Start with the mice!
Today is National Pet Day. It’s making me a bit nostalgic to relive a time when a feisty, loving tortie cat entered my life. This is a bit of a long read but ones that tugs on your heartstrings.
Not so long ago, I noticed a small tortoiseshell cat on the corner of a major avenue intersection. She crouched down looking at the world around her of rowdy teens and overtired adults.
When I got closer to her, I noticed her fur had several bald patches. Despite her obviously ill appearance, she had an outgoing and confident personality living up to the tortie legend. Petting her I felt the bones protruding under the skin. I began a routine of feeding her breakfast and dinner when I came home from work. People noticed me feeding her and giving reports she’s been chased by angry homeowners and fighting the more seasoned street smart cats. I knew I couldn’t let her stay on the street.
I took to my vet. She tested negative for FIV and FeLV, plus, she had a spay scar. The bad news she had friends of fleas and their internal buddies – parasites. The craziest part came when the vet scanned her shoulder to discover she was chipped! The office called the owners registered to the chip number. They shamelessly said they were not interested in the cat anymore.
I thought this had to be a divine sign. I had been wanting to get Lancelot some company, perhaps this girl was the one. Because of her infections, the vet instructed she and Lancelot could share the litter box or food/water bowls. This meant their interacting together had to be very closely monitored. The saying you never get a second chance to make a first impression certainly fit Lancelot and Swee’Pea’s (her new name) encounter. Disaster from day one and even after two months, it never got better. Only worse.
Lancelot became obsessed with her. He wouldn’t give the poor thing space, nor would he take the cues of her growling and hissing to leave her alone. I got Lancelot from the ASPCA and his origins are somewhat of a mystery. I always suspected he did not have the opportunity to be around his siblings and his mother long enough for proper socialization. I tried switching them in different rooms, giving Swee’Pea towels he laid on to get used to his scent. These two were so incompatible, my then boyfriend at the time put a pet gate in between them when we went to work. By the approach of the third month, I knew she couldn’t stay but she would stay as long as it took until she could find a loving home.
I told a cat-loving coworker about my stressful situation. He said to call the Mayor’s Animal Alliance for NYC’s Animals. They helped him out when he rescued a stray off the street. I hesitated hoping I could find her a home but a lot of people were not interested in adopting (understandably so) a cat when they were still undergoing parasitic treatment. I finally broke down and spoke to a representative at the Mayor’s Animal Alliance, she said since the cat is chipped look if it can be traced back to a shelter or rescue. She said if they’re a no-kill shelter they will want her back
The people at HomeAgain would not release the origin of her microchip number. They said it had to come from a veterinarian’s office or animal rescue. My boyfriend had lady luck on his side. He said the customer service person told him right away Swee’Pea’s original chip owner was on other than the ASPCA! I immediately called them, and they verified that Ms. Swee’Pea was indeed theirs. They would be more than happy to take her back and finish up her medical treatment.
While joy and relief swept through me, I also had a horrible feeling. Those owners who dumped Swee’Pea adopted her from their organization. Their vetting process isn’t very thorough as I got Lancelot for a mere $30.00 and filled out an application. With a cautious heart, I did take Swee’Pea back to the ASPCA. They told me she has been here twice times already. One family took her back after they adopted her followed by those demons who left her to die on the street. I wanted to cry right then and there. They said they will continue treating her and when she is well enough to be put up for adoption.
I wanted to know about the people who abandoned her and left the cat to die. She said they are now flagged on their database and will be escorted off the premises if they fail to leave voluntarily. I asked who is in charge of their adoptions. They gave me the contact information of the executive director of their adoption center. I wrote a heartfelt and very detailed letter about Swee’Pea. I gave her the chip number all the information I could about this very sweet girl. I explained it can’t be stressed enough that due to this poor girl’s history of abandonment, stricter vetting procedures must be made in her case.
I got a response back that Swee’Pea is doing well and I could call anytime to check up on her. I did just that. They told me she is healing up nicely and getting a lot of interaction with staff as she has been through a lot. I kept checking up on Swee’Pea until I found out she got adopted. I pray in my heart of hearts this is her final home. It’s too bad she and Lancelot couldn’t stand one another. A definite love connection fail. I won’t give up hope. I know his “Guinevere” is out there for him.
Most of us have been there more than once in our lives. Life can be a cruel irony at times. We get knocked down with one crisis followed by another. A lot of these crises hit us financially.
It’s taboo, and rightfully so, although people should get the assistance if they truly need it, for parents to give up their children when they run into hard times. You can’t dump your child off at a shelter because you lost your job or suddenly, they become an inconvenience. I’m not saying beloved pet has more importance than human children, but I do find it odd how easy you can discard a sentient being that you have voluntarily decided to adopt into your life to take care of.
Unfortunately, the law in our society view pets or any animal you are taking care of as property, with little to no rights, although this “property” unlike inanimate objects, can think and feel. Organizations like the Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to change how the legislation views animals as property.
I remember years ago when I was working a terrible and stressful corporate job in the Wall Street area while going to school at night for my master’s degree. I knew I wouldn’t be able to successfully graduate unless I gave up that toxic job. The degree was an investment in my future, and I wasn’t going to let a dead-end job with a boss who was notorious at stringing her team along with hopes of advancements that would never come. I quit with a few thousand dollars in savings. I would be alright for only a couple of months. Plan B? I had none.
During this time, I had my beloved two cats – two sibling brothers who I loved dearly. Looking back, I never ever even entertained the idea of giving them up, even when I had the fear that I couldn’t make the rent. Failing them would not even enter the equation. I managed to get full-time employment in the nick of time after a few months of leaving the Wall Street law firm. I knew I would.
I am sympathetic to people who are struggling to make ends meet that has children. The children are the priority, yet, at the same time, I hope those families exhausted every possibility of trying to keep their entire family intact with their pets as they weather the storm.
Usually, the storm always subsides. How long it stays before it leaves is another matter.
Hello, fellow crazy cat people! It doesn’t matter if your crazy cat self-level is light, in-between, or hardcore. This blog has something for everyone who loves cats and animals in general.
New York City is one of, if not the best, partying cities in the world. So, you know our cat game is strong. Although, the west coast has pioneered the mega-conventions, CatCon, anyone? The Big Apple is making strides in creating fun animal events to promote the well-being of our beloved pets and to support animal rescue/activism.
Kitties in the City is a blog that will be covering the cool and the cute events in New York City and beyond. With the help of my beloved furbaby, Lancelot the Grey, I will let you fellow crazy catters (not an actual word, but it should be) know what’s happening around town. KitC will also do reviews of documentaries, films, books. Lancelot and I would love to hear from you about your love of cats, dogs, etc. Share what type of content you would like to see. Since we are visual creatures, I’ll do my best in providing videos and pictures along with the posts, so you don’t totally feel like you’re at the reading library!
I am looking forward to building a community of pet lovers, whether you’re a city dweller or not.