I debated for awhile whether I should post this or not, seeing as my blog is usually pretty lukewarm. But maybe this can balance out some of the boring "look at me, I acted like an grown-up today" posts, and, well - this is my blog, I don't want to censor myself. And yesterday I was angry. So here it is (kind of long).
About a month ago, I'd made the decision that I could not allow the homeless kittens remain to outside through the winter. Not only would they be vulnerable to the weather and predators, they could potentially create more kittens, and roaming packs of stray cats are never a good thing for a community (or the cats).

I contacted numerous shelters, all of which were unable to help for one reason or another. Mostly they could not help me because of my location; shelters often limit their services to certain towns to prevent them from becoming overwhelmed. I happen to live in an area where my choices were few. The only shelter in my county does not accept stray animals unless they are transported by the animal control - not only was I unable to make contact with anyone from the animal control, the shelter has a policy of euthanizing stray animals anyway.

Finally, I stumbled upon the website for an animal advocacy and rescue group in the area. There was only one email address listed as a contact, so I send the following:

I hope you can help me. I live in [town], and for the past few weeks, have been visited by 4 kittens and their mother. They usually come for a few days, sleep on my detached porch, and then leave for a few days. Recently I have not seen their mother, and have started to feed the kittens (approx 7-8 weeks old?), not wanting them to starve without their mother. As it is getting cold, I am very concerned that they are living outdoors.
I contacted the [local animal control] twice and both times spoke to a dispatcher who told me he would pass my message on to the animal control staff, who would call me back. No one has called me back. I contacted the [county shelter], who told me they do not take feral animals from anyone other than animal control, and anyway feral animals are usually euthanized.
These kittens are very sweet, a little skittish, but mostly socialized. Two of them even let me pick them up. I cannot adopt all of them into my house (I already have 3 indoor-only cats) and I can't bring myself to surrender them to an organization that is only going to euthanize them. In the past I have volunteered at [an out-of-county animal shelter], but they don't take animals from [this county]. I don't know what to do.
Please let me know the best course of action. These kittens seem to be in good health (not thin or with any injuries) and from what I can tell, don't even have fleas. I am sure they are not spayed/neutered, but I would be willing to pay for it if it meant they could be adopted.
Thank you very much.

The next day I received this:

I am very sorry but our foster homes are full.  Actually if the kittens are feral it will be hard to adopt them out.  I would highly recommend if you are going to just keep them in your area make sure they get spayed and neutered so they don't produce any others.
[animal rescue group]
Fostering Saves Lives

Well, ok. I was a little annoyed at the clipped response, but figured if they couldn't help me, maybe they could refer me to someone who could. I wrote back:

Hi [name], thanks for responding.
Like I said, the kittens are social, friendly, will let me pet them. Two will let me hold them. Would it be possible for me to foster them and get them adopted? One of my indoor cats was a feral kitten I adopted from a foster home in [town], and you would never know he was born outdoors. I just can't see allowing them to remain outdoors all winter, spayed/neutered or not, when they could make really wonderful pets for someone. I understand there is an overpopulation of cats, but I would like to at least try to get them adopted. Is there anything you can do to help, or help point me in the direction of someone who can help? I would be willing to foster if there is a possiblilty of adopting them out, I just don't know where to begin/what to do.
Thanks again, I very much appreciate your assistance.

To this, sent October 17, I received nothing.

I eventually found the rescue group I am working with now, so I let this attempt go. Then yesterday I had an appointment for one of the kittens at the vet, and in the waiting room was a flyer for the rescue group that didn't respond back to me. I thought about it on the way home, and the more I did, the angrier I got. How could they just ignore my second email? I was only asking for contacts that might be able to help. And not even an email back to say sorry, they didn't know of anyone who could help (unlikely, since they were founded in 1999)? Even the first email was short and useless. Three sentences and zero help. What kind of "animal advocacy" group conducts itself this way? By the time I got back to my house, I was furious.

So, back at my computer, I sent the following:

Just wanted to take a moment to let you know how unprofessional you have been. Not only have you ignored my second email for a month now (I'm sure you did not intend to write back at all), your first response to me was completely unhelpful and rude. Even if your organization was unable to help me, you could have at least tried to point me in the direction of one that could.
"Actually if the kittens are feral it will be hard to adopt them out." - yeah, thanks, except I explained to you that they were already semi-social. Surely it isn't possible that someone working for an animal advocacy group does not know how easy it is to socialize a feral kitten.
"I would highly recommend if you are going to just keep them in your area make sure they get spayed and neutered so they don't produce any others." - gee, really? And how do you propose I get them spayed/neutered, do it myself? I was writing to you for help, as you surely have more resources/contacts than I do. Would it have killed you to recommend an organization that has a TNR program?
Not that you care, but I am working with a different rescue organization who has been professional and helpful from our first email contact. They have asked me to foster the kittens in my home, (the kittens are all now completely social and friendly) and they are assisting me in finding them adoptive families. The kittens have all now had their shots (paid for by the rescue organization) and have appointments for spay/neuters. Good thing I didn't stop after your email - they'd all still be living outside, maybe adding to the cat overpopulation, or dead.
You must be proud.
Have a lovely day.

She hasn't written back yet.

- Antiope

11/17/2010 09:36:28 am


11/18/2010 02:58:34 am

Actually I find your actions very adult like.

11/19/2010 12:32:38 pm

there was a response

that first rescue group sucks!!


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