Monday, October 25, 2010

Stray & Feral Kitties

By this point, you may have already heard that somebody has taken to leaving feral kitties on our doorstep. Needless to say, this makes us not happy for a whole lot of reasons, and we are doing what we can to catch the person responsible for this action.

First of all, leaving an animal just sitting outside, even in a carrier, can easily be considered cruelty! The carriers provide little protection from the elements, especially the cardboard carriers. Plus, it makes the kitties in the carriers a total target for anything that may want to do them harm, from other animals to evil humans.

Speaking of cardboard carriers, they are fine for a temporary way to move a kitty from one place to another, but they are not made to be a permanent solution, especially when left sitting outside! If it's at all wet, the cardboard will absorb the wet and become soggy, collapsing around the kitty inside. Plus kitties have claws, and the cardboard always loses in the claw vs. cardboard battle. This means that we could suddenly have a kitty loose, and considering the traffic in the area, that could prove fatal.

Another large problem is that while we are a vet who clearly loves kitties, we are not set up to be a shelter. This means we do not have the resources necessary to take in strays and ferals the way people seem to think we can. We do not have the manpower to work with feral kitties to tame them, so our only options are to euthanize or release after neutering. I'm fairly certain that whomever left these kitties in our care did not take this into consideration. We are going to do some checking with a woman we know who does some feral cat rescuing to see if there is information that she can give us, but right now things are not looking great. Along with this is the fact that shelters get funding from donations and various government bodies to operate, we do not. So whomever has dropped these kitties on our doorstep has then also saddled us not just with a hard decision, but also with the financial burden of anything that needs to be done. Unless the decision is made to euthanize on arrival, it literally runs us hundreds of dollars per cat, between equipment, testing and manpower, and that doesn't include any time spent trying to socialize a cat that may or may not ever be friendly. Our office is not conducive to got socialization techniques, and none of us who work here have a good setup at home to foster a kitty, or are home enough to spend the necessary time with one.

If you ever find yourself in the position of having stray or feral kitties, and need help, please do not hesitate to call! We're in the process of putting together a list of local low-cost spay/neuter options, as well as local shelters that are no-kill. Depending on how many we already have, we do take in kittens to adopt out, but they do need to be young and already social. Unfortunately we do not have the space to take on adults to adopt out, as they don't fit in our little display cage in the front. Anybody who's been in this summer knows that we had a tough time adopting out our crew of all boy kittens, but they have all found homes now, so we were working with a shelter to take in a few more kittens. That plan has been derailed until we can decide what to do with the now 3 cats that have been left on our doorstep. There is the possibility that one of them may actually be adoptable, but one is for sure feral, and the third we have yet to have a chance to assess as she was found at the door this morning. We are also checking with a couple of shelters that take feral kitties, with the hopes that they are not full.

Please, please, PLEASE! If you have any information about these three kitties, let us know! We would like the people who left them to understand why it's so important not to leave kitties outside like this. Also important is that if you do run into a situation with feral or stray kitties, don't hesitate to call so we can help. That will give the best possible care for these poor kitties that are wandering on their own.