Check out my new post for the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s official website:
When a two-year-old cat named Tookie was surrendered to our shelter in October, his whole life changed. Although that’s really true of any animal that is brought to a shelter, but in Tookie’s case it was a bit different. He was surrendered by his owner (due to moving) and because of this was separated from his best friend in the whole world—a pitbull. According to his former owner, the two animals slept together every night. Tookie loved his pitbull friend, but the girl’s mother would only take her dog; she was allergic to cats.
When Tookie arrived, he had that look on his face that shelter animals sometimes have. It’s the “don’t even look at me because I’m not even here” look. He huddled himself in the corner of the cage and melted our hearts. Slowly, day by day, he started to open up: by leaning slightly into head pets, by giving his little “Tookie cry”—a soulful, squeaky chirp. Then he started to have a major problem.
At 6 a.m. I tumbled out of bed, fed the alcohol cats breakfast, pulled on some clothes, and left my apartment. In the blue winter light of Boston I walked, through the Public Garden, down Arlington Street, to the animal shelter. We covered the floor of the vet clinic in sheets of plastic and gathered all of the supplies that were carefully boxed and labeled from the previous clinic. At 8 a.m. the trappers arrived. We tagged each cage with a number and surgery card, surveyed the cats to make sure they were not sick or injured, and lined them up in the heated garage.
One by one, each cat was brought into the welcome area of the vet clinic where they were sedated, weighed, and given Genteel (a Vaseline-like gel that protects and moistens their eyes). Most cats, let alone feral ones, aren’t super happy about getting poked with a needle, but Deb was swift and a couple cats jumped back, completely unaware that they were about to be given an injection. For the more difficult ones, a pitch-fork–like instrument kept the cat to one corner of the trap, making it easier to get at them. Continue reading “Fixing Ferals”