Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Christmas Wish!

I just added a paragraph to my cat adoption website to reflect the upcoming END of my cat wrangling.  I added this paragraph to the home page at

"UPDATE ON POPPA INC. My mission, rounding up and fixing cats, is about to end. Poppa Inc., the Beaverton nonprofit that has funded my efforts for a decade, is closing next summer. Yes, I am devastated, but unbelievably grateful for their funding, over the years, giving me a reason to get out of bed, a way to help, and for fixing thousands upon thousands of mid valley cats I have rounded up, usually between 800 and 1000 every year. What will I do after they close? I don't know, but until then, I am rounding up as many local cats to be fixed as I possibly can. Thank you Poppa Inc. for saving me, by giving me a purpose, and for saving thousands of cats and warping the future beautifully, by preventing millions of unwanted cats from being born to suffer and die. THANK YOU POPPA INC. FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! YOU SAVED ME! When Poppa closes, I will change my phone number and probably discontinue this site, to stop the calls for help with spay neuter I won't be able to return. Please don't forget about me and the cats here. Both myself and Poppa Incs' president, have ended up with lots of cats, who had no options. Poppa's president will continue a side track venture, as a nonprofit, trying to set up a sanctuary for the unwanteds up there. My greatest Christmas wish is that people would donate tons of money to Poppa Inc., designating it go to Poppa's presidents sanctuary. She does care for two dozen mid valley unwanteds already, without a lot of financial help. Smother her in donations to help. Would make me so happy! I could use help in the form of a truckload of good quality cat food, too! I have been the recipient of a grand blessing--a life, a mission and a way to fulfill it. Poppa Inc. gave me all that. I am eternally grateful.Click here to go to their website. Tell them THANK YOU too!"

Here's a link to my adoption website.

I have not just taken cats to be fixed using Poppa Inc. funds.  I've used the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon clinics, sometimes scrounging the cash myself to contribute small amounts, feeling embarrassed to take up cats with no donations provided by the colony caretakers.  I've volunteered with the Neuterscooter, working her clinics in exchange for cat fixes.  I've taken advantage of free fixes offered anywhere and everywhere.  I've trapped in exchange for free spays and neuters.  I've picked up cans to pay for gas and fixes.  I've scrapped and struggled, as a poor person, but I wanted to do something with my life.  I also wanted to give back somehow, to society.

And I have an IOU to fulfill, from the strays themselves, who saved my life when I lived homeless, void of human love or family, along the river in Corvallis.  I had nobody who cared about me at all.  When I found the river cats, living along the Willamette, where I hung out, when homeless or living in low income projects that were like living in hell, I found my family.  They saved me.  I owe them and will the rest of my days.

I began when I met a couple in Corvallis who ran a nonprofit trying to get cats fixed.  Scott and Pam Chadwick.  I had no car.  But they bought me my first trap, which I still have. They took a chance on me, a totally messed up person whose life so far had been taking abuse, starting with my father, then continuing on, as I was given label after label, in a destructive mental "health" system, beaten on psyche wards, drugged up on psyche drugs I didn't need but that were forced on me, living in poverty, meaninglessness and hopelessness. Until I ran into the river cats.  And then the Chadwicks.  The Chadwicks left Corvallis due to Scott's severe allergies to all the grass seed pollen in this area's air.  How could they have known what their act, of buying me that trap, would foreshadow for the future of mid valley cats.  And how it would change my life.  They couldn't know how badly I needed a purpose, usefulness, meaning.

I first trapped cats and took them only to FCCO clinics, catching rides with others going.  At that time, the FCCO held mostly mobile surgery clinics and far more frequently than they do now.  Now, they have a highly efficient fixed place clinic in Portland, although they still sometimes do the mobile surgery clinics.  I hooked up with Poppa Inc. when Poppa's president contacted me with an offer to take in some barn cats, from a trashy N. Albany trailer park, that continues to be a problem to this day.  They lived out their lives at Recycled Gardens, the nursery on Cornelius Pass road, volunteer run, that took in unwanted plants, cared for them and then sold them to make money to prevent unwanted cats, dogs, and rabbits.  Like a circle.

I began going up when I got a $200 car, to mow their lawns, whenever I could get enough gas money.  I loved going up, looked forward to it.  Their volunteer parties were awesome.   The president's husband plays in a rock band, as a hobby and it is fabulous!  We'd dance in front of the Recycled Gardens barn porch, converted to stage, in the gravel in front of the plant beds, until midnight, after a barbecue and possibly too much drinking.  Now that's a volunteer party!

Recycled Gardens made a lot of money wisely invested by Poppa's treasurer.  Recycled Gardens closed several years ago.  The recession hit Poppa's extremely hard working president.  She had to find real work, that paid something.  Nobody else could run it.  She had intended to run Poppa Inc. only ten years.  But when they were about to close a couple years back, I went into severe depression.  What would I do?  They were going to give the money they had left to another group.  Finally they agreed to just run out the money funding my efforts and those of Yamhill county cat fixers, another high need area. 

And so, the grand mission, is about to end.  

Spay neuter funding is badly needed.  There are nonprofit clinics, like the FCCO and the Humane Alliance clinics, one in Salem at the Humane Society of the Willamette Valley, one in Eugene, the Wag clinic, and now the Coos Bay S/nipped clinic, but you still have to pay for the fixes.  Spay neuter funding groups are so necessary!  Poppa is the only one I know of.  They just funded the surgeries, paying the clinics that would agree to participate. And many people won't fix their cats for many reasons, some understandable (like age, disability or extreme poverty) and some not so understandable.  People like me, the cat wranglers, are needed.  Sure be nice if I could have been paid.  Instead, I ran up over 220,000 miles on the car I got in 2004 and paid out for gas, often, bait, and spent thousands of hours helping other people out.

I don't regret a moment.

So many memories.  Lately I don't trap as much.  I've "fixed" most of the big colonies in this area.  I would get on it the moment I heard of a problem.  I take in tame cats and kittens mostly now to be fixed, cats that may end up on the street or dumped, but once they're fixed, they're more valued, and at least will not start feral colonies or spread disease.  Abandonment, abuse and neglect in this area are chronic common issues facing the community and animals--a way of life for many people who treat animals like the little plastic toys you get in a Happy Meal.  

The people were always the obstacle in completing a "fixing" task quickly.  People with great big fat issues and many times, they would be abusive, demanding and just plain mean to  me, helping them, at expense to me!  Go figure.  I have lots of PTSD issues over what I've witnessed, helping cats.  There are streets I won't go down, roads I won't drive, faces I see still in my nightmares.  I'll wake up crying and reaching as if to save or comfort a soul.

Some of the biggest colonies I've trapped come back to me---the warehouse cats, where I spent so much time I almost lived there, in those creaky rattling dark and dusty mysterious warehouses, trapping and netting over 200 cats to be fixed and then offshoot colonies, where people took kittens home from that one but never fixed them and they reproduced too.  I was given free run by the catman owner.  I loved being there nights, in windstorms that rattled and banged the tin roofs and sent debris rolling across the wide gravel lots between the buildings.  I remember opening doors to back buildings in the dark and bats would fly out in clouds past me, brushing my face. I'd climb pallet stacks with a flashlight gripped in my teeth, and a net slung over one shoulder, to catch kittens hiding in amongst grass seed bags near the ceiling.  I'd climb back down with them attached to my shirt with their claws, hissing and scared but hanging on.

Deaf Miss Daisy came to me from there.  The catman found her in the ditch on a 100 plus degree day.  He called me up and said "I got another for you."  Later, a worker said she'd been thrown from a car a couple miles down the road.  He'd seen it, he said.  Way later, I met a Tangent woman, type AAAAAA personality, who claimed she had her workers dump cats along that warehouse road, figuring they'd end up at the warehouse.  I questioned her over a young calico, pregnant, she claimed was the last she had dumped.  I believe Miss Daisy's fate came through this heartless woman's hands.  Miss Daisy still has nightmares.  She'll be nursing and mewing in her sleep, then crying out and trying to run with all four legs.  It wakes me, because she sleeps across my face, and then I wake her and pull her from her past and her dreams, as she does for me, and hold her close.

There was the disgusting Hate Thy Neighbor colony, over 90 cats fixed on two Albany streets where houses looked like junkyards and everyone seemed to hate everyone else. I remember the horrible days when a free roaming dog killed 17 of the fixed cats, in the kind old man's yard out there.  I ended up parking out there at night, with a piece of rebar, hoping to find that damn dog, a Golden Retriever.  In the end, the old man got a gun.  One horribly mangled female, a gray tux long hair, I remember her, trembling so violently, from fear and pain, nearly dead from the injuries.  Her pain was ended.  I wanted her to live.  Mickey came from there.  He lives in Canada now.  My first ever international adoption.  Brambles comes from there, too.  He's still here--a chronic herpes cat.

Here is Mickey's adoption video, showing this wonderful cat, right after surgery to remove his ruptured eye:

Heatherdale trailer park in Albany--some horrible things happened to animals there also. Got over 100 fixed.   Comet comes from there.  He's still here, an older boy now.  One of 17 kittens I removed from one old woman's driveway.   Her meth addicted adult son and daughter had brought the cats there.  Meth is everywhere here--the scourge of animals and children--who suffer so, as a result.

The BS colony just outside Albany---120 plus cats fixed there, totally dysfunctional, apathetic group of residents on that dead end street.  The vet who asked if I'd help later apologized for so doing, as it was a nightmare and a mess.  I still have Shady, Mops and Buffy from that horrible place with people so convinced of their own helplessness and so full of excuses, it was just sad.

This is Shady, the cat still here.  She is four years old now.  Maybe five.  She never got a home, has chronic herpes, like Brambles from the Hate Thy Neighbor Colony.  I rehomed so many of the kittens and cats from the BS colony, feeling so sorry for them and the way they had to live.  She has vision issues from herpes, but is such a drama girl.  She can somehow sense me approaching with eye meds and starts into these terrible mournful howls.  She is mischievous and funny, too.

It was only a year ago though, I "fixed" the big N. Albany colony of 71 cats and kittens.  I took out over 20 kittens.   An older couple and an adult daughter, who fed the cats and nothing more and did not lift a finger in helping get them fixed either.  But at least they didn't make it hard.  That's something.

There was the Lebanon Very Old Woman Colony and that resulted in catching 30 cats and kittens, when I thought there were no kittens and was up to catch about 9 cats on afternoon before a drive to the S/nipped clinic early the next morning.  I ended up in a 24 hour endurance marathon, to locate all the kittens, try to get some into foster that same day, even digging some out of a burn pile, on into the night, and still early that morning driving them all to S/nipped, with the ten bottle babes from one mother.  I crashed all day at S/nipped, splayed in the back of my car, sound asleep, waking only to feed bottle babes.  I remember getting ripped off by the Tangent woman who offered to bottle feed three, giving her $50 cash for a vet appointment for them that she did not keep.  
I had also built her two housing units for the cats and taken them up there.  You can't ever do enough for some.

This last summer, fixing the Kitten Production colony, of 20 adults, getting 24 kittens out of there, after fixing the colony around the corner, which was far more difficult since the man is kind of "interesting" and would impede my efforts, by feeding, of about 25 adults, removing 5 other kittens in terrible shape, and getting them to a Portland rescue, that was something and great relief to the neighbhorhood.  Followed not that long afterwards with the Bone Pile colony, catching 30 cats and kittens, returning only 7.  

Been quite a ride.

When Poppa Inc. closes, life as I know it ends.  What will I do then?

Here's a link to Poppa's website.  Please, tell them thank you!

Please don't forget me!  I still am caring for lots of cats I met along the way, when out there "fixing" situations.  Cats who otherwise, had I not intervened, would have suffered terribly and died.  I will need ongoing help with cat food, cat litter, medical for the cats left here, and help finding them homes.  I'm not a nonprofit.  

I've had a rough life.  I trusted the wrong people.  I didn't know better as a child.  There are people full of anger in this world who take it out on those vulnerable.  Other people do harm through educated illiteracy or willing follow-the-leader blindness, as in the case of destructive social systems, that steal a person's dignity, freedom and health, using labels and forced drugs and more abuse.  What happened to me in those lost decades is a deplorable statement about society.  I am not religious in the least for very good reason.  I have suffered greatly under those who claim to be religious or have fancy educational labels.  

Is it any wonder I turned to the cats for solace?  For peace? For love?  

Everybody needs love.  I couldn't find love with humans but I did find it. Every night, I'm smothered in it!

My real life began in the year 2001 when I left those destructive labels behind me, with the help of some stray cats, a river and the stars.

Thank you, Poppa Inc.!

As always, People, FIX THOSE CATS!

Merry Christmas!

May the cats be with you.

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