Firstly, I used the word “charities” in the title, I am fully aware that the proper term is “welfare”, but as will become clear, my use is justified.
A recent experience with rescuing a feral cat has, again, reminded me why I am no longer active in animal welfare organisations, but prefer to support them in other ways.
Round about a year ago we spotted two feral kittens in the parking lot of our local pub. As is usual with ferals, we could not get anywhere near them and they were not always there. Some time later we realised that there was only one left – nature probably taking its mysterious course.
Fast forward to mid August this year and the one feral was still around! The evening car guard/security guy had started feeding it and got it to a point where it would go to him and rub up against him. After chatting to him, we realised that he was just as scared as we were that the cat would be run over. He even named it Whiskas, after the food he bought and fed him (it was now obvious that it was a male).
We thought about it and decided to do something about the situation, all with the security guy’s blessing. We first contacted the PDSA (SA) for assistance and they were more than willing to help, but have a very strict ten days between inoculation and neutering policy. With the amount of animals that they handle, this is totally understandable, but we had nowhere to keep Whiskas for the ten days.
Plan B, we approached a local, highly reputable, animal welfare organisation. They unfortunately cannot take in feral cats, but was willing to assist with the medical stuff and try to find a foster home, if not a forever home.
All this in place it was now a case of actually catching Whiskas with the least upheaval. The idea was to get the help of the security guy late one afternoon and take the cat directly to the animal organisation.
I must just mention that we also discussed this with the usual crowd at the pub and they all agreed to contribute towards any costs. In fact one evening we had a whip round and collected a reasonable sum for Whiskas’ food.
Just when we thought all was well and in hand, the animal organisation had a crisis with an over-full hospital and wouldn’t be able to take care of Whiskas for some weeks.
In the meantime, we all feared that Whiskas could be stolen, or worse run over, as it got tamer and tamer and was regularly seen crossing the, at times, very busy street.
Right, onto Plan C. On a Wednesday I placed a photo of Whiskas with an appeal for help on our Facebook page.
On the Friday morning we spoke to our local vet who offered to do all the necessary for free! Leukemia and feline AIDS tests, neutering and inoculations included. We immediately posted this on Facebook, this time with an appeal for a home.
By Saturday we had found Whiskas a permanent home and posted the good news!
Little did we know what we had let ourselves in for. A lot of very positive messages, but some not so nice.
One lady was immediately up in arms as to how we dare interfere as she had been “working on this for months” and insisted on getting involved and doing a home check and vetting the prospective new owner. The fact that she currently runs an animal shelter and that we have had many years of experience in animal welfare, which she would have known had she bothered to just read our biographies on our web site, counted for nothing. Clearly her nose was out of joint as we succeeded in a matter of days while she was still nowhere near solving it.
I wish I could post the message she sent us, but I do not want to reveal her identity. Unlike her, I did my homework and know what she looks like and am pretty convinced that she tried to interfere further on Monday by pitching up in the parking lot and hung around for a while. Fortunately for her, it seemed like too much effort and she left before the action started. Had she tried to interfere, I may have lost my cool and said some things…
Another lady also got in on the act and quoted her experience and made it seem like we were evil and had no right to rescue a cat without her blessing and assistance.
Well, to these two ladies and all the other (few) negative people out there, all I can say is that you obviously lost sight of the goal – it is about the animal’s wellbeing, not your personal glory.
This is a phenomenon that is often found in animal “charity” organisations; they forgot the “welfare” bit and seem to be doing it just for their own self-gratification.
Exactly one of the reasons why we are no longer actively involved, but rather donate money as we can and when a case like Whiskas cross our path, we will make a difference, even if it is only one animal at a time.
End rant, back to Whiskas, as I am sure you want to know what happened next. On Monday, armed with a cat carrier, I went to the parking lot, met up with the new owner and the security guy. We decided the least stressful, for Whiskas, course of action is to place the carrier at his usual feeding spot with his food inside and let him get in. We all kept a respectful distance and let Whiskas set the pace. Well, until another lady decided she knew better and despite my asking her to keep a distance and not crowd the cat, she insisted on going up to him and play with him with a stick which “he loves”.
That did not work, it just scared Whiskas and this lady decided to pick him up – Whiskas does not like being picked up! He, of course, freaked out and she nearly let go of him, which would have meant all our efforts that day was in vain. I almost screamed at her and told her to now keep hold and get Whiskas into the carrier, so much for minimising his stress! Thank you interfering lady!
Once he was in the carrier he was very upset, but by the time I got him into the car, he had settled down and did not move a make a sound during the five minute trip to the vet. There he was warmly received and seemed quite relaxed in the safety of his little box.
Tuesday morning he passed all his test with a big negative (a good thing in this case) and will be going to his forever home on Wednesday!!!!
A happy ending, for a change!