Sometime on January 22, with the temperature below zero, two declawed long-haired cats were abandoned on Route 104-A.
They were found and taken into the Humane Society foster care, but if that had not happened they could not have survived.
One was so badly matted she had to be taken to a groomer to be shaved down. Yet they had been someone’s pet once – they were not only declawed, they had been spayed.
On January 28, with the temperature again below zero, a 9-month-old cat was found by two Hannibal teenagers when she was trying to find shelter in their garage.
She had almost no fur on her body, the result of a severe flea infestation and resulting skin infection.
She too would have frozen to death had she not been found and given immediate medical attention.
These stories are not uncommon to the Humane Society. But, this year we have seen a disturbing increase in the number of older cats that were obviously once someone’s pet being abandoned and essentially left to die.
This article, though, is not about the people who abandon their pets.
It’s about the people who save them by providing foster care for them until we can find them new, safe homes.
In 2013 the Humane Society rescued and adopted out 332 cats.
These numbers are down slightly compared to the year before and we were pleased.
We felt the Humane Society’s spay/neuter clinic was finally having an impact on the problem of abandoned pets in our county.
By the end of 2013 we had spayed/neutered 676 cats and 67% of those cats were from low-income families.
So we were hoping to start seeing a decrease in the number of cats needing rescue each year, and, in fact, there have been fewer litters of young kittens coming into foster care.
The problem now is this.
These older cats, unlike cute fluffy kittens, typically stay in foster care for much longer until we find them homes.
They may have health problems, they may have been traumatized by their time in the wild; but mostly they are just not cute and fluffy.
This reality is starting to put a strain on our foster families.
If you look at our website, we have 46 cats listed for adoption and only one is a young kitten.
Our foster homes are almost always full with these older cats that are harder to find homes for, not impossible, just harder.
We know if this continues we will not be able to rescue all those cats out there in the cold.
Can you help?
Would you be willing to foster a cat or two?
We are not asking for a long-term commitment, just your help us get through the rest of the winter.
We provide the vet care, food and equipment if you need it.
You provide a home and a second chance. Please consider it.
You will be amazed when you discover what a beautiful experience it is to save a life.
Go to our website at www.oswegohumane.org to read more about the fostering program and for an application to fill out.
If you have questions about fostering, please call Barb @ 343-2959.