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  • Writer's pictureKathy Gabrielescu

When Did "Free" Become Not Good Enough?????

Everyday I find myself asking this question.


We offer free vouchers and appointments for feral cats to be fixed by those who feed them. This is is an offer I would have been overjoyed to find in my 20s when I started feeding my first colony of cats. Once I realized they were breeding, I struggled to work overtime so that I could trap, transport and recover cats in a one bedroom apartment.


Times seemed to have changed drastically. We plaster social media with offers of free spay/neuter and allow municipal shelters with no current programs to refer residents in need to our vouchers.

 

You would assume we would be buried in requests every day...

...but you would be wrong.

 

We are finding that the current generation of cat feeders do not want to do the work to become real caretakers. They feel bad enough for the cats to crack open a can of Friskies, but not bad enough to be responsible for prevention and vet care of sick and injured cats. We do find some people who join our network of feral fixers... but most will not.


So many reasons are given...

  • I have a job.

  • I have kids.

  • The free appointments offered are not at convenient times and locations!

  • I need my vacation days to go on recreational trips so I can't use them to transport cats.

  • I have no friends who would offer to drive me to a vet.

  • The town should do it..

  • I am doing "my part" by feeding.

  • I can not recover a cat in my house for 2 days.


The issue is that ALL of these things should have been considered before they decided to feed cats.


Can you actually care for those cats.... or are you only willing to add to the number of cats by increasing the local food supply for them?

I have often been asked "Do you want me to not feed and let them starve?" No, of course not.

What we hope is that with the offer of free equipment lending, free appointments, free training, and 24/7 support, people will opt to become responsible and make the sacrifices that come with being a caretaker for an animal. Caring for a colony of outdoor cats is not easy, not convenient and does take work. A "feeder's" willingness to become a caretaker is almost always the difference between life and horrible death for these cats.

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