Saturday, February 16, 2013

Done

I am done.  I officially quit with the city in rounding up cats to be fixed under their grant, which is almost used up for this year anyhow.  It's all over those apartment cats.  Deadline is too close now to be able to get them caught and fixed for a relocation a group in Portland might have done for them.

 Relocations rarely work anyhow.  Relocation is brutal on cats and most of the cats over there are not yet fixed, including two mature males.  You can't relocate freshly fixed males.  Relocations rarely work.  They only work if you get the rare decent people, who actually follow relocation instructions and keep the cats confined in great comfort, where they can survey their new home, talk to them, work with them, name them, for a month or even longer.  Then whether they live or die or stick around depends on the area too and most areas in Oregon are over run in predators, cars, dangerous farm machinery and cat killing dogs.

 This is predator baby season too, upcoming, and predators often teach their young to hunt with small game, like rabbits and cats, that they disable, breaking legs or back, before dropping them near their young.  It's a brutal awful horrible terrifying death.

But the city was very unhappy about this and feel I should trap them anyway, even if I end up with them here since a city official talked to management about trapping, and told management I would trap them, which I was going to do, but by the time that happened it was too late.  I have no place to even get them fixed, should I catch them, until after the deadline has passed, meaning I'd be stuck with them, but this was of no concern to the city official.  Since they'd told management I would trap them, even though by the time that happened it was too late, then by golly I better do it.  I'm really sure I told her about the deadline. It is very difficult to accurately communicate via fb occasional messaging.

When I also told her my car is in bad shape and not safe to drive long distance anymore, with any surity I'll not be stranded, I was told that was my fault because I choose to drive to distant clinics instead of using local vets.  This was brutal and uncalled for attack.  Local vets could not have done the volume of cats I have been taking to be fixed, even if they were willing and would cut their costs to a quarter of what they normally charge or even less which they wouldn't have done.  That is why nonprofit clinics exist in the first place.

I realized what I am to them, a tool, not a human, just a tool, to be discarded if not useful.  When you get a gift, even a grant, I realize, there are expectations implied.  I got nothing from the grant at all.  Nothing.  The community benefited greatly, but I suffered under it.  The model is flawed, you see, with me sacrificing my time, my car, phone minutes, my sanity and my money.  It was really fricking stupid on my part.

My low self esteem and desire to please got me in this spot.  Well, not just that, I wanted badly to solve the overpopulation problem.  It's all I was good at.   The model sure wasn't an easy one, not being paid, having to use my own vehicle, come up with gas money up front and money for bait, then running into all these cats who would suffer and die if I didn't take them out of horrible places.  But I have no nonprofit myself, no help and no adoption venue.  So I'd end up finding most of the cats homes, from some terrible horrible place, but not all of them.  So they'd become part of the crowd here.

I felt under fire a year and a half ago when the city contacted me to help a local business with ferals roaming the property.  The grant was up for renewal.  I had told the city not to contact me when cats can't be returned. That I could not get involved in such situations.  I no longer do feral relocation.  But if I see the cats, then I'm a basket case, a total advocate for saving their lives.  So when one person from that business suggested maybe they would consider taking them back and feeding them, I took the bait.  But he wasn't even someone who could make that determination.  By then, I'd met the cats eyes with mine.  It's better for me to not even hear of situations where the cats can't return which is why I told the city not to refer such complaints my way.

 I didn't know what to do.  I'm not good with these things.  I wanted to please the city, so the grant could continue and, ok, so they'd like me.  So I trapped the cats and they're still here and I'm suffering because of it.  You see, I'm really not suited for doing what I've been doing due to my soft heart and low self-esteem and my lack of experience dealing with people and leveraging.

I do the best I can.  I blunder along.   But my gawd I've been in over my head so often.

Now my car has too many miles and I've beat the hell out of it hauling cats.  It's dripping oil and vibrating and making noises, but it's got heart, that's for sure.   I'm no good at hobnobbing or ass kissing.  If I don't like the way things are going down, sooner or later, I'll mess up and it will come out.  It came out tonight via facebook and I did need to put an end to it.

I was going to try to help those apartment cats out, but the tenant screwed things up, didn't help catch them, made it very unlikely they could be easily caught, even as the deadline loomed on that barn home and I wrestled with the knowledge feral relocation is usually lethal to cats anyhow.  Inadequate communication using fb instead of the phone, further complicated the situation with the now angry city official.

Too bad.  I'm a volunteer.  I don't have to do anything but I've done plenty and I cannot take on more cats here I don't care who promised who what.  Here's a thought, city official, it's six fricking cats.  Tell management to get them fixed and leave them alone or even feed them.  How about that as a solution?

I'm done.  Myself and the city official had a fb messaging face off.  It was all over her promising the manager I'd trap and remove those cats.  Sure, I was going to do that, when I had somewhere for them to go, but there was a deadline on that, after which I could not remove them without having nowhere for them to go.  About time I quit.  I couldn't continue at this pace.  My car is a basket case now.  So am I.  Guess I always was.

It's over. Done.  But it needed to be over and done.  This was not a sustainable model of doing things for me. It is good it has ended to save what life is left in my car and to relieve me of a burden that otherwise I seem unable to shrug---helping all the unwanted cats in this area.  It's really too much for a person to do without a support system and money.  I have nightmares. You get all cynical and PTSD'ed out seeing so much animal suffering and abuse.  You need a way to vent, a support system, people to talk to, to be able to deal with it and I don't have that.  It ended in sort of huge fireball shockwave that broke all my windows.  I'll have to fix them.  And breath.

It had to end one way or another.  Sooner or later.  It's hard, but life isn't easy.

What can I say.  Onward to Infinity!

Update:  I found somewhere else for the cats and sat there until 3:00 a.m. this morning, in my freezing car, uncomfortable and cramped, and caught three of them.  I now have four of the cats in hand, with I think three more to catch.  Then they will go north, forever leaving this area, like I wish I could do!

The person taking them will get the unfixed ones fixed, as I don't have anywhere I can get that done for two or more weeks.

Sometimes I think I should quit the blog too.  If I was only doing it for page views, I would quit.  The new page view numbers stat is humbling.  I believe the most pages views for one post is just under 500 and the average for any post is under 30.  Most of those views are probably me being counted as I edit a post.  I would estimate I might actually have 8 to 10 people see a given post.   Oh well.  Mainly I have kept this as a record of cats fixed, when, where and their photos, for later reference.  Has been very helpful in that last regard.  Worth it for that alone.  Gives me cause to seek some other form of entertainment for myself, as my cat wrangling days wind to a close.




11 comments:

Snowbrush said...

You get nothing from the city and then they blame you for wearing your car out in their service! As long as you were useful, they used you, but now that there's no grant, they have no need of you. Otherwise, you would receive some form of recognition. At least, you helped a lot of cats, which was what you set out to do.

The Elephant's Child said...

My heart goes out to you. Despite the city official you did good work. At no little cost to you. Work that was appreciated by the cats you helped and by many of us here in the blogosphere.

Strayer said...

Thanks guys. I am going through a low point in my life. So I appreciate your words. There's not much left of last years grant and I can't keep doing this the way its set up. She said they'd give the grant to Safehaven then and I said go ahead, they get paid, they have a company vehicle to sue and they have a lot of staff people to support each other through the pain of seeing so much neglect, abandonment and abuse. And they have community support. I don't have any of those things. so go ahead and give it them. I don't care. Do it. That's what I told her.

Snowbrush said...

"Its a terrible realization on me, that nobody cares about me, that I'm a joke..."

I think "a joke" might be too strong, however, as you well know, you live what, to a lot of people, would be an eccentric lifestyle. People who appreciate your idealism will respect you for that, and people who don't give a rip about the welfare of cats probably won't respect for that. As you said, they will see you as someone to use, but this is hardly a new realization to you; you're simply in a frightened and vulnerable spot right now.

Strayer said...

Yeah, you are right. I've never been comfortable with the grant, didn't want to apply last year, but in the end, did, knowing Poppa would soon be closing and that would be it. Yeah, the model isn't good. My friend up in West Fir quit too, ruined her car in transport. Joke might have been a strong word. I've put up with shit for a long time doing this. Leveraging though is truely evil, I think.

Strayer said...

Ironically, Snow, it may be my religious upbringing that fuels my current outrage, from the background of my brain. You're supposed to do good, sacrifice and you get that far distant reward. I discarded the whole heaven concept. But in the back of my brain, I think I still have that notion stored, "if you sacrifice to help others and do good, you'll be taken care of and rewarded." I need to delete that file! Life isn't fair. Never has been and never will be

Snowbrush said...

I think the fact that you didn't get expenses and minimum wage was criminal. I don't mean that you weren't entitled to more than minimum wage, but realistically, that's the most one could ask for unless you could go on the city or county payroll. You know, I wonder if you could sue the bastards. I've heard recently about people who worked for free as interns later suing and getting paid for what they did, and I wonder if you could too. Even the threat of a lawsuit would get them to take you seriously, I should think.

Snowbrush said...

"if you sacrifice to help others and do good, you'll be taken care of and rewarded." I need to delete that file! Life isn't fair."

The fact that we know something intellectually doesn't mean that it feeds us emotionally, and this, I think, is the reason that you--and a lot of people, including myself--continue to hold expectations that we know are unlikely to be met. It can be very, very hard to accept reality because reality can be awfully unsatisfying.

Strayer said...

Amen, Snow!!!

SCohen said...

Oh please don 't listen to city officials Jodi. I know it is tough but she is no better than you. Worse since Imho she owes you an apology. You are a citizen and shd not be treated that way. I often find supposedly intelligent ppl know little about cat rescue yet there are also many who care. Are there other non profit grants available. Even a law school grp to incorporate your work so you could qualify for them? Take heart!! The angels are on your and the cat's side. Siobhan

SCohen said...

Oh please don 't listen to city officials Jodi. I know it is tough but she is no better than you. Worse since Imho she owes you an apology. You are a citizen and shd not be treated that way. I often find supposedly intelligent ppl know little about cat rescue yet there are also many who care. Are there other non profit grants available. Even a law school grp to incorporate your work so you could qualify for them? Take heart!! The angels are on your and the cat's side. Siobhan