Friday, January 15, 2010

Work

The 12 rural cats I caught and took to be fixed this week caused me much work. I had to hold them here, you see, while attempting to catch the rest. I had to make countless trips to that distant location, to check traps, since the homeowners who are the cats' caretakers were away on a business trip. It was costly, in money and labor.

I took ten of the twelve back this morning. No cats in traps or seen last night nor this morning. So at 10:30, I let the ten go. I hated to. I always do. If it's raining. Before I let them go, I filled the food dishes on the deck, in the shop and on the back porch. My own food, too. It is not cheap to be a volunteer.

These caretakers at least paid for the spays and neuters. That's not the usual. But neither is it the usual for me to hold them here so long, or to travel so far so often to check traps. Then the cleanup must occur. Cleaning all those traps and cages, and washing all that bedding. It's a lot of work. But I'm almost done.

I have the bad eye girl kitten and another of the kittens, for a buddy for her, settled into a cage in the spare bedroom, where it's warm, and where Shady has already latched onto sleeping atop the cage and where Calamity tries her best to get the little ones to play with her through the mesh. I shoo them out, tell them, "They're tired and scared. Give them some time." But the cats here all are excited over newcomers and want to be the first to have them as friends.

They can't stay. I wish they could, but they can't. I asked the caregivers by e-mail to take over care of the little girl when they return tomorrow. She needs eye drops for a week. I don't know if they will, though. I didn't get a response.

I don't want to get attached, to worry about them. I can't have that. I'm a wreck as it is, most of the time, with too many here to care for and no adoptions forthcoming. I can't worry about every cat I encounter out there. But I do. It's my nature. It's my sorry nature. My curse.

I'm doing the last load of dirty cage covers right now. I washed all the traps and cages and they're sitting out in the rain rinsing now. Then I'll hang up the traps and stash the cages and litter boxes once again, in the very little space I have around my car in the garage.

I think I do ok. The garage has a room in one side, my own cats use, then the side for my car and I keep my car inside it because it's already been broken into a lot of times and I just can't afford that to happen again. But that does limit my space for recovering ferals and holding them very long in the cages. Makes for tight times! But I think I do ok despite the tight space problem in the garage if the car is in there. It's not perfect but I do ok.

I don't know if I caught them all up there. I think I did, but I don't know. At least these 12 got fixed. There's that to be happy about. With 8 females in the mix, that colony was about to explode in numbers. The first batches could have produced 40 more kittens. The suffering would have compounded exponentially.

I know I didn't have to trap these cats. Maybe I wouldn't have if I'd known how many trips it was going to involve, but once I got started I don't like to do things half ass. I always hope somebody will reimburse all the expenses. I can't remember when that actually has happened. It's strange in many ways to be involved fixing cats and to hear the excuses people make so they can wrangle out of responsibility.

Usually it becomes a mixture excuses, that they are somehow owed free labor and free fixes, because "these aren't my cats", to which I always respond, "if you feed them, they're your cats." I often get the excuse "I'm on a fixed income" when they won't make a donation of any sort, towards the fixing or my expenses in helping them, to which I reply "I know how that goes, because I'm on one too."

Lately I just don't care much anymore. I'm never going to have any money. One day soon, my car will break down and need a new engine or something too major for me to afford. Then I won't be doing this.

I already figured out most people use other people and if they don't' know them especially, makes it easier. I already figured out this is a dog eat dog vicious jungle world and that I should not believe anybody or trust anybody's motivations.

I know a few people online whom I adore and I've met some people I think the world of, but most of the people I've met would just as soon stomp on you, if nobody was looking, as do anything else. So people don't need to make excuses to me anymore because I don't care anymore. Excuses don't carry any weight with me. Be better to save the words for something else.

These reflections I go through are just the reality. I wish I could be paid to do this. I'd like to make a decent wage, go on vacations once a year, have the money to pay all of my own rent, be a respectable tax paying citizen, do a few things every now and then. Not get poorer doing this. Not be treated like some nutcase slave. That's why every now and then I reflect on this inequity, this dilemma. Even my own brother sometimes scoffs over volunteers like myself, calling us martyrs.

One day, if financial realism hits the pet overpopulation world, instead of paying shelter workers and funding shelters, the tide may turn to something far more efficient and effective, as a use of money to help the massive numbers of unwanted animals bred in this county and the world. When the tide turns to financial realism, then cat trappers and cat wranglers, rounding up cats to be fixed, will be a paid population and not just hard working unpaid idealists out there in the dark of night beneath the shining stars.

I'll be long dead by then. What a dreamer I am.

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