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.
Just to introduce myself, I used to be an only child, and believe me that is the way I liked it. If only I had had a few flaws. If I could go back, I would do lots of naughty things so Mom would think cats were awful and not want any others. As it was, I was so wonderful that she began to think about all the cats without homes, who were just as sweet as me and needed her help.
Of course, Mom was delusional. There are no other cats as charming and lovable as me. Instead, she began bringing home rejects that no one wanted, sickies who were constantly giving me the sniffles, and kittens. Kittens!! Is there anything to be said about kittens? They smell. They steal your food. They chase your tail and want you to get up off your pillow and play with them. Plus, everyone is always looking past your fine feline qualities to exclaim, “Oh, how cute,” when the kittens drag toilet paper through the house or roll around pretending they need their bellies rubbed.
Give me a break.
So now my mom is always fostering these other homeless cats and expecting me to enjoy the experience. But honestly, I just want the good old days back when I had her all to myself. Times when a whole bag of treats belonged to me only. Times when she would open can after can of food to find one I liked because I had such discerning taste (no way that happens now–someone else inhales it before I can even get to the plate). Times when I rode in the car with her, safely seat belted in, hair blowing in the wind from the air conditioning vent (now we only ride in the car when I have to see that evil human called ‘THE VET’). Times when she zipped me into the front of her coat so I wouldn’t get cold when we walked to the car and she called me her ‘kitten burrito.’
Ah, I’d give my left whiskers to go back to those times. I am getting to be an older cat and I don’t want to share forever. So adopt all these cats already and give me some peace.
Yours as a former only child, Oswald P. Kitten, Esquire
Perhaps I was a witch in a former life (perhaps I still am, although the politically correct term today would be Wiccan), but I love black cats. I always have ever since I was a little girl–from Inky my first black cat to Clem the last cat I had until I was an adult.
Once she was an adult, the first cat my sister, Bobbie, adopted was a black kitten named Butler, the “poster cat” for Black and Orange Cat Foundation. I remember going to the shelter shortly after Bobbie brought Butler home, looking for a black kitten of my own. There were plenty to be found-they were the most predominate color in the cat area. I spent an enormous amount of time with a litter of black kittens (all with a spot of white on their chests), trying to decide which one to take with me.
It was an orange cat, however, not a black one, who exited the shelter in my arms. Let me just tell you, I didn’t even like orange cats at that time–I thought they were overly abundant and not very special. You can imagine that my opinion on that has now changed.
Anyway, thanks to extremely strong vocal cords and a plucky spirit that refused to take no for an answer (the little orange kitten with the big ears and long tail screamed his head off until I took him out of his cage), Oswald came into my life.
Oswald is the orange cat in Black and Orange Cat Foundation or the “O” in B and O when we just use our initials (Butler is, of course, the “B”).
Because of these two cats, my sister and I started helping other homeless kitties around our community and Black and Orange Cat Foundation was born.
Unfortunately, black cats are not as loved by the general public as they are by my family. Right now we have several black cats in foster care and, although they are the nicest cats around, they constantly get overlooked. I have even had people tell me, “No offense, but I don’t want a black cat.”
I hope there are others out there like us who love black cats. Spread the word that these feline friends are not evil or tied to human created superstitions. They are just cats, like all others, in need of homes.
And perhaps I wasn’t a witch in a previous life (wouldn’t that mean I was buying in to the black cat superstitions, myself, if I think that’s the only reason I like black cats?), but just a cat lover, as I am now, who looked beyond the surface to see the spirit inside a body packaged in black.