Just when we thought we were out of the woods with kitten season, it has hit full force. The past few days have been difficult answering the phone and hearing the stories of why people have litters of kittens they need to surrender.
The bottom line is people ended up getting cats without the financial means to get them altered. We have heard the excuse that the pandemic hit and they couldn’t get to the vet which I will buy to a certain degree, but what about common sense? If you have an unaltered female cat why would you let it out? If you have a male and a female unaltered cat why would you not keep them separated?
These things seem so simple yet we still have unwanted litters. People have to really care about the well being of their animals and do the right thing, but all too often they just don’t care enough to do the right thing.
One phone call, the lady said she had a cat that is just about a year old. This cat just had a litter of five kittens two weeks ago. She also has two kittens from that same mom who were born in January and are now 6 months old. When I ask about the genders she says she thinks she has one male and one female.
I asked for pictures and after looking at the pictures she clearly has 2 females — a calico and a torti. Those two females are now at an age where they can start reproducing with her unneutered male cat. The poor mama cat is just 1-year-old and is already on her second litter of cats.
At this point we agree to take the cats in order to stop the madness. Once the cats arrived, the litter of five had four females and one male. So if no one stepped up to the plate, in a few months there would have been seven un-altered females in that house having litters. Do the math, it would have been out of control.
Keep in mind that this all started with two adorable cats where the owner did not do the right thing. A simple neuter and spay would have solved the problem and that could have been done, or should have been done before the pandemic hit.
A second phone call came in about a mother cat and 5 babies that were three weeks old. We agree to take the cats because if we don’t they will most likely not get the care that they need and deserve.
Another phone call and a mom and her babies were spotted walking across the road on U.S. Route 1. Once again the issue of unwanted litters is out of control.
Why do we get so upset and frustrated? Because we are the ones climbing under abandoned buildings on our hands and knees pulling out sick and dying kittens. We are the ones out in the snow and rain doing whatever it takes to save a life. We are the ones holding these sweet tiny souls as they take their last breath because they are too tiny or too sick to survive. We are the ones up every two to three hours bottle feeding babies that have no mom. We are the ones doing everything humanly possible to save those that have no voice. Life is a precious gift and we believe that every animal’s life is worth saving.
One person actually told me that I wasn’t very nice when she called to surrender her mom and babies. I have to admit I probably wasn’t because when you put yourself in a situation like this I will read you the riot act. I will ask the hard questions and I will try and educate you with facts. The truth isn’t always easy to hear. We are not here to encourage your behavior, we are here to fight for the animals. They are our first priority.
We started this rescue because we wanted to make a difference, we wanted to help the animals in need and to be their voice. There are so many rescues just like us and we all have the same goal. We have all seen things that break our hearts and things that leave us speechless but we push through even more determined to make a difference.
I want to leave you with a story that will stay with me for the rest of my days. We are in an area overrun with sick and homeless cats. It is late in the evening and we are ready to leave. Suddenly a cat comes running out of the woods crying at the top of her lungs, We scoop her up and put her in a carrier, she is emaciated and sick. She wanted so badly to be rescued she gathered up all of her strength to run out of the woods. We named her Anna Claire. She went to the vet but she was so compromised she died two days later. She did not deserve that life, nor did she want that life.
Even though Anna Claire died, I take comfort in knowing she did not die out in the woods alone. She was safe and warm and loved. Perhaps this story will serve as a reminder to everyone out there, please neuter and spay so we can put an end to stories like these.
Thank you for your continued support and as always thank you for reading our column.
The Ark Animal Sanctuary is located on 101 Old Woodstock Road. To contact Lorraine Monfils call 532-7387 or check out their Facebook page.