Friday, October 9, 2009

Cat City

I don't normally get too serious on this blog but I sat down tonight to watch a bit of what I thought would be mindless TV and instead, came across a documentary on the Global station called "Currents" that was called "Cat City." This program highlighted the efforts of various groups and individuals who spend time looking after stray and feral cats in the Greater Toronto Area. You can watch the trailer here:

As a cat lover and one who has been lucky enough to share her life with four very special felines so far - Butterscotch, Murphy, Carly and Max, all of whom were rescued cats - it was hard to watch this show at times and very moving at other times. To see the care and effort these people dedicate to these otherwise abandoned animals was truly inspiring.

One organization is called Toronto Cat Rescue. They help to feed feral cat colonies around the city and are involved in catch, spay/neuter and release programs. The idea is that if you can stop the cats from reproducing (they can start having litters as young as 5 months old), eventually you will diminish and possibly eliminate the stray cat population and we won't need animal shelters any more. I think that might be a bit optimistic, given there will probably always be humans who abuse and/or abandon animals, but it's still an admirable goal to work toward.

Another shelter, the Second Chance Sanctuary, was looking after 300 cats when the woman who founded and ran the operation passed away at 80 years old. She was interviewed before her death and expressed her concern about what would happen to the animals once she was gone. It was sad to watch these segments and learn that she had in fact died during the film of the show (which covered a span of about a year) but even sadder when one of the workers at her sanctuary described how someone had seen a car pull in to their driveway, open the door and dump out two cats, close the door and drive away. One of those cats was just skin and bones,indicating a long period of neglect and starvation, and needed to be euthanized a few days later. How lucky for that cat that they spent their last days being well provided for and cuddled by these caring people.

Another man personally feeds what appears to be at least 20 cats down in the Scarboro Bluffs area. He goes every morning and feeds them, and has arranged for all of them to be spayed or neutered - all except one, whom he hasn't been able to catch yet! It was funny to see him with a large fishing net trying to scoop up this one cat, who kept getting away. It was touching to see how all the cats come running towards him when he arrives every morning, they obviously know him as a friend and provider.

This show just happened to be about cats. The same could be said for dogs, whales, birds, elephants, abused children, homeless men and women, you name it. Whether or not you feel compelled to help, as I did tonight, I wanted to share this with you. It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and if you've got a warm place to sleep tonight out of the rain and food to eat and clean water to drink, you've got a lot more to be thankful for than some of these animals I watched tonight do. There are also other human beings living as rough as or worse than these feral cats, who probably won't be sitting down to a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings any time soon. All the more reason to give some thought and support to those less fortunate, if you are able, is all I'm saying.

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