer-giving machine (which is doubly good because a) I don't think I could have put my arms up while holding Red and b) I always opt for the pat down instead of those things anyway, which would have led to more time for Red being scared and out of his carrier.)

On the other side of the metal detector, the kind stranger stood calmly, with 'Scuse wrapped around her leg, his eyes enormous and staring up at me. He looked like a little bear who had climbed a tree. The kind stranger just smiled and said, "I think your cat is scared."  I was so very torn between laughing hysterically-- it was really the funniest image ever-- and apologizing profusely to this stranger who now had 'Scuse's claws digging into her knee. She was calm and shrugged it all off.  She stuck around long enough for me to get both cats back into their carriers, then disappeared.


I recuperated from the ordeal by getting breakfast. The cats meowed in their carriers. Then at the gate, I spoke with the agents there because my seats weren't together. I was so not going to let one of the cats travel alone!! This led to a very nice chat with the gate agents who switched my seat for me. Unfortunately, no one told the person with whom I was switched, so an attendant on the plane had to ask her to move when I got on.

As I said above, traveling with two cats, particularly meowing ones, is conspicuous. It's triply so when getting on the plane. Because the aisles are narrow, I had to carry both duffle-shaped bags in front of me. This meant one cat was eye level with already-seated passengers. I was asked and therefore had to explain to the first twenty rows or so just what was going on. (And throughout the flight, when the cats got particularly loud, I'd get knowing smiles from nearby passengers.)

The whole trip, it was really interesting to watch people's opinions of me slide across their faces, as they went from thinking I was just someone odd who traveled with her unhappy cats to someone who was taking abused and abandoned animals to a home where they would be safe and loved.

Unfortunately, the whole thing got exponentially more difficult as the plane's engines revved and we began take-off  Taxiing was fine, but as soon as we hit the runway, Red freaked out in the biggest way possible.  He cried and meowed and warbled and scratched and scratched and scratched as his carrier. I put him on my lap, but that didn't help. I put my hand inside the carrier to pet him, but he just tried to escape. He wore several small holes and one large one through the mesh of the carrier, big enough to put his nose or his entire arm/paw through. Once I discovered that, I kept one hand at that hole the whole time, so that I could discourage scratching there. The very last thing I needed was a freaked out Red getting loose on the plane.

One possibility was that the pressurizing of the cabin hurt Red's damaged eye. I don't know when the cabin pressurizes, precisely. Another theory was that when the main engine's came online, the vibration upset him. Either way, he was a mess for pretty much all of the flight. Even when he was relatively still, he was panting hard. Poor baby. and he calmed down as soon as we touched down.

After the flight, a few people wished me and the cats well, which was sweet, and one guy actually struck up a conversation about them as we walked to the concourse.

My parents picked me up,but we still had a long drive to get home. 'Scuse was pretty quiet for most of it, and Red made himself known at weirdly appropriate times in my conversation with my parents.

We got home late and I made them comfortable in my childhood room/bathroom. They ate their gooshy food hungrily and cautiously explored a bit.

Kitty Hand-off
The next morning, I spent a lot of time hanging out with them. I had some fantastic cuddle time with Red as he just purrrrrrred and sprawled across my stomach. 'Scuse isn't entirely pleased when someone other than himself gets attention, but for a good long while, he lay beside me as Red was in my lap, and we just hung out. It was lovely. Less lovely was discovering that in his struggles on the plane the night before, Red had torn out one of his claws.  Poor baby!! As long as it doesn't get infected, it should be okay. It was obviously bothering him a little-- he kept licking it-- but it wasn't making him limp or anything, so that's a good sign.

Then, equally lovely, their new human, Tam, arrived after a 3+ hour car ride. She came up to meet the boys and they were quite friendly. Red was on my bed and was happy to accept love and pets. 'Scuse came out from under the bed fairly quickly and put himself in my lap. He accepted being put into Tam's lap for a bit, then went back to me.

The cats were a lot less sanguine when we brought carriers into the room-- they hid under the bed and even after leaving them alone for a while, we still had to pull them out when it was time to go. Immediately the crying began again from both boys and it accompanied Tam on her 3+ hour drive back home.

Settling in/Updates
Tam has set one room of her house aside for these two boys, in order to keep them apart from her other cats as they get healthy and comfortable. It is a kitty-cat paradise in there-- with shelves for climbing and perches, covered spots for hiding, and so many pillows.  They're also getting all the gooshy food they could want. The boys are on their way to being the spoiled kitties that they should be.

'Scuse is showing some brattiness, as he was doing at my house, too, in that he wants ALL THE ATTENTION. But he's lovable and sweet, so it's awfully hard to be mad at him. Red is backing down rather easily, so Tam suspects he's feeling insecure about his blind-side.

They went to the vet on Thursday, for a proper check up. (Everything that had been done in AZ was triage-- get the eye problem under control/neuter/test/vaccinate.  This was a real exam.) Other than known problems (ie Red's eye) and normal outdoor-cat problems (ie: worms), they got a clean bill of health!! HUZZAH! 'Scuse needs to gain about a pound-- he's just a small cat, evidently. 'Scuse also needs to be shaved, tee hee.  Turns out the mats he has are pretty much his undercoat being dirty, and it's not really fixable without shaving. (Grooming wasn't very helpful.) This will wait until it's warmer, however. (And then I SO want to see pictures of naked 'Scuse...)

Because of an opening in the vet's surgical schedule, Red's surgery is going to be on Tuesday. He will be neutered at the same time as his eye is removed, to save on multiple anesthesias  (as it's never entirely without risk, as you know.) Please keep him in your thoughts for this.

Thanks to the INCREDIBLE generosity of readers of this blog, I was able to send $400 to Tam yesterday. And if Bea's accounting is correct, another $300 will be on its way. (And that's *after* paying for the emergency vet and the ophthalmologist visits). If you wish to help this poor little kitty, you can still donate (and if you would prefer to send money directly to Tam via paypal, get in touch with me and I'll tell you how.)

Thank you thank you thank you thank you. These kitties are safe and sound, snug and warm. And it wouldn't have happened without your help.

(All pictures in this post are thanks to Tam!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Long Awaited Update

My sincere apologies-- there have been two reasons for the lack of updates. First, I was sick and the thought of doing anything other than sleeping was not one I could stomach. (Although as you'll see in a moment I did, actually, do more than sleep because I did take care of the fuzzies.)  Second, things kept changing on me, so I wasn't sure *what* to post, precisely. But let's see what we can see...

First, on Wednesday Scoots went to the low cost spay and neuter clinic. He didn't love being in the cat carrier, but he was okay with it. And while we were in the waiting room, I stuck my hand in the carrier to pet him, and he sprawled out just like he would if he'd been in my lap without the carrier and started purring. And this was with a very nervous, shaking pekinese sitting beside us. Scoots did just fine-- he woke up without trouble, he was eating and investigating by evening time. Equally important, he was tested for FIV and feline leukemia, and, like Red, was negative.  YAY! And he has also now been vaccinated. He has been recovering under the care of Bea's Mom's neighbor, indoors to keep his surgical site clean (and because indoors is where kitty cats belong, particularly when there's some kind of beastie out there attacking cats, as evidenced by Red and, previously, Sir Percy.)

On Friday, I took Red for his follow-up check-up with the ophthalmologist. As you can see in the picture (taken in the waiting room), his face has healed up but his eye is certainly still problematic.

There's good news and bad news. The good news is that he's not in any immediate danger, nor is he in any pain. The ophthalmologist said that the eye probably irritates him a little, but doesn't pain him.

The bad news, however, is that he does need surgery to have the eye removed.  Poor little pirate kitty. The eye is totally blind, so it's not like keeping it would benefit Red in any way. More importantly, and I know I'll screw some of this explanation up but I'll do the best I can here, because there is still blood on both sides of his lens, he's at an extremely high risk to develop a sarcoma. Worse, once that happens, it almost immediately metastasizes and kills the cat. As to when that might happen... well, could be months, more likely years, but it's likely to happen. Likewise, she suggested that the eye will develop glaucoma as well.  So, it needs to come out. He'll always need to be an indoor kitty, because his lack of depth perception means he'd have difficulty getting away from predators, although in general he'll learn to compensate in jumping up on couches and such.

Also, he can get the eye surgery at the same time as getting neutered, which is good, since anesthesia is never totally without risks. 

Red didn't much care for the carrier, either. We had a conversation all the way from the boarding place to the ophthalmologist's, Meow, Meow, MEOW, meow. Once in the waiting room, I let him out of the carrier and into my lap-- where he promptly plunked down, ignored the dogs around us, and started purring. In the exam room, too, he just sat in my lap (there was a bench to sit on) as we waited for the doctor to arrive. He even seemed to enjoy the exam (except for the eye drops). They wrapped him in a towel- and he really seems to love being swaddled. The tech held him and the vet started looking at his eye and then said, "Is he purring?" and yup, he was.

As for the big question you're probably wondering... what now? Do the kitties have a home to go to?

The deadline for finding a home for them was pretty much *now*, as I am leaving AZ (to visit family) on Tuesday. My friend Tam, who has commented on this blog, who first taught me about TNR and rescue, and who has been my guide through so much of Project-Cat, agreed to be a safety net. That is, if no one could take these cats, she would figure out a way to do so. Despite all the internet pleas I could manage, and several false hopes, I did not find a home for them elsewhere. So on Tuesday, two cats, with three working eyes between them, and I (whose eyes mostly work, heh), will fly across the country. And here I thought there'd be no way to go more complicated than getting Sir Percy to his forever home in Germany. Staying domestic this time, but adding a second cat... yup. Sounds about right for my life.

Anyway, the timing isn't ideal for Tam, but I know 110% that these kitties will have the bestest life ever thanks to her. She's already helped them (and me) immensely and I'm so grateful for her generosity. And I'm sure I'll get updates from her. :)

Thank you to all of you who donated (and donations are still very much accepted for Red's eye surgery-- I'll send them to Tam. It will, after all, be a $1000 surgery, plus the cost of neutering; that's on top of the cost of the boarding he's already done and travel costs and such. At some point in January, I'll be putting things for sale on Etsy again, with the proceeds going to Red's surgery as well.) Thank you to everyone who spoke to people about these kitties and who reposted their plight. Thank you all. I couldn't do any of this without you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wee Update: Scoots & Red

Red has been at the vet's boarding facilities now for a few days, so Beatrice is back to normal (well, normal for her, heh.) This evening (Saturday), I called to see how he's doing. (He's under the name "Odin" at the vet). They said, and I quote, "Odin is doing great. He's eating all of his food and he loves to bury himself in his blanket." Aww, how cute! And I'm glad to hear he's eating all of his food-- he's a big cat (long kitty!) but only weighs 8.59 pounds, so he needs to fill out! I asked if he's taking his medicine and they said yes. And I asked how his eye looks and they said, "it looks a little bit better." So that's all promising. Now to just find him a home. Do you or someone you know want a kitty to snuggle up with you? 'Cause Red is just the kitty...

As for Scoots, he's still himself. Bea's Mom's neighbor has offered to get him fixed this week-- huzzah! So he'll be better off thanks to that. And check out these fabulous seasonal pictures.

I may have to make this second one my profile picture online for the holiday season...

So, things are status quo, but we're still wishing for a home or two. Remember, kitties can get to anywhere in the PA/MD/NJ/NY area (or farther, depending on how far you're willing to drive...) on/after the 20th pretty easily. Anywhere else would take more monies and planning, but is doable. Please to help this loving, loving kitties who have gotten such an unfair, inhumane deal 'til now.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

All I want for the Winter Holidays is a Home


I know you're probably tired of hearing about poor Red and Scoots, and I know I'm tired of typing blog posts and pleas on a broken keyboard. But I'm still asking for a Winter Holiday Miracle-- and it's not a fixed keyboard.

Because the extra cat was making Bea's Mom sick and Bea angry and sick, we have moved Red to a vet to be boarded for a few days as a very temporary fix. The vet (University Animal Hospital) is fabulous and they'll play with him when they can and take good care of him, give him his meds, etc. But it's not a solution to a real family or even a foster home. He is a people cat-- he purrs and loves and cuddles.

He was a very good boy at the vet-- in order to board he needed his vaccinations and a check up. This vet hadn't seen him before but agreed with the ministrations mandated by the ophthalmologist. And he seems otherwise healthy. (Skinny, mind you, but he's a growing boy who wasn't cared for.)

He also getting tested for FIV/FLeuk, since his lifestyle 'til now-- thanks to his careless, awful humans-- puts him at high risk.  Thank goodness, it came back negative, so he also got the vaccines against those. So that's a little something to rejoice about!!

The upside to his having gotten his vaccinations is that he would now be permitted to fly. You know, in an airplane, not unassisted. :) Which means that his prospective homes no longer has to be in the Phoenix-drivable area (although it is certainly still permissible!)  The same goes for Scoots-- he's not vaccinated yet, but I'm certain we could scrape up the money to do so. It still has to be domestic (yes, Sir Percy was rehomed to Germany, but the timing wouldn't work in this case) but it's doable. Costly? Potentially as it would require round-trip airfare plus $100 pet fee. On the other hand... I'm already flying into Newark on the 20th.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Well, it means if you're within in a logical area of northern New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania (where I'm actually going) or that sort of geographical location, it'd be pretty easy to get you a loving fuzzy half-blind stripey orange cat who doesn't know how to play but gets along with everyone and loves catnip and gooshy food. And/or his adorable fluffy-floofy black little brother who adores belly rubs above all things.

So, I beg of you all, keep spreading the word in the hopes of a miracle-- a family to take in Red and  Scoots (not necessarily just one family for both!) to make them as happy as each of them would make a family.

This last picture was taken at the vet's office just yesterday. Despite having had a thermometer stuck in an unpleasant place, and having strangers poke and prod him, he was interested in the goings on and relatively relaxed. And while the picture isn't great (taken with a phone), you can see that he's healing up, even though he doesn't have vision in his right eye. He's a big handsome boy who, with proper nutrition, will be bigger and handsomer and now he's just waiting for a miracle for himself and his brother.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Little Brother

 In recent days, this blog has been about Orange Kitty, variously called Reds and now, thanks to his injury and Bea's Mom recently watching Thor, Odin. But I've mentioned before that he's not the only special kitty who needs saving this Christmas, not even the only one in our situation.

Meet Scoots, aka Rascal, aka Loki.
 Loki showed up after Odin did, his "owners" apparently deciding that one cat that they didn't take care of wasn't enough. Both kitties got kicked outdoors once their "owners" decided they didn't want to deal with the neutering.

If possible, Loki is even more loving and sweet than Odin. He follows people around, mewing, asking to be taken home with them.

He'll flop over on the pavement (as you can see) and show his belly, asking for loooove. (Also, sunbeams. 'Cause it's gotten cold, even here in Phoenix.)

So while we seek a home for Odin, we also seek one for Loki.  The two aren't from the same litter, but they are a pair (they'll cuddle and play) so if you're looking for a perfect duo, two cats to entertain each other, these could be your babies.   

And finally, a quick update on Orange Kitty/Red/Odin: He still seems to be improving, although that is a guess from us, since we're not ophthalmologists, nor do we have fancy equipment. Unfortunately, the situation with Beatrice (who is violently angry and making herself sick because there is another cat in her house) and with her mom (who is not angry, but who is getting sick because there's just too many allergens in the house) has reached a tipping point. We are taking him to the vet to be boarded for a few days, in the desperate hope that we can find a foster home for him before either of us leave for the holidays. The vet will be equipped to care for his eye and he'll have a condo with a view (no, seriously, he gets a window.)  He'll also get vaccinated today, so that's a good thing.

But this is a very short term, very temporary fix.  Please, please, please, talk to everyone you know, even if they're not in the Phoenix area, because they might know someone who is, and who could take in this sweet, adorable, loving, injured kitty who has been abused and abandoned and yet is still so cuddly and desiring of human affection, even if just for a few weeks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Desperately Seeking Foster Home

The generosity of friends and strangers is amazing.  Thanks to you-- those who could donate and those who spread the word-- we've raised enough money to cover Red's first (emergency) vet bill, his first ophthalmologist appointment (yesterday's) and, I think, his ophthalmologist check-up in 9 days.

If he needs surgery... well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Bea's Mom isn't sure if he's doing better or not-- it's probably too soon to say-- but the eye isn't drying out (that's good!) and he's acting normal (that's good!) and she's managing to get ... most of his medicine in him (that's mostly good!)

Unfortunately, having another cat in the house has made Beatrice angry (to the point of making herself sick) and it's making Beatrice's mom sick.  (She's allergic to cats in general, although has gotten used to Beatrice.  Having another cat in the house has pushed her system past the tipping point and she's already gotten a rash and a bloody nose... Lovely, huh?)  And she's leaving town very soon, too, for the holidays.  So at this point, our biggest, most pressing, and most frustrating, need is a foster home.  (A forever home would be even better, of course!)

Please, please, please, if you can open your house and home to this skittish but very friendly and loving boy, let us know. We're in the Phoenix area, and can drive him to you. For a forever home, I'm willing to drive sooper far, but since we'd have to get him *back* from a foster home, I'd say only a few hours distance from Phoenix is logical.  If you aren't nearby or can't take him in, please, please, please keep boosting the signal of this blog and this need?

(Also, while Red's need is immediate, don't forget that his brother, sometimes called Scavenger Kitty, sometimes called Scoot or Rascal, a black medium-haired boy who wants attention like nobody's business, is also seeking a home.  Could you or someone you know be the holiday miracle for either of these boys?)

So, good thoughts that Red can keep his eye.  And good thoughts that we can get him at least a temporary home asap. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Miracle Time?

As you may have noticed, after the debacle of the feral colony and the bullying management, I removed myself from cat rescue (including this blog.) Not that I'd ever gone *looking* for trouble before, but still. But once a sucker-- er, rescuer-- always one, I suppose...

My friend, Beatrice's Mom, had neighbors with two cats. However, because these neighbors didn't bother to get these two cats, both male, neutered, they sprayed indoors. So the cats were kicked out. And the cats were not treated well when they were around the humans anyway. And then the humans stopped paying rent and were evicted and they left these two cats behind.

The cats are incredibly friendly and desperately want attention. They'll follow me partway to my car when I've been visiting. Bea's Mom and I did what we could to keep them comfortable-- Bea's mom has been feeding them, and once it started to get cool (and sometimes rainy) here, we made them snug little shelters. And they were scheduled to get neutered this week. We hadn't had any luck finding homes, but at least we were making them as comfortable as possible.

Warning-- the next part is gross.

Well, two days ago, one of the cats, Red, showed up having clearly been in a fight. Remember when Sir Percy got away from Bea's mom and was attacked, coming home with scratches on his face? Poor Red was like this, only worse. His right eye was bloody and weeping, and Bea's Mom was certain that the eye was actually *gone*.  She managed to catch Red last night and take him to the emergency vet in Gilbert.  $200 later, she was sent home without much in the way of answers (but with some painkillers and antibiotics) and a stern recommendation to keep Red inside and to get him to an ophthalmologist asap.

Eye Care for Animals actually has Saturday hours in south Scottsdale, and they squeezed Red in between surgeries.  (We're grateful to them-- by squeezing us in, we didn't have to pay the after-hours cost which would have been $200 more.)

Red will probably never regain vision in his right eye. There's clearly been a lot of bleeding in it, and there's swelling.  To complicate matters, there's a corneal abrasion, too, which means that the best treatment for the swelling (steroids) can't be used because it'd pretty much melt the eyeball. (I'm paraphrasing.) The good news is that his left eye is perfectly fine, meaning that if he doesn't have vision in the right, he'll still be able to get around just fine. Also, the bleeding seems to have stopped, also good. Oh, and while the emergency vet thought that the eye pressure was quite high, by this afternoon at the ophthalmologist, it was down in the perfectly normal range. 

So we were sent away with many meds (painkillers, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, a lubricant and ... something else. Perhaps Bea's Mom can fill me in on the last.) And now we wait-- we'll go back in 10 days or so to see if things are improving. If he seems comfortable, blind or not, then that's good.

But if he's not-- if things get worse, or if pressure builds, or the eye dries out, etc., then the eye will need to be removed. Please send your prayers and good thoughts to Red, that he heals up quickly and healthily.

The emergency vet cost Bea's Mom $178. Today's ophthalmologist cost $259. Surgery would cost $1500. If you can help with Red kitty's eyes, please contact Bea's Mom at

AND, even more importantly, frankly, is finding him a home. (And ideally one for his brother, a fluffy black kitty, too, although it doesn't need to be the same home.)  We're looking for a Forever Home, but we're also looking for a Foster Home. Bea's Mom is leaving town very soon and anyway, Beatrice is a dominant cat who is making life miserable for everyone in the house because of Red's presence.  If you're in the Phoenix/AZ area and could take in a poor injured kitty even just for a few weeks, that would help us (and the kitty) immeasurably. 

Even if you can't help him financially or by providing shelter, it'd be a great help if you'd boost the signal on this post, spread it around.  Getting this kitty healthy and finding him and his brother homes would be a really spectacular winter holiday present to them. They've had a really raw deal from humans so far.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Itty Bitty Kitty Committee

You're probably already familiar with the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, or, if you're not, you should be. Once a year, that site and its current foster kittens raise money for the Tacoma & Pierce County Humane Society. This year, they're trying to raise 50 squillion dollars, and area almost halfway there.  Obviously, it's a great charity to donate to.

But even better, all money raised today (Wednesday 29 June) will go to the spay & neuter programs.  This includes a low-cost program for pet owners, but also a spay & neuter program for ferals in that area.

You can read about it here: Spay & Neuter Day (and Hump Day!)  And I encourage you to donate if you can, since you, as readers of this blog, know about the plight of homeless and feral cats.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"If I had magic powers, I'd wish them compassion, so that they'd understand what they're comdemning these cats to."

"Your heart must be breaking."

Both the complex manager at the first meeting, and a MEB district manager (or whatever-- she never gave me her job title), at the second (and disastrous) meeting, informed me of this.  And yeah, of course I'm saddened (and oh boy, there are other words that come to mind, such as horrified, disgusted, disheartened in humanity, etc.) about the fate of these cats.  But in the moments that this phrase was applied to me I was actually far, far more angry than anything else.  And not even entirely about the cats, but about *people*, specifically *these* people who simply refused to listen to me.  I don't even mean that they refused to agree with me, I mean simply 100% refused to listen to me, as clearly as if they had put fingers in their ears and went, "LA LA LA LA, I CAN'T HEEEEAAAARR YOOOOUUU," like a five-year old.

I haven't written since that horrific meeting for a number of reasons-- not least of which because nothing has changed. (And the legal system, when it comes to animal abuse, is slow and overburdened, and so I have not yet heard back from the various authorities I contacted about MEB's illegal dumping of the feral cats.  And when I do, depending upon what I hear and what's happening, I might not feel comfortable putting it in such a public forum anyway. We shall see.)  But the other part is because much of what I've been thinking about and feeling is about me rather than the cats, and that wasn't, isn't, the purview of this blog.  That horrible, bullying meeting that day actually changed my worldview about people, and not for the better. 

"I'd wish on them compassion."

During this horrific process, I've been leaning on friends for advice and to simply listen to me rant and rail about the unfairness of it all.  Some of them have been feral caretakers and some of them are simply decent human beings, and I'm grateful to all of them.  And many of them have been *you*, those of you who read this blog, even if you don't comment. 

In speaking with one of said friends last night, Tam, she said something close to the title of this entry-- she'd wish compassion upon these managers so that they'd understand precisely what it is they're doing. 

"We are not killing these cats," one manager insisted to me several times (in both meetings, even.) The first time I pointed out that by taking the cats to the Humane Society, that was precisely what they were doing, even if she herself was not physically the person who took the life of the cat.  Theoretically (and I have expressed before why I do not have a baseline as to what to believe from these managers, no matter how much they insist that they are not and have not lied to me) they are now "removing" the cats and letting them "free" in some other location.  I attempted to explain what precisely that means to the cats-- territorial creatures who (with management's permission!!) had become dependent upon human provided food sources.  Even if the cats were relocated *correctly*-- which is a many week process for each cat!-- there's a strong chance that the cat would not acclimate to its new surroundings and would attempt to get back to its home territory (and likely get hurt or killed in the process.)  And we all know that they are NOT even attempting a proper relocation of the cats. 

These are not people who sit at home pondering ways to make the lives of these cats miserable, nor are they people who genuinely dislike cats (even the ferals.) [They assured me of this so may times that it became a mantra for them, although any rhetorician or speech writer will know that this is false logic given the particular argument has nothing to do with these particular people's feelings.]  These managers honestly believe, as far as I can tell, that they are doing the Good and Right thing by releasing the cats they catch (in really rather terrible traps).  Because their hands aren't the dirty ones, they are able to hide behind the thought that they aren't doing anything wrong, they think they are not causing suffering. And when I tried to enlighten them about the realities, they metaphorically stuffed their fingers in their ears and refused to listen. My wish is like Tam's, that they would suddenly understand what they're actually condemning the cats to.


I have a few more posts in mind for Project-Cat, general type stuff on ferals, on what I did wrong with the project and what feral care-givers should do different, and on how you can help feral cats in general.  I'll be moving from my current location-- for reasons that should be perfectly obvious to anyone reading this blog and man, I hope I never, ever see anyone affiliated with MEB ever again-- and I really and truly and fervently hope that there are no feral cats at my new home.  (Given the size of the feral cat population in this particular metropolitan area... well, fingers crossed at any rate.)  This means that this blog's nature, when I post, will have changed from updates on these particular cats to posts on ferals in general.  I do hope you still read and I do hope you still find something interesting here.  And I will update on specifics whenever possible. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I promised I'd update

I don't honestly know what to say here.  As far as the cats go, it boils down to this: MEB refused to let them stay, citing health and safety hazards, and are removing them to an undisclosed location. 

If you're looking at that last part and thinking, "Um, that won't work," you're right. Cats are territorial and will do everything they can to come back here to this space.  If you're looking at that last part and thinking,  "Hey, that's illegal," you're also right.  Under AZ Animal Cruelty Laws, you cannot dump a feral cat-- you are not allowed to take them anywhere but the Humane Society.  But if you're also looking at that last part and thinking, "Well, at least they'll have a chance there, unlike the Humane Society," you will see my current dilemma.

A wonderful, kind, and smart feral-cat caregiver, a volunteer with the Foundation for Homeless Cats, was to come with me to this meeting.  She and I met and spoke ahead of time and I had a little bit of hope from this veteran negotiator.

False hope, alas, as when we got to our meeting I was completely blind-sided.  The complex manager had called in two higher managers from MEB and they refused to allow the volunteer to stay and talk.  This was, apparently, about a "resident concern" and thus for residents only. 

Let me tell you, guys, it was awful.  Imagine being taken to the principal's office with your teacher and your guidance counselor there, all of them thinking you're a recalcitrant child in need of severe behavior modification.  (Later, when I pointed out that I'd been blind-sided, they had the gall to say, "Well, you brought someone."  And I responded with, "Yeah, and you made her leave.")

Clearly the purpose of this meeting as far as these three managers were concerned was to get me to shut up and to have you all stop writing to them.  It seems that they honestly don't care what anyone thinks except their residents (and their residents have said only negative things about the cats.  I pointed out that angry people are the 10% who are vocal-- what about the 30% who are neutral and the 60% who are happy to let the cats stay?  They said that wasn't their experience.  Well... yeah, by definition of those other 90% not being vocal!) Not caring what potential renters might think? Seems short-sighted to me.

They've been taking down my flyers because they are "Solicitation." Since I don't try to sell anything, that would be completely untrue.  Not to mention, those flyers are posted directly next to other flyers THAT ARE SELLING THINGS.  So, uh, solicitation?

The only two resident complaints that they shared with me were one: a small child was attacked by a feral cat recently.  Uhh... No.  I'm not saying that the mother claiming this is lying (although she might be) but I think there must be a lot more to this story that we're no getting because that's not what feral cats do.  When I pointed that out, I was dismissed with, "well, maybe it was stray or a pet or whatever, but it can't be there." And they suggested that children may run after a feral, corner it, and get scratched.  My thought there, as I'm sure any responsible parent or sane person would have is, "Teach the freakin' kids not to chase strange animals!" but again, no.  And secondly, they complained about the smell near my building.  I will admit that Sir Percy's penchant for spraying made the area slightly pungent.  I pointed out his story, and that he's been removed.  They said that I couldn't promise that it was that cat doing the spraying.  I said, actually, that I could, because all the other males have been neutered.  They refused to believe me.

I tried everything I could, although I'm not a skilled negotiator.  They had all the cards in this situation-- a veiled threat not to let me renew my lease (I so don't care) atop the whole ganging up on me thing.  THREE OF THEM against me.  Sure, they had the temerity to claim that they were all there out of concern for me, because I'm a resident and had registered a complaint, but I'm calling them on that BS.

End result... not sure, precisely.  They claim that they took the three cats they've caught the Humane Society but that upon finding out that they were going to be killed, they did not leave them there but took them to a housing development elsewhere where they had permission to leave the cats.

There are holes in that story, however.  If they're using only one trap, how did they catch three cats and take them to this special location? If they caught one and found that out and took the cat elsewhere, then took he others elsewhere, that might make sense- but when I asked the manager last week she said that three cats had been taken to the Humane Society.  Today she said she hadn't known, and that since then they've changed their mind.  Well... that doesn't make sense.

And the larger problem-- dumping cats, even ferals, elsewhere is ILLEGAL.  No two ways about it-- it's part of AZ's anti-cruelty laws, as I stated above.  I said as much to them, and I was informed that their attorneys said it was okay.  Well, I don't know what loop-hole they've found, but it's not.

I suggested that I would be fine with everything if two things happened:
1. They removed the cats in a safe, humane, and effective manner--- which includes keeping the cats contained at the new location for several weeks.  (A 21 day period is suggested by this group, for example)
2. That they offer me some proof that they have permission to move the cats to this location.

They FLATLY denied both. Flat out. Offered nothing in return.  Claimed I was giving them an ultimatum (they said I was free to do whatever I liked but they were equally free to not renew my lease.) They said their attorneys wouldn't let them tell me where the cats are being taken (could this be the way they're getting around the fact that it's ILLEGAL!?) 

I said that between being blind-sided by this meeting and their refusal to listen, I had no real reason to trust any of them without some kind of proof.  They said they'd never lied to me-- well, a) first time for everything and b) ... isn't that what a liar would say?

Look, bottom line? I believe that they think that they're doing the right thing.  They honestly believe that they're at risk because of the cats and that by removing them they'll be fine.  (They're wrong, but nevermind that.)  And if they actually are taking the cats to some undisclosed location (or a sanctuary in Mesa, supposedly as their second location), they undoubtedly again believe that at least they aren't getting the cats euthanized. 

Because I heard them say that this is what they're doing-- all three of them said it at one point or another-- I could legitimately report them to the police's anti-animal-cruelty division.  But I'm terrified that if I do, they'll simply revert to taking the cats to the Humane Society.  And okay, that option's legal but equals death.  On the other hand, there's a reason that dumping a cat is illegal and considered cruel-- they're away from their food source, their familiar territory, and if they're just dumping the cats in the desert, well, they're just sentencing them to death anyway, but a longer and more painful one. 

So I'm at a loss. And the cats have lost, too.