Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Out of the Cold

Nobody enjoys "Big Weather" more than I do.  Maybe it's because I lived in Southern California for 26+ years where the weather was usually pretty benign.   So I was pretty excited over the past couple of days over the build up that Toronto was supposed to get a huge snow storm. 

When I first moved to Toronto, I used to have sleepless nights during the winter due to fretting over the poor animals who had no place to get out of the cold.  Because our winters are so long here, I had to let go of some of the feelings of desperation.  But it's always hard to thoroughly enjoy a cozy winter night in front of the fire when there are so many domestic animals who are homeless, alone and shivering in the cold.

Yesterday, I was looking through Craigslist as I often do, and stopped suddenly when I saw an ad for "Homeless Kitty Needs Home Tonight" - with THIS picture attached:
My heart sank.  I called David over to the computer and told him to get his coat, we're gong to get THAT cat.  Thank heavens ONE of us has a sensible brain, because I needed an address, so I wrote the person that posted the ad.  The email came back quickly saying, that the cat will run if approached.  "Dammit".  I'm not a trapper and there's no way I could convince David to go out and help me trap this feral cat at 9 pm on the eve of a "huge snow storm."  Shit - I didn't even have a trap! 

I laid in bed last night as the wind howled through my windows and thought of that poor soul outside.  I couldn't get the picture out of my head and I cursed the people that dumped him (or his ancestors).  I was certain his box had overturned and blew away.  Why couldn't somebody get the poor guy a better frickin' box???

Where would he go?

What would he do?

Was I the only person thinking about him tonight? 

Did he know that *somebody* cared about him?

The plows are still moving through the city and I'm still thinking about this black and white cat.  The  rescuers that do feral cat trapping and feed colonies are really the heroes in cat rescue, in my book.  They go out in all kinds of weather to insure these poor souls are fed.  

I bet those rescuers didn't get much sleep last night either. 

19 comments:

andrea said...

Hi Beth. I am feeding two outdoor cats, one of whom lives part time in a box on my steps. The other is living in a neighbor's garage. Both are intact. One is a small tabby(I know you like tabbies!)who is defensive from being outside, but friendly when he comes to trust you.The other is a b+w guy similar to the CL posting, who is nervous but has started to let me pet him, too. Both are pretty young, neither one is battlescarred (yet).I have two foster cats -so I can't take them in until the fosters get adopted.The best I can do is give these guys food and water several times a day.I have a neutering appointment booked for them at the end of the month,but I have no choice but to put them back outside after the procedure.I would happily bring either one inside if there was a foster situation waiting for them.You tried to help the CL cat - would you be interested in helping one or both of these guys ? I have pics of them, too. Andrea(Norman and Brutus live with me)

Faith J. said...

Heartbreaking! Don't pet stores sell heated shelters, or non-heated ones that, when filled with straw, are a good shelter against the cold? I would email the people who saw her and advise putting out a better shelter for this poor kitty. She will find it, or another feral will.

I pray all winter for the homeless cats. I love snow storms too, but wish animals didn't have to be out in them.

Robin said...

Yes, I feed a feral colony of 20 and all I could think about last night was my cats my cats. Just got back from shovelling and feeding them, no way was I going to let them go a day without. Good thing I didn't see that craigslist posting.

House of the Discarded said...

Andrea: Ohhhhh Andrea! How I wish I could help you with your guys. Unfortunately, I'm just not set up to rescue ferals or semi-ferals....

...so heartbreaking, because I know you all work so hard to help them. I'm always happy to donate food, supplies, etc...

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

I only help out with the colonies now that they're all neutered. But, yes, I was on the phone last night and again early this morning. Although I don't know what I thought I was going to do, I couldn't even get out of my door until the neighbor shoveld the porch for me. Both colonies were fine. Extra food was left yesterday (just in case) and Nick was out on the snowmobile this morning (at 6 am!) to shovel any drifts so they wouldn't get stuck in the shelters.~Donna

Anonymous said...

Andrea - I totally sympathize with you. I'm taking care of a small feral colony behind a Loblaws near my house. I've four cats of my own and two of the feral colony in my basement for the winter. I'd like to bring more in but I have nowhere to put them. It's heartbreaking that I can't do more and on cold nights, or nights when one of my colony doesn't show up for feeding, I spend ALL NIGHT wondering where they are and if they are okay.

Beth - you may not be able to rescue that black and white guy, but why don't *you* be the one to go and give him a better box?

Lorelei said...

Beth, I saw that posting too and had the same conflict - not even a blanket in the box. I've thought about him a few times today, along with a few lost dogs in my neighbourhood. Not a good night to have no home. :-(

House of the Discarded said...

Anonymous: Ugh! If you're a regular blog reader, you'd probably know that I have quite a bit on my plate at any given time. Driving an hour (one way) to get the poor guy a better box is good in theory, but my PRIMARY responsibility is to the foster parents and to the newly rescued cats in our care.

I'm happy to give you the address of the little guy and you can bring him a better box.

Robin said...

There was an update on that posting and that cat has been taken in by someone so at least it seems we don't have to worry about him.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed this is the post (though I reread it twice), but where is this kitty located?

I've got a lot on my plate too, so I sympathize greatly. :) I am kind of running an impromptu rescue using my friends' and my own house as foster locations, and I'm bank rolling the whole thing on a student/working payroll, as well as school and caring for a feral colony every night. But if he's reasonably close by, then maybe I can swing it. He's somewhere in Toronto, right?

And I'd be open to suggestions about what type of box you think might work. You've spoken with the people who placed the add, so you might have a better idea about what would work for his location.

Anonymous said...

ps. I didn't mean that you had to actually be the one to physically give him a better box. I just thought that with your contacts and foster homes, some of which I assume are in Toronto, you might know *someone* who lives near him who could do you the favour of delivering some shelter to this cat who is keeping you awake.

I'm sorry if I offended you; I *am* a regular reader and I *do* know you're busy. Like many people working tirelessly in animal rescue, I know you give the kitties everything you can, plus another 75% after that. :)

House of the Discarded said...

Anonymous: Thanks so much for the clarification. I have a tendency to be overly sensitive to any hint from someone that I'm not doing enough.

Thank you again for emailing back - that's the problem with text - it's hard to really understand what somebody is trying to say. :)

House of the Discarded said...

Robin: Oh boy!! I feel so much better!

House of Mystery said...

I took two large rubbermaid containers that I used when i moved.. Put straw inside one.. set the other in it, then put a blanket in that with a all weather warmer under it. Closed the tops and cut a hole in the side and put it outside for the stray in our apartment complex. Looked empty this morning until I looked at a angle and you can see him curled up in there asleep. Considerin its 13 degrees here.. I'm glad I got that thing out there last nite.

Anonymous said...

Hi Beth - I feed a black kitten and her mom who live a block away at Lansdowne/College in Toronto. Cats are smart - they obviously found a heat exhaust vent under a back porch. Even in the coldest weather, their ears are warm. It is heartening to see that I am not the only one doinbg daily feedings. The low-paid clerk in a convenience store even built them a snazzy wooden shelter by the store next door. So dont think cats are alone in this world - We are many compassionate humans who do care. -Ken

Anonymous said...

I contacted the guy who posted on Craigslist. They have taken the cat in their home for now and are trying to raise a little money for vet bills through urban cat relief. I didn't know what that was, so I asked him to provide me with donation details. So one more off the streets.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:

Urban Cat Relief is a great cat rescue group www.ucrcats.com is their website. I believe they have a donation link on their website, if not they would have contact info where you could send in a donation.

Lisa said...

Both my cats started like this on my front porch until I could coax them inside and thus to the vets.
That was also a picture of me on tht freezing night a couple of weeks back in my bathrobe trapsing around my neighbours driveway with a cardboard box, fleece blankies, and cat food in hand. That cat is still too skittish.
Here's a link with outdoor heated cat beds and dog houses etc http://cozywinters.com/pets/

I've purchased these from them before. Both my cats have the indoor ones...great for senior or chronically ill cats.

Anya said...

In my adult life I have rescued close to 25 cats - all of whom came to live with us (not all at once of course!) Currently, we have a 3-4 that seem homeless, but we are not sure. They are in good shape and disappear for days at a time, then reappear to turn their noses up at perfectly good food. Hmmm. As my partner says, "Mooch"! But, during the recent big snowstorm, I went downstairs at 2 in the morning to see if any of the "mooches" needed shelter as they have done several times since Christmas. It was snowing hard and blowing even harder. There on the porch I saw a black bundle tightly curled up in the basket. He had a little shelter, but not much. I didn't dare open the door though, for I knew he would run away. I am sure this one is a stray, or very very neglected. He is pungent, aka, not fixed, and a flea-collar he had on for awhile is now gone. It was hard going back to bed knowing he was out there, but at least he had some shelter.

Bless you all who helping these poor animals.