When you are involved in rescue work, there are always things that make you worry. Lately, I’ve been waking up every morning close to 3 a.m. pulled from sleep by some new panic usually involving cats or finances or wondering who will help the latest litter of kittens that no one wants.
Right now we are in the height of kitten season. It came late this year and stupid, silly me thought that with all the spays and neuters we did last year that maybe finally we had reached a day when kitten season was a thing of the past. Instead, what I think happened is that we had a colder winter which kept the cats from going into heat until warmer weather in late March. Since the gestation cycle for a cat is approximately 60-67 days (yes, you read that right–just two months to produce kittens and then even while they are nursing, the mother cat can get pregnant again and bring along another litter in the next two month span), the flow of kittens hit in May. I get calls every day about mother cats and tiny kittens, with eyes barely open, that people want to “get rid of.” Since we are just a small group without a shelter that concentrates on spay and neuter services, I’ve been helping people find resources for their kitten problems. But still, I worry about the ones that will not be saved.
I also worry about our foster kitties. Will they ever go to their own homes or will they spend most of their lives in a foster home where they don’t really have the life and love of a forever family? While I know our foster homes are wonderful, it is not the same as being someone’s beloved companion–greeting them at the door and sleeping beside them on the bed each night. Will the black kitties especially ever get the chance to be adopted?
I also worry about funding. While we do apply for grants, it seems that the need is always greater than the resources. Until a day arrives when spaying and neutering is as routine as brushing your teeth each morning, something everyone does and can afford, there will always be unwanted cats being born and a need for our group to help those who can’t or won’t get the strays and ferals in their neighborhood fixed. I would like nothing more than for our foundation to be unnecessary and unused with excess money in the bank that we just can’t find a way to spend.
As I try to fall back to sleep, I tell myself the same things as always (looking at the positive and pushing the negative away): we will always have enough money to do the things we need to do because people are generous and our lives are abundantly blessed. Then I say a prayer for each of our foster kitties and release them from our care to find a home as special as they are. I name each of them by name, their fuzzy faces appearing before me in the shadowy blackness of my mind.
Finally, I send good energy out to all the cats that are not within our care and ask the feline angels to guard them for one more day.
This is my 3 a.m. ritual and perhaps someday, when I am no longer a rescuer, I will sleep peacefully each night.