A few months ago I was asked by a fellow rescuer how I managed to do so many blog posts. My response was I was an unemployed graduate student on spring break. It was only part of the reason, but the basic principle remains–I had lots of free time. Now, only a few weeks until the end of the quarter, I realize I have hardly written anything in the past few weeks. Time to rectify that.
While there hasn’t been much actual trapping going on, I have been busy as ever helping the cats. One day a week I go in to my local cat shelter and return calls and e-mails for their Feral Friends program. Counseling others can be challenging and frustrating, but it can also be highly rewarding and inspiring. I am working to find the balance between the two and remind myself, even with the frustrating calls, I am helping people, giving them more tools in their toolkit.
As I made clear in some previous posts, I was starting to feel a little hopeless about all the cats and how difficult it is to catch them, how many there are, how uncooperative people can be. All the sad stories I hear from other rescuers, or people calling for assistance just completely overwhelmed me after all I had going on with my own cats. But the events of the past month or so have changed all that.
I took a slightly forced break from trapping. As I said at the start, I am a grad student now. Between class, homework, job searches and burn out, I had no option but to stop spending my evenings in a fruitless search for my Poosh. The little man is still out there, I spotted him about a week ago playing with something (a shadow? his tail? a bug? a leave?) under a truck. He seemed quite content and in great condition. That was a huge morale booster!
Another huge booster was the call I got from Nancy, the lady who cares for the cats I moved downstate, telling me David had reappeared one night. This is great news. The last time we talked to her, shortly after the cats were all released, she said the three girls hung around the loft all day, and were great buddies with her other male cat. The three males I brought down, my two boys and another boy named Petey, were nowhere to be seen. Petey’s rescuer reminded me that males like to roam and there was nothing to prove they had disappeared. So when I heard on Saturday that David had shown himself late one afternoon, I was over the moon. It gives me hope that the other boys are still hanging around somewhere.
There were two other events that really helped inspire me to keep going with the trapping. The first was an event sponsored by Alley Cat Allies, “Cocktails with Cat Ladies.” Hosted by Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies, as well as other ACA staff members, it was a great chance to just relax and talk about cats. A wonderful night, there were no pressures to trap more or explain TNR to people.
No need to defend myself and my cat catching ways or why it is important. I just got to talk to fellow cat people. Talk, meet fellow “cat ladies,” hear Becky Robinson talk about their plans for Chicago, and get resources for future blog posts and educational outreach. Even though I spent most of the night talking to people I already knew, it was wonderful to get a chance to just relax and talk about one of my favorite topics without the pressure of figuring out next trapping project or defending what I do.
The second event was going to a lecture by Dr. Jane Goodall, and having the honor and pleasure, of meeting her for a few seconds. If Jane Goodall can find reason to keep her hope for the future, then who am I to lose hope? Dr. Goodall talked about her work with the chimps, of course, but also about why she continues to have hope. She talked about all the dedicated rescue workers and conservationists who spend their lives working for the animals they love, the causes they believe in. When she specifically mentioned shelter workers, my heart leapt. For some reason it was just a huge moral booster to know that Dr. Goodall supported the work of all animal rescuers, though I don’t know why I ever doubted she did.
There will be more updates soon. School is coming to a close and I have many stories of my three girls to share! Hopefully there will also be some trapping going on. Lord knows there are plenty of cats.