Allegedly we fell off it for thirty or so hours. I was feeling a bit of vertigo setting in. I began to wonder why, if we are
And so in the spirit of my mother's philosophy I have maintained my life. There never seems to be a shortage of those needing assistance in one form or another.
Several weeks before Christmas I was in the grocery store check out line waiting, when an elderly woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked me about the cat food in my grocery cart. I knew just by looking into her eyes she was lonely, her question being an obvious, benign conversation starter. As we talked I noticed her tired, sad eyes drifting off somewhere else while her conversation moved on to the the "problem" she was having at her home.
She said she has a colony of feral cats that she has been feeding and doesn't know what to do to help them, and is afraid she will have kittens in the spring. Somehow it was no surprise, if there is a cat problem it will find me. I asked her if she had anyone to help her trap them and get them to a vet. It was then the tears slowly formed in her eyes.
No, she said, her husband just passed away this past June, and she has been alone trying to get through it. I gave her my phone number knowing it might scare her for me to ask for hers, as she is now not only a widow, but 93 years young ( and doing her own grocery shopping though a bit weary). It took her a couple weeks to get up the nerve to call me, but call she did.
After I had spoken to my vet who told me to scope out the cats and see what the situation was, I made arrangements to go to Ann's home. A friend had I had asked directions from had thought it might be a mobile home park, so I picked up two bags of cat food on the way over thinking if this woman cares enough to feed stray animals, but is not in a good financial situation, she probably would need all the help she can get, but would not ask for.
On the arranged day I made my way to the street, which turned out to be an older neighborhood, the street lined with sprawling early seventies, one story homes, hers being the second on the street, which shed a ray of hope on the situation.
No one answered the front door, so I made my way around the side of the house arriving at a two car garage. Next to the driveway was a large oak, with a cat condo under it. :} She had purchased three or four , having the all lined up under the tree, with food and water bowls in front of each entrance. Behind the cat condos as a two foot wide patch of mown lawn bordered to the rear with a heavy growth of sea grass. As I turned to head to the back door a tiger cat flew off a tree branch and in to the sea grass. Two more were spooked by him and raced from another location too quickly to tell where they had come from, and straight into the sea grass stand.
I headed to the rear lanai where on the walkway was a small wooden picnic table with cat food bowls scattered all around it. Not one of the animals I managed to glimpse had notched ears, appeared to be healthy, but very thin. And I thought how sad. The home foreclosure rate in this region is astonishing, the job rate is down, unemployment is up, people are just leaving their homes for parts unknown, and it's kinda looking like they are leaving their animals behind with no backward glance.
I went up the two steps to the lanai to knock, but when I set the two bags of cat food I had brought down on the step I found this...
So I left her a note that I would give her a call after the holiday and we would start taking care of her cats. My vet will be operating on the cats at cost, and will try to assist us in finding good homes for the individuals who have not lost all faith in the human race. I will try to help Ann with the white spotted cat she is able to pat. She would like to be able to get it into the house and keep it there with her.
I am reminded of my father. Having lost his daughter and wife within three months of each other, he took solace in the animals. He would walk to the river with bread for the ducks. (Mallards, people tie the empty bread bag containers on the iron railing by the rivers edge so that everyone knows how much the ducks have been fed that day. This does not include the french fries and misc. leftovers they glean from landing on car hoods at the local McDonald's :} ) On his walk home my father would pat every stray cat that would shyly peek around the corner of an alley. He began to carry cat food in his pockets on the way to the river to give to the cats on his way home. One particular cat began to follow him, a short way at first. Then all the way home. It took him a week but eventually the cat followed him into the small apartment he had gotten in the city. He wrote, ( as at that time I was having my own health problems), that he was afraid if anything happened to him there would be no one to take his new cat and naturally I could not say no. We already had my sister's cat. In the end an Irish woman with a brogue like my fathers that lived across the hall took the cat when he became ill and died. (Thank You Forever Mrs. Murphy In Laconia NH )
And soooooo, as my sister used to say, when I reflect on the farm, and Sweet Pea, the youngest most feral of the first round of ferals there, how she came to trust humans, so much so that she now has a forever loving home, and how worth it it all was, all those ferals - and kittens we ended up with before we could trap the mothers fast enough - that we found homes for....
I remember how good it felt. Every time I receive new e-mails with pictures of the grown kittens , with Thank You notes for the joy they instill in their owners, when indeed I Thank them in return for saving the animals, I know that CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME, and I will continue to help my own little corner of the world in any way I can.
I'm thinking the government would do best if they simply started on the most basic level......
In their own back yard.