Support Your Local Cat Lady
I currently have 3, sometimes 4, cats living on my porch. They’re spayed and neutered. They’re vaccinated. I feed them. I keep an eye on their health, and take them to the vet if they need it.
They’re basically my pets; I just can’t bring them in because a) I have 3 indoor only cats already. I’m not trying to become a cat hoarder, and b) I simply don’t have the square footage for 6 or 7 cats. Cats are very territorial creatures, so you need plenty of space for them to get away from each other. I’m mindful of their psychological wellbeing as well as their physical one.
I’ve probably cared for and adopted out about 30 or so friendly strays in my area in the last 4–5 years. In Philadelphia, we have a serious problem with homeless cats. Approximately 400k cats roam our streets. Many of them are in very bad shape. This is all because of human negligence, apathy, and ignorance. You can’t blame the cats for their plight.
I know that my “crazy” cat lady status probably annoys a good number of my neighbors, but here’s the deal. I’m not happy to be taking care of other people’s abandoned cats, or cats born outside because people can’t be bothered to neuter their pets. Feeding 7 cats is costing me a fortune, and I wasn’t rich to begin with.
TnR…buying food…shlepping cats to the vet…finding rescues or adopters for friendly strays…it’s a time-consuming, expensive, thankless task. Although, I do get rewarded when this little orange nugget jumps up on my window and “nuzzles” me through the glass affectionately.
Watching my porch kitties groom each other, and rub up against each other in excitement when I feed them is its own reward.
Here’s my message to people who have a problem with us cat rescuers/feeders:
- I’m not the one who abandoned these cats. Sure, I can stop feeding cats. I can stop doing TnR. I could make my porch inhospitable for strays. Then what? Do you think that suddenly, your other neighbors will stop kicking their cats out? Do you think your neighbors who let their cats roam outside will suddenly get their pets spayed and neutered? Ain’t gonna happen.
- Don’t blame cat feeders for problems with your trash. I feed my strays well. Why would they wanna dig into your garbage and eat your three day old pizza crusts, when they get good quality cat food, tuna, fresh chicken etc?
- Would you rather watch me feed healthy, happy cats on my porch? Or deal with sick, injured or dying cats on YOUR porch? Because I know people who deal with cats who don’t have someone feeding or caring for them, ending up in bad shape in their back yards, and it’s traumatic. I’ve gotten late night phone calls or instant messages from my friends: “There’s a mama cat and three babies in my yard. What do I do?” If we all do our part by trapping and getting strays on our street neutered, like I do, we can prevent this.
- I do my best to find homes for strays, but oftentimes, they’re too feral to be adopted out. And when I say “feral”, I don’t mean rabid and mean. I mean, too skittish to be around strangers. It’s really really really hard to find homes for strays — even the friendly ones. People mostly want kittens. They don’t want Mr. Nibs, my 4-yr-old tuxedo porch kitty whose tail had to be amputated, despite how sweet and loving he is. Sometimes he doesn’t want to be fed — he just wants me to pet him. He’ll reach his little neck out like he wants a kiss. I want so badly to find someone who will bring him indoors, where he can thrive and be loved all the time and live a long life. I have a feeling he’d make someone a nice lap kitty if given the chance.
- Yes I know how many birds stray cats kill. This is why I get them spayed and neutered. To prevent them from creating more bird-killing machines.
- If you want to make things better for cats, there are many things you can do (yelling at me isn’t one of them.) You can donate or volunteer at ACCT. You can donate to one of Philly’s dozens of tireless rescues, which are all overloaded right now thanks to kitten season. YOU CAN FOSTER A CAT. You can petition our city officials to allocate more resources to our animal control agencies. You can contact your city council rep, state rep, etc. to tell them to PRIORITIZE stray cats to help us volunteers educate the community about spay and neuter. There are many more things you can do. Just ask me, instead of yelling at me while I’m trying to keep my porch kitties from experiencing the oftentimes dangerous, usually SHORT, life of a homeless cat.
Stop blaming me. I’m not the problem here. I’m trying to be one of the solutions.
Copyright 2021 S. Wade