The microcosm: A neighbor at the head of our cul-de-sac, whose two-acre property fronted a busy country road, obviously thought that letting his cats roam free and breed freely was nature’s way. When he lost the place to foreclosure, I was secretly delighted, for the task of picking up the feline roadkill on my morning walk had left me emotionally drained and furious at my inability to change his and others’ ways.
Once this neighbor and his family moved out we found sixteen cats, two with kittens, all abandoned to their own devices, and one by one we captured them and had them spayed or neutered. Safe and loving homes were found for most of the kittens. Eight of the deserted felines became the adoptees of our cul-de-sac, and they continue to bring smiles of pleasure with their boisterous play on a daily basis. Neighbors gather to discuss the cats latest antics. And if one of the communal cats isn’t seen for a day we gather on the street to search out the missing beastie.
Once a neighbor’s dogs from the five-acre parcel to our east cornered Silver and tossed him violently in the air, and he ran into the brush of our land and was missing overnight, despite hours of searching and calling.
In the morning, as I discussed where we should search next with my neighbor Robin, another of the cats, Mia, wandered down our drive and bent over to stare into the culvert beneath the driveway, alternately looking at me and then into the culvert. A quick check confirmed that Silver was hiding in the dark tunnel, and soon several neighbors gathered to determine how best to get him out so that he could be checked by the vet. As we made preparations, with a cat carrier at one end and a soccer ball to push down the tube to encourage him to enter the carrier, out he wandered to check out the fuss and activity. Happily, he was uninjured in the scrap with the dog pack.
Every morning I am welcomed on my feeding rounds by racing, tumbling feral cats eager for companionship, now that they know some humans actually can be trusted to share their lives and care for their well-being. If we didn’t already have a houseful of animal companions we would take each and every one in to give it the kind of home it deserves. The photos in this post are all of cats we have fostered over the years. Others have never left our care.
The macrocosm: This is “kitten season,” and in every community hundreds, even thousands of unwanted kittens are being born, most of whom will never know the pleasure of a warm, loving home. Many will breed again and again if they make it to adulthood, furthering the cycle of pitiful, painful lives of neglect. Most others will end up abandoned, then ultimately killed in the wild or euthanized in shelters.
Today on Mother’s Day, consider adopting a kitten or puppy, consider giving a loving permanent home to a full-grown cat or dog from the shelter. Or perhaps you can find room to foster an adult or baby animal? The adult companions may well have been separated from a once-loving household by death or economic trouble. Or they may have strayed too far and couldn’t find their way home. They don’t know what happened to the family they lost. After all, they did everything to please those families. Can you find room to put pleasure in their lives? I guarantee they will return the favor.