When you are involved in companion animal rescue on any level you feel the frustration of the endless task of rehoming animals. There are so many that are left behind when their owners move. No reason other than inconvenience, and no attempt to find a home for the cat or dog before abandoning it. Sometimes the family situation changes and the cat or dog doesn’t fit in with the new situation – commonly “family pets” are given up for adoption when a new human baby comes on the scene. There are endless variations and excuses used for the abandonment of these animals we have made dependent on us.
Finding new homes just for the abandoned animals (whether abandoned directly on the street or at shelters) is a big enough task all on its own, and there are 10 million companion animals killed every year for lack of a home. Infuriating when you consider that most of them had homes, before they were abandoned.
Even worse when you think about the number of true homeless animals that need to be rescued as well. Feral cats are always in need of attention. Some of them can be socialized, others can’t. Groups like Alley Cat Allies does a lot with “trap neuter return” (TNR), which has had amazing success in places like New York City.
If effort isn’t made to trap and neuter the ferals, they will continue to have litters and the numbers of feral cats will continue to increase. (The best numbers analysis I’ve seen comes up with 100 – 50000 surviving cats from one unspayed female feral in 7 years.) That, and the difficulties in feral cat outreach, makes TNR programs crucial. Groups like Cats Rule! dedicate themselves to rescuing feral cats, and socializing them as best as they can. These are cats who never had homes to begin with and who many shelters won’t even take, considering them unadoptable. When you see the critical need of the ferals, the abandonment of those who had homes is that much more selfish.
Belle is a cat who was abandoned to a vet clinic when her “family” situation changed. She was then further traumatized by being declawed. She’s been back and forth between a (relatively) chaotic household and a vet’s clinic.
Belle’s story starts here:
There is currently a 4 year old ruddy [abysinian] female at my clinic that is in need of a one animal home and someone with alot of patience to work with here. She may be a lost cause though.
Her owner was getting married and moving in with her new husband and two step children. Belle (the cat) did not adjust well to this. The owner dropped her off at my clinic since one of her friends knew I had an interest in abys and feline rescue. Belle was very fractious and needed our special cat bos to anesthetize for examination. She had not been to a veterinarian since her kitten shots. She is currently 4 years old!. I updated her shots, spayed and declawed her. I placed a Fentanyl patch on her and gave her oral pain medications every 6 hours. She started to adjust to my home but after 3 days she became fractious again. My husband and I tried to work with her for 10 days but she started to lunge at us.
We currently have 2 dogs and cats so this may have caused here additional stress. She is currently at my clinic. We have started her on Amytriptyline with no success. She comes out to eat and then runs into her carrier and hides. If you have someone willing to work with her that would be great. She is a beautiful cat but unfortunately she does not have the normal aby warmenss at this time.
Belle is now so traumatized that when she was adopted by a couple into what sounded like the perfect situation – quiet home, plenty of room so she had her own bedroom to adjust to the house, the new people, and the 2 older cats who already lived there – she became an attack cat. She’s acting much like a feral would, and it is hard to not attribute some of that behavior to the declawing. She’s already feeling scared and vulnerable, and she’s had some of her defenses taken away. It is really sad.
Hopefully she’ll have a happy ending, but the truth is that if someone with feral cat experience can’t take her and rehabilitate her, Belle will be euthanized. Sadly the people who have the experience to help cats like her usually have no extra room to take on new cats. Too little room, too few resources.
* note: none of these pictures are of belle, but they are all rescued cats; rescued from situations ranging from abandonment to a feral cat colony in Turkey *