I can't save them all..can I?

newhomeseekerAugust 27, 2009

Deep down I know I can't save them all but I can't get rid of the instinct to try.

I've always had pets growing up, we lived on a small farm and had several inside-outside cats. I grew up believing you just let the cat outside when he wanted out. We lost a few that way but most lived to very old age. Our last two lived to be 14 and 16. When I moved out of my parents' house I adopted a cat with a boyfriend. We adopted her from a rescue and even though he wanted a cute kitten I made sure we took home the cat that had lived at the rescue the longest, a quiet black and white kitty with seemingly no personality that had been there for two years. She turned out to be quite a character. She still lives with that old boyfriend and is his baby.

I took in a kitten from a friend who didn't want her anymore and was going to throw her outside (six years ago), found another kitten on the road on my way home from work (five years ago) agreed to keep my sister's cat for two weeks while she moved (I STILL have him and that was four years ago!) and last summer I found a kitten in a bush near my mailbox. She DEMANDED that I take her home. So now I have four cats. Love them dearly and they are totally spoiled and own me.

This summer I had two strays show up and have kittens (one had two in the garage and the other had five in the woods near my house) I have adopted all of them (only found a home for one mama so far) and have them all in my house. They are the sweetest kitties. I am foster one of the older kittens for a rescue.

Well last night I went for a walk and went through a path in the woods and these two cats (belong to a neighbor) just followed me. They are kittens probably about 12 weeks old. One male one female calico and very sweet and loving. The female rubbed all over me and I picked her up and carried her and she just purred. She is beautiful (long haired) and very friendly. The male is nice as well. They followed me for about a mile and I finally turned around and led them back to their home. A boy about 11 came outside and told me those were his kittens but I could have them that he was going to put them in a box and sell them for $10 a piece. That his dog "ate" one of the other kittens (they apparently have a large dog) and that his mom ran over another by accident. These cats were visibly frightened of this kid as they shrank back and hid when he came near me.

I can't stop thinking about those poor cats. They are not going to be taken care of (neighbors live in a falling down house with tons of animals running around) they will just breed and have more unwanted kittens. I so want to go back and either steal them in the middle of the night (lol) or offer the kid ten dollars for the cats (at least the female, I fell in love with her) and take them home and try to find them homes. Either foster them or try to adopt them out myself. At least get their shots and get them spayed/neutered.

These cats have grown up outdoors and I don't know if they would adjust to the indoor life. Also I currently have TWELVE cats/kittens in my house and am turning into the definition of a crazy cat lady. What would you do? Should I just forget about them and chalk it up to you can't save them all?

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Because you already have 12 cats, I would buy the kittens and then take them to the shelter... they are still small and very friendly - probably have a good chance of getting adopted.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 5:06PM
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Everything in moderation. Fact is that nobody can give as much quality attention to that many animals. Better to give high quality to fewer animals than just minimal care to so many.
If you are worried about the kittens being euthanized, take them to the ASPCA or other no kill shelter.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:09PM
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You cant save them all, but you can certainly help quite a few...But all of it is hard to do on your own

A few years back I found myself in a similar situation. We bought a house, moved to a new neighborhood, and all of a sudden, there were all these new strays. I went from 3 indoor cats to 9. I wanted to help, I fostered and adopted a few out, I spayed and neutered a bunch of cats in the neighborhood (some were owned but never fixed)

I wanted to help, but I knew I could not keep them all.
So, I started to reach out to local groups, offering my help to volunteer. Being a graduate student, I did not have much time to give - but I offered to foster, and volunteered at the local Humane Society

Once a part of a rescue group, I was able to find homes for my own fosters. Local groups and rescues tell the public their are full, and they are, but they certainly do work with rescue people. There were times I fostered 13-15 kittens at a time, and they all left, because due to the help of other rescue people, I was able to place all my foster kittens for adoption..

Without volunteering with local groups, I would not be able to do much of anything. Now, if I come across adoptable cats and kittens, I know I most likely will be able to place them for adoption and will have the support of local groups (drugs, food, S/N surgery), since we all work together

I really think power is in numbers. You have the drive and the compassion needed, and it is going to be hard for you to keep passing the animals in need by...Maybe there are groups in the area you can offer help to - through fostering, or volunteering your time - and in return, they will help you a whole bunch with all the kittens and adoptable adult cats you come across...

You are doing a great thing and have a big heart, obviously

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 10:54PM
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Join the club! I've handled this situation by adopting out the extra cats. My personal limit is 4, and I just adopted out a foster cat who was a stray who showed up on the porch.

If you can't find adoptive homes on your own, consider joining a rescue group who will feature your cats at their adoption events.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 12:41AM
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Steal the kittens and give them to a rescue group. People like that are disgusting. I don't look right or left anymore. I am so tired of rescuing animals and it's physically draining. My last rescue is Henry and he is three and 21 pounds of spunk. I DID raise a baby squirrel which drained me last summer but he did live thru the winter and was here last week for nuts. I found a little catbird on the road when I was riding my bike the other night. I removed him and placed him in an evergreen and rode on. I knew if I took him home I wouldn't know what to feed him, he'd die and I'd be stressed. I have five cats now and will some day have only three. That will be the limit. I wish I wasn't born with the 'rescue animal' gene.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 1:37AM
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You have a great heart. However, remember a lot of animal hoarders start out the same way, with good intentions, but end up with a destroyed home stuffed full of half-wild and sick animals they can't properly care for. Also remember that those cats will live a long life, and you will probably continually come into similar situations every year.....you can't take them all. Adopt the calico if you have a special connection, but try to find a place to take some of those cats and especially the kittens you have in your home.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 7:59AM
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Thanks for the support. I don't plan on keeping all twelve (I'm going to foster some through the rescue group) but volunteering for them might help me make some connections and that might make it easier for me to adopt the kittens out. Thank you for that suggestion. I got the "rescue animals" gene straight from my mom (but my dad has it too) I remember when I was little she would have my sister and me in the car and she'd pull over to pick up a turtle sitting at the side of the road and we'd drive around with it and she'd relocate it to a safer place. And my parents would rescue dogs as well. Their first dog was a stray (before I was born) and their 2nd (after the original passed) was when my mom went to the vet to pay for the deceased dog's last vet bill the vet told my mom that someone had dropped off a dog to be put down but the only thing that was wrong with her was she had an ear infection. The owner just didn't want to deal with it. The vet told the owner they would follow their wishes but the vet wouldnt' go through with it and needed a home for this older dog. My mom took her home that day. A few months later she adopted a puppy from the humane society (took the "ugliest" one because she knew the chances of her getting adopted were slim (it was a kill shelter) and a few years later she adopted two more puppies (the two dogs that just passed away this year) from a rescue group.

Normally I find a stray kitten every two years (and end up keeping it as evidenced by my four inside kitties) but this year it has been crazy! I think I will try to save the two kittens at the neighbor's house. Not sure where I will put them but I'll make room.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 8:03AM
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Newhomeseeker, re. your neighbors, the mother of the two surviving kittens will keep reproducing and you'll keep running into the same situation over and over. Maybe you could talk to the little boy's mother and refer her to a low cost spay/neuter, or see if you can get one of those orgs to contact her. To nip this in the bud, the mama cat and any unfixed males need to be spayed/neutered. If you do talk to them, they might just blow you off, but at least you tried.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 11:16AM
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homeseeker..You had great parents who instilled in you the love of animals. My own case is different. That's why I wonder where I got the gene. I was not allowed a pet as a child even tho I brought home all sorts of animals, kittens, puppies..and all were sent back. I told them when I grew up I would have lots of pets and I always had. You're up to 12. I was up to 9 but now down to five. A few died , others were found a good home because they would not get along in my house. But really in a perfect world there should be more people like us and others here. Good luck. If you bonded w/ the calico, keep her. I know all about bonding..lol

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 2:27PM
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I will try to talk to the kid and see if I can have the kittens ( will try to adopt them out). I didn't see any more cats there so I have no idea if they still have the mother cat. I don't think talking to the neighbors is a good idea because my fiance's step son walked over there this week to play with his friend. He knocked on the door and asked if the friend was home and the father answered and said no and the boy asked if he knew where he was (he wanted to know if he'd be back I guess) and the father screamed at him that it was none of his "fking business" and to get off his property. So I don't think these are the types of people that would take kindly to a suggestion that they spay their animals.

I moved to the country because I wanted peace and quiet and space and ended up in a semi-hell. The neighbors are inconsiderate yahoos who let their "pets" run free everywhere and if I collected all the stray cats within a mile of my house I could probably find at least 50. You see cats everywhere you look! Dogs too. The other neighbors just let their dogs run loose (dog warden doesn't do anything but supposedly warn them) Our next door neighbors have a male dog that isn't neutered and he is allowed to run free too (and does visit the other neighbors dogs (probably not spayed either) Everyone's kids ride their 4wheelers and dirt bikes up and down the roads at all hours and through farmers fields and no one does anything about it. I'm not saying all of my neighbors are terrible but the majority don't even take proper care of their children so they aren't going to be worried about their dog or cat reproducing.

I don't plan to keep all of these cats that I've "collected". One is already enrolled in a foster program (I am still taking care of him though) and one may go to my sister. I have their pictures up at my vet's office and when the newest kittens are old enough to take away from mama cat I will foster them (might keep two of them) but that is my limit.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 3:07PM
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By the way. I have to say Kudos to you for rescuing all you have and caring for them as you do, AND that you are asking the right questions and recognizing that you might be getting in over your head is a reason to go treat yourself. It shows you have insight and are smart enough to confront yourself and change. Very unique in todays world - Go treat yourself to something (other than another pet) you deserve it.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 3:45PM
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I have to say Kudos ...
Let me second that! We need more people like you!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 6:24PM
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Ditto on the kudos. Reach out some more. There's got to be some people out there around you that are like all of us -- with that gene :) You need some support from someone like-minded, hopefully with connections.
I was driving home once and there was a turtle trying to cross the road. Some young yahoo in front of me, slouched down in his truck talking on the phone, nailed the poor turtle and splattered him all over the road. Totally unnecessary, not to mention it could have been any animal, even a child. The guy was oblivious. I was so upset when I got home; my boyfriend thought I was nuts. It's that gene I guess. But being a caring person isn't a bad thing at all, I don't think. I really feel for you Newhomeseeker, you are in a tough situation. But I'm glad you are there for all of those poor little cats.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 9:11PM
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Thank you for caring.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 9:53PM
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Sometimes it's painful to care so much, but if some of us didn't, a lot of animals would be a lot worse off.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 10:46PM
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It is very painful to care so much. I walked a few miles tonight down to the tree where I put the cat bird on the road the other night. I was happy to see no dead body under the tree.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 1:10AM
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You're right, you can't save them all. But you do what you can. Saving doesn't mean keeping. Otherwise I'd have 14 dogs after 1 year of being a vet. Argh. I've got 5 of my own and one new rescue at the house now. That's plenty. The rescue will get adopted pretty soon, I'm sure. She's a chihuahua and small dogs are generally easier to adopt out than larger ones. Plus she is 100% sweet and has a *very* sad story. Almost guaranteed to be adopted!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 5:15PM
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Sounds as though there are lots of animal lovers in your new neighborhood, but not a lot of animal caretakers. Some people just don't know what they don't know. THey know they want the cute and fuzzy, but not that they grow up and might need work! So, it sounds like you have an opportunity here! You can be an example for your neighbors as to how to care for an animal at the very least. You can also take it one step further and maybe provide free literature on vet clinics and low cost spay and neuter to your neighbors. If you don't have those services available locally, you can work to make those services available by joining a rescue group and working with other like minded folks.

What I'm trying to say is what some other posters have said: there is POWER in numbers. Join a group. Found a group. Get the local kids involved in educational efforts and maybe they won't grow up to be their parents! You feel overwhelmed and a little alone now, but if you make contacts with other like minded folks, your effectiveness as an agent of change multplies! One person can't save them all....but a dozen people can save a neighborhood. It's like the old shampoo commercial. You tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and they tell two friends..... and the next thing you know, your county is actually opening an animal shelter where none existed before and the deputies just shot stray dogs (true story!).

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 10:14AM
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Too bad your moving to the country has not been the best experience. I also moved to a rural area 12+ years ago, and have the best neighbors (most of them).

I did have to call the dog warden on some people across the streeet that would let their black lab wander ... the 3rd time he got hit by a car, they finally started tying him up. I got called all kinds of names by the father of the house.

I have also rescued more than my share of cats ... curently have 5 in the house, and one feral barn cat. Too many of mine were cats people dropped off in the country when they were no longer wanted.

I have found a local inexpensive spay program, and have had luck finding good families for most of the cats, except the ones that are now spoiled house cats.

You are doing a good thing and have a great heart. You'll find more people that are like you that will help.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 12:53PM
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Unfortunately, the number of abused and unwanted cats far outweigh compassionate humans. It's so sad, and heartbreaking. How anyone can harm or mistreat these innocent beings if beyond me.

I volunteered at a shelter, a long time ago, and the reasons people give for dumping their pets is unbelievable. Like, the dog got big! Well, what did you expect, babies grow up! Or, the cat scratched me. Well, hello! Yes, cats have claws! Or, they wanted attention! Well, you are the only world they have, if you don't want to commit to them, as they do to you, then don't have them!

But, back to the two kittens that you talked about. I know, individually, we can't save all the unwanted animals, but that's not a good enough answer. Perhaps you could take the kittens and find good homes for them. At least, you would know you tried.

The beating hearts of the ones trapped in a painful life are so lucky to have people, like you, to help them!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 11:26AM
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