Thursday, November 17, 2005
  alrighty, matthew
to address some concerns brought up in the comments section of this blog..

the cats were there before i moved in.
they were always in the side yard by our house. however, the cat lady fed them next door in the parking lot, so they would usually be there.
now i have been nice to them. i have fed them (although i do that next door as well). and i have 2 cats that come in and outside. so, for example, this cat named flaco is always around because he and kitten like to hang out / be miserable together.
if i come to my front door, catherine will come over so i can pet her.

so yes, i have attracted them to come into our yard more often than they did before by being kind to them.

and i have helped feed them, but unfortunately the cat lady is very poor - she's living in a total ghetto apartment with her husband and dog. she gives them food and means very well but doesn't have all that much.. so i make sure the cats have enough by giving them food as well.

to be honest, they haven't even been in our yard hardly at all that i've noticed lately. but i can't stop catherine or itchy/scratchy from bounding over in the grass when she sees me.

in addition, they like to go under our houses. we have crawl spaces. so they take shelter under there when it rains or storms. now the landlord has sealed up those spaces so they will probably not be around for that anymore.

if i moved, they may stay in the yard next door and maybe the landlord wouldn't be a jerk about the whole thing. but they still run around the neighborhood, exploring.. the neighbor claims one of them sprayed his car..

the point is that now these very sweet cats do have a way out. the poor black one gets wounds - maybe from fighting; he's not fixed. so then he limps around on three legs for weeks. both the boys had scabies when i moved in.. mamacat was getting pregnant one litter after another before i intervened.. and what happens when they get older? or a cat5 hurricane comes? or, like one of the fluffy kittens down the street, they cross the road at the wrong time and some jerk who's speeding runs them down? does that sound like an ideal life to you?

and if i stay, there is no way i can let them go hungry. even if it means giving extra food to the cat lady every day to make sure she can feed them plenty. but there is no no feeding the cats. i discussed this with maury. they may catch food, but they wouldn't survive long. we're not in the wilds of africa, you realize. the best they could do is lizards, bugs, and the occasional bird. not to mention, that would make our local wildlife suffer. maury told me about an area in jacksonville where the ferals are starving to death and you cannot find even one bug because they've eaten everything. (no TNR programs there.)

so maybe i have made a mistake by being kind to the cats. the thing is, the lady's landlord doesn't mind the cats there. nor do her neighbors. nor do 1/2 of my neighbors. i have just lucked out with having a neighbor that hates cats and a landlord who is for some reason threatened by cats that are scared of him. i had no way of knowing that me feeding and petting the cats was going to result in this. and not only do i think it should not have come to this, i think it's a horrible thing that people are upset that the cats exist. it's not their fault they live on the streets.

the cat sanctuary is only a good thing. these boys are young and healthy-ish now, but give them a year and who knows where they'd be..
and no, no more cats will come take their place. there is another colony down the street that we feed down there. they don't follow us back. and those i would like to TNR so that colony will stop growing anyway.

i never would have dropped these guys off at a shelter, even a no-kill. like you said, they're happy "outdoor" cats. but if you came to our neighborhood.. we live in basically the ghetto. last night my neighbors were arguing outside, calling the cops, peeling out of the driveway pissed off.. cars speed down our streets.. cars speed through the lots.. i've seen two dead cats on the side of our road in the past 6 months. and that's just what i've happened acrossed. the boys weathered hurricane katrina behind a bush. do you think that's any kind of life for an animal? especially when compared with this sanctuary? where they are "outside" but also cared for and loved?

if you can't tell, i'm a little annoyed by the implication that any of this is my fault. if being kind to stray, homeless, hungry animals is a bad thing in your eyes, i don't think we have anything more to talk about. somebody needs to care. had the cat lady not started to feed them a couple of years ago, they'd either be someone else's problem or dead. hardly seems that either of those options are something we should consider acceptable.

Its an interesting debate about cat happiness and how does a human rate a cat's happiness vs how a cat view's happiness, if they even experienced that emotion.

Taking a indoor cat and releashing them would be crul, but these are outdoor cats that have instincts and can survive on their own. Sure, there is more danger on the streets and their lives will be statically shorter, I still belive that would be better than cage.

The cats will survive a storm like cows do, turn the butts into the wind and ride it out.
The other side of this is in how your actions have impacted the cats lives. By trying to help them, you have changed their lives by bringing attention to them and boarding up their shelter under the house.

Now it seems you want to help more by sending them away to a permanate shelter.

I think that moving, giving the poor woman some more food for them and prying open a hole under the house so the cats can seek shelter in a storm would put things back to the way they were.

Getting Momma cat and the babies fixed is probably the best thing you've done as it will help stop the cycle.
OK, right, so I should have left them as they were. DID I MENTION THAT YOU COULD SEE THE BOYS' HIP BONES WHEN I MOVED IN? They're actually healthy now, getting enough food. And I should take that back?

Friend, Matthew, please recognize that I've had a bad week.

I'd have to say that you recognizing I was trying to help them in the first place would stop you from laying blame in the rest of your response. If you ask me, it's a really, really shitty thing to do.

You're basically saying I should not have been kind to the cats - how did I know it would work out this way? What if the cat lady's landlord has reacted this way instead of the reasonable way he reacted instead? I had no way of knowing. So the fact that things are as they are is not MY fault but instead that I have a shitty LANDLORD AND NEIGHBOR that choose to look at living beings who are out there due to HUMANS as a nuisance rather than as something they should help.

All not my fault. Argument DONE.
I'm not laying blame on anyone. If I was, the poor old lady feeding the cats would be at the heart of this.

I'm offering an alternative solution to your problem that is within your means.
I'm really torn on this one....on one hand it is great that you have taken a stand on all the ferril cats and getting them a home.....on the other hand it is absolutely pathectic that you took on such a responsibility (one you obviously can't handle) and are asking your "friends" and "strangers" to bail you out.
i was going to keep my mouth shut, but... well, i'm not good at that.

have any of you actually met stacey? seen her with non-human living things? heard her talk about them?

not that i can lay claim to years of knowing her and whatnot, but even given your alternatives and thoughts that she should have known better than to take on so much, i can't possibly imagine her doing anything other than what she's done and that's why i like her.
ya know, despite me not liking stacey that much (why I keep reading her blog I dunno... I'm bored) but anyway, even I was gonna try to send a $10 check to her, but now that they're taking them for free. The thing that I don't like is when an animals life becomes more important, trying to help them and making a situation worse for yourself is bad. Helping animals get homes is just fine, when it doesn't hurt your situation. Hell if I won't the lottery or got a lot of money one of the first things I'd do (after I got a house setup) is go to the shelter and get a bunch of cats!
I have known Stacey for many, many years now and there is nothing but goodness in her heart, especially when it comes to animals. She only did what she felt was the right thing to do. How many of you out there can say that you haven't tried to do something nice and had it turn out wrong? So, lay off her!
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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