Who Rescued Who?


Who Rescued Who?

My rescuing career started when I was growing up in the Midwest. I grew up around many types of animals. We raised horses, always were surrounded by dogs, cats, and whatever animal that just happened to wander by.

When I grew older and made my way to the Northeast for a new job position, I actually had my 2 cats flown into New York on the plane with me and they never left my side. I felt just like them, I had no idea where I was and did not really know anyone.

Once I acclimated to life on Long Island, I noticed the large amount of cats that run free in parking lots, around dumpsters, sumps, and large groups around commercial businesses. This started me and my husband on a mission to save and try to maintain a quality of life for many feral cats that are just happy to receive food and water so they can live and enjoy life- enjoying life has always been my motto!

Watching the shortened lifespans of these animals has taught me that we as humans must step up and do whatever that is humanly possible to give back some of the gifts that we have received in our life. Currently, there is between 300,000 and 400,000 feral cats that roam Long Island. Many Long Islanders are out on a daily basis maintaining colonies of these cats and kittens, and the mission is to trap, spay or neuter, and return them back to their way of life. Many of these cats do not know the feeling of being pet or cuddled by a human being, so they will react as any wild animal would and become protective when approached to protect their territory.

Once you have rescued for a long time, the cats become used to your presence and will allow you to approach them but, very few will ever allow you to touch them. You never let this disappoint you. I look at it this way, they are living as they want to be. Cats are very smart and will only permit people to get close to them if they allow it. This is the reward that you receive. They show their appreciation in a very special way. Sometimes we are lucky to find kittens that are healthy and are old enough to be handled.

Many of these kittens end up in no kill shelters that rely on private donations from other animal lovers. My advice to anyone looking for a kitten or even an older cat should go to these types of shelters to look for that special “KITTY”. Instead of spending between $200.00 to $800.00 for a pedigree, for $60.00, you can get a kitten that has a chance to live and be loved.

These cats are handled at the shelters by volunteers who work with them to teach them to be touched and cuddled. Many shelters also appreciate it when people will walk in and volunteer to work at the shelter for a day. This is a very good way to become educated on not only how to handle and understand cats, it also will show the amount of courage and struggle these animals are willing to live through, and how closely it resembles to many of us humans do every day.

These has been the type of rewards that my husband Tom and I have enjoyed for over the past 18 years of rescuing. LOVING & CARING in our own special way!

Written by Gail McCaffery

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