Wednesday, March 31, 2010

PEACHES


Caution---Sad alert.

After I progressed from reading meters, I found my dream job with the power company. It was called LSA (leave service available) which entailed a multitude of field jobs. I really loved it. It had all the freedom of meter reading but was a lot easier on the body. I traveled daily into a large territory and it was not unusual to drive 250 miles a day as I covered our 5 county area.

Since I was on the road for the whole day, I always packed a cooler and would search a place with a view to have lunch. I had several choices in each county that I would repeat and schedule my work orders around. Nubbin Slough, which was a lake access and boat ramp for fishermen, usually fit into my schedule.

I normally parked on the dike so I could enjoy the larger view of the lake but this day I drove down to the water's edge. I was working on my usual turkey sandwich when I heard a soft meow. Sitting out side my truck and looking directly at me was a striking little cat. She was a soft peach, white and charcoal calico. I had never seen those particular pastel shades before. She was beautifully marked.

I pulled some turkey from my sandwich and offered it to her but she was too afraid to approach so I threw it on the ground where she pounced on it like it was a fat juicy mouse. I knew right then that I was going on a diet that day as I offered her the rest of my sandwich. That was when the tall grass around the boat ramp exploded and at least 30 cats emerged.

These cats were a terribly ratty looking group, all ages and sizes. Thinness was the fashion of the day while tattered fur and scars were the accessories. Even the pretty one upon closer examination was carrying some partially healed wounds. I always carried a small bag of dog food kibble in my truck to help with rescue when I found a stray.

I scattered the dog food about on the ground and watched them gobble 5 pounds up in a matter of minutes. Cats, as you cat owners know, generally have delightful table manners and are picky slow eaters. This was a frenzy feed with lots of snarling and posturing.

My rescue work mostly centered around dogs with a few cat exceptions. I knew this group of 30 cats was something I was not equipped to handle. That day as I worked my way around the lake and visited the various RV parks near the Slough to complete my orders, I spread the word about the herd of cats at the Slough.


Many of the northern visitors with a lot of time on their hands, volunteered to make sure the animals were fed and would try to catch them. I love it when people work together. I would have reported the cats to the Humane Society but they would have had no choice but to destroy the animals. Feral cats are not adoptable as pets.

I kept taking food to them every evening after work and noticed that I was not the only one now. My little group of Yankee recruits was doing a good job. I really thought of trying to catch that pretty one that I had named Peaches, but she stayed always out of reach. Just as well I kept thinking for I really had enough on my plate at the time.

Then one lunch hour as I drove up, I saw the pack of cats swarming like rats over a bag of food someone had left. Peaches was just looking at the food, but not eating. I noticed her tail looked like it had been severed in the middle with only a string of skin holding it together. I thought she must have been in a terrible fight.

Then she turned towards me and the shock sickened me. She had only half a face. One ear was gone, one eye, a chunk of her skull, most of the flesh on one side of her face and her teeth were exposed. The other half of her face was perfect. It was a horrible picture.

I felt tears burn my eyes. I was pretty sure what had happened. She had probably climbed under the hood of a fisherman's car for warmth and when he started it up, she got caught in the fan belt or blade. Usually this will kill a cat. She was gravely wounded but alive and trying to stay that way. I knew she needed vet care immediately. I doubted she could be saved and would most likely be euthanased but she really needed relief.

I walked towards her and while the others scattered, she stayed fast and looked at me with her one eye. I took a towel I kept in the truck and wrapped it around her. Though I had never been able to get near her before, this time she let me pick her up. I placed her in the passenger seat hoping foolishly this would work.

All was fine till I started the engine and she exploded in that small cab. For a really sick animal, she tore my truck up and I flew out the door in fear. She followed me out but stopped short after getting about 30 feet from the truck. Again she looked at me with that one eye.

I still had about 50 minutes left to my lunch hour so I drove quickly to my vets office and explained the problem. I was given an oral anesthetic which if I could get it on her tongue, it should make her safe to transport. As her tongue was totally exposed on one side, I hoped it would work. Problem would be her letting me near enough a second time.

When I got back, she was the only one left, the others had eaten all the food and scurried to their hiding places. She again watched me calmly as I approached her with the properly loaded, needle less syringe. She must have sensed that I was there to help for she made no effort to move as I squirted the liquid onto her tongue. It worked marvelously and she was almost unconscious in no time and an easy transport. I left her with the vet for my lunch hour was over and I promised to check on her after work.

My vet once joked that you could cut a cat into nine pieces, put all pieces in a room and shut the door. By morning the cat would be whole again. They do have remarkable abilities to recover but not this time. He could not fix her for her brain had been exposed too long so he put her humanely to sleep.

Some of the cats of Nubbin Slough were caught by the Yankees who were feeding them. I used a Havaheart trap to catch a few, have them spayed or neutered and then took them to local dairy farms that agreed to take them. These were feral cats and taming is a long process if it can be done at all.

Then one day, though there should have been about 18 left, there were no more cats. One of my Yankee friends said that animal control had come down and destroyed the remainder. I don't know how and don't want to know, but I am guessing poison. They were considered a health hazard by the county. I had not moved fast enough.

Some of these had once been pets or the offspring of pets that people dumped out. Cats, even more so than dogs, are considered a throw-a-way animal. With all the animal control methods and rescue foundations we have today, there was no need for that heartbreak to have ever occurred.

Same tired old message here ---Please spread the Spay/ Neuter message and if you know of someone contemplating the dumping of an animal, remind them of the Humane Society. Thank you.

16 comments :

  1. Sad alert, indeed! I would love to jerk a knot in the tail of, and perform more unseemly and painful actions against anyone who abandons or "throws away" a helpless animal, of any species.

    Unfortunately, that's not the worst of it; people throw away their own babies, too. What a sad, sad world we live in.

    I thank God for people like you who care, and do something about it.

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  2. That is so sad. No animal deserves to be abandoned. You are probably the busiest woman I know and with one of the kindest hearts!

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  3. Oh Patti! What a story! You did it again! Usually I don't read long posts from beginning to end, but yours are very interesting and I always want to know how they end, for you write brilliantly!

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  4. Some animals live such hard and unendurable lives. I wish you could have saved Peaches, and what a sad end she had. But, even in her misery she sensed your goodness and knew you had come to help. At least at the end, she felt cared for, and sometimes that's all you can do.

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  5. Oh, I am heartbroken about Peaches...I shuddered while reading her story! So horrible! I'm so glad you did what you could, and wish more people would get involved...and at the very least, be responsible...Wonderfully written post! And a powerful message! Thank you! ~Janine XO

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  6. Our daughter, when two strays came up, and had their first litter, she took them all and had them spayed. She is now down to three outside and three indoor cats. They lost three this past winter.

    What a sad story about the little one you called Peaches.

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  7. The ones that irritate me the most are relatives who've always lived on farms and cats getting eaten and killed seems to be a way of life. For heaven sake, fix that mama cat and stop that nonsense!

    Bless you for your work with animals.

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  8. I literally got sick to my stomach while reading this. You are an angel, Patti.

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  9. Pat,
    I'll hold them down for you Pat while you jerk a knot.
    The only consolulation is that we do out number the sorry people. I don't do rescue any more but there are a lot of people out there fighting the good fight.

    Oklhdan
    Thank you but I never was one who could turn a blind eye. Bit of a curse actually but wouldn't change.

    Reader Wil,
    My what a wonderful compliment.Thank you I know my long posts can be a bit of a chore to busy bloggers. Thanks for sticking with them to the end.

    robin,
    I really hated losing her. I would have gladly given a one eared, one eyed cat a home but it wasn't to be. She had to have known I was there to help for prior to that, she wouldn't come near me.

    Sniffles and Smiles,
    There really are a lot of people out there doing rescue work, they just pretty much go under the radar.Thank you so much for the kind words.

    Patty,
    Bless your daughter.That was a lot of animals to get spayed. Know exactly where she got her love of animals.

    Linda,
    I remember my dad telling me that farmers would drown whole litters of kittens. That was their idea of birth control and how they were raised.
    Cats in particular seem to be the most disposable of animals. It is so wrong.

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  10. kenju,
    I am so sorry my story made you sick. It made me sick also to see her but made sicker that I couldn't help her. That really hurt.

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  11. That's sad!Wish you must have saved tyhe peaches.
    Have a good day

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  12. I have 4 cats and a dog....I love my animals and I can't even begin to understand how cruel people are to animals...Of course, they are cruel to children as well...that irks me too.
    Thank you for caring for animals. God has given you many gifts...writing and a tender heart for helpless creatures.
    I always enjoy your posts...Thank you for being here.

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  13. Sad for sure, Patti... BUT--you did all you could do. I'm surprised that the kitty lived as long as it did... How very very sad.... Glad you and the others helped as much as they could.

    I hate to see people get 'pets' --and then decide that they don't want them anymore. So they throw them away... Drives me CRAZY...

    Sometimes this world we live in can be a very sad place...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  14. I could just imagine the entire incident as if I was there. Really feel bad that cats are treated as 'throw-away' animals!! :'( Lesson also for us -- I will look under my car henceforth. Poor cat.I mean, I shudder to even think about it.

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  15. Femin Susan,
    Me too Susan, me too.

    Sandy,
    I know, I can't begin to understand. Fortunately there are more like you and I than of the heartless variety.
    Thank you so much.

    Betsy,
    It is kind of the society we are breeding where there is no value placed on anything except "new" or perfect. Probably why so many marriages fail.

    lostworld,
    I have a neighbor's cat that likes my car and I always thump hard on the hood several times before I get in to start it. That will scare them out.
    Thanks for doing your part.

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  16. What a sad story, but so many poor animals end up abandoned. All of my pets except one have been tossed out of cars by uncaring and cruel people with no conscience or compassion. If I ever catch one in the act, they will be very sorry.

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