One longtime feline rescuer, whose rescued cats are vetted and socialized prior to their adoption into screened forever homes, said she'd had "three calls in the last two days about an injured stray cat."
She lamented the fact that too often adorable kittens are adopted and then as they grow up the interest in them wanes. They are left to wander, often with dire consequences that frequently injure or kill them.
She also noted that caution is advised when dealing with an injured kitty because the cat may react with clawing and hissing due to severe pain.
"The cat must be restrained in order for an immediate safe ride with you to a veterinary hospital. If you cannot achieve all this and if a respected feline rescuer cannot provide quick help, then call the Cleveland Animal Shelter at 479-2122 and give the location of the cat so an animal control officer can take the cat to the local municipal shelter at 360 Hill St. This is what I had to do in this case," she said, "because my foster care was full. It is always better, in my opinion, to see a suffering animal put down than to let suffering continue if you cannot quickly come to its aid," she emphasized.
Another caller reported the plight of a diabetic cat whose owner had been hospitalized.
This was the second such call in the past few weeks. The first one involved Heidi, the diabetic cat in Indiana, whose well-being was secured by a family member of her owner in Tennessee and an Indiana feline rescuer.
In this new case the diabetic kitty was at a local veterinary hospital where she was being held until further arrangements could hopefully be made to save her life.
No help was immediately available for this kitty. Again, we are reminded of how vital it is to have a life-saving plan for our pets in the event we become incapacitated.
Unfortunately, too many calls come with this sad scenario repeated over and over. Innocent animals bear the brunt of failure to act ahead of time.
Two recent calls centered on sweet dogs in need. In one case a family was reported keeping "three very sweet, lovely big dogs in their fenced backyard. They are just left outdoors with no attention except to set out food and water. But one dog is really in terrible need. For some reason they tie him on a stake in the middle of their yard. He has no doghouse.
“He cries at night and it is terrible to hear. I know how cold he must be," said the caring caller.
I told her to call Animal Control with the exact address of the home where these dogs are because, weak as our state laws are, they do require that a pet must have shelter, water and food.
She said she would gladly adopt this dog that is suffering so in the middle of this nearby yard, tied up and with no shelter or attention. We can only hope and pray this can happen after Animal Control is made aware of the awful situation.
In another canine case the caller said a sweet pit bull's owner had died. Family members who lived next door to the deceased owner's home just "chained up her dog and they totally ignore him. Occasionally they give him food and water but these days, most of the time his water is frozen over.
“So we — the neighbors — take him food and watch to see that he has clean water. He has a doghouse but nothing else. It is pitiful," said the caring caller.
I told her to call Animal Control immediately for help for this poor dog. She said she would.
I also told her the names of callers who report such animals in need are never disclosed by Animal Control. We need to pass on this message since too often callers reporting animals in despair are afraid their names will be revealed. They will not.
It is also important beyond measure to not adopt a pet on a whim and to be able to financially afford a four-legged family member since the cost of veterinary care for a pet is now said to range around $600 per year and perhaps more if injuries or severe illnesses occur. Rescuers are also reminded how vital it is to screen potential adopters to ensure a good, long life will be given.
Quality of life — not numbers — must be the objective to prevent emotional and physical suffering of innocent pets.
Paws up this week to: Richard and Kathy Erwin; Angela Coffman; The Lace Emporium; Jerry Walker; Clara Ruth Campbell; the Cleveland Civitan Club; Veronica Fox; and all who rescued an innocent pet with the assurance of providing a long, wonderful life.
To reach the Cleveland Animal Shelter, call 479-2122.
Call me with your pet and wildlife stories at 728-5414 or write to: P.O. Box 4864, Cleveland TN 37320.