I'm full up with cats, y'all. I can't handle any more. And that's saying a lot.
In the 12 months since our last Dog Days of Summer issue, I've officially become the crazy cat lady. I now care for ... (if you have to count, it's not a good sign) ... 13 cats. A baker's dozen.
In addition to my two indoor cats, I now feed about 10 outdoor cats in a feral colony. It was a more tolerable number until after the spring breeding season, when the gray lady arrived with her four young kittens. Working with Independent Animal Rescue and New Hope Animal Hospital, another volunteer and I have trapped, neutered and returned (TNR'd) five cats, and cared for one who was so sick and old that it was best to euthanize. (For a great article on the benefits of TNR versus euthanization for stray and feral cats, see the Chicago Tribune's "Curbing feral cat populations without killing.")
Then in July, I began fostering an abandoned (i.e. once owned) cat in my neighborhood. She was always kept outside, she wasn't being fed, and she was pregnant with her second litter of the year—at a mere 18-months-old herself. I couldn't fathom having even more homeless cats (i.e. kittens), which meant rescuing the abandoned cat and having her spayed (and tested, and vaccinated, and dewormed, just in case). Since she was once owned and is highly adoptable, I'm fostering her in my apartment until a permanent home can be found.
I'm not the only person at the Indy inundated with cats right now. Grayson Currin, our music editor, just rescued a stray he found outside our office (read his Front Porch about it), and Lisa Sorg, our editor, just had a mama stray bring four kittens to her doorstep.
There are a lot of these animals out there, which is why the wise Bob Barker always reminded us to spay and neuter our pets. Here's a list of local spay-neuter programs. As in last year's Dog Days issue, four local animal rescue groups highlight their "least adoptable" pets. These companion animals are ready for a loving home, but for various reasons they haven't been adopted yet. We could only fit six readers' stories—your pet tales—in print this year, but all of the stories we received are here online.
In pet-related news, read how local attorneys, aided by North Carolina law, are fighting for the welfare of animals. Finally, follow our continuing coverage of the troubled Piedmont Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which closed its clinic last month.