SOUTH EUCLID, OHIO – Among the unsung heroes of the animal rescue world are those who lovingly and unconditionally care for animals you’ve probably never seen; namely, feral cats. While we typically think of these semi-wild felines as wanting little if anything to do with humans, ferals need our help to survive, and the lucky ones come to rely upon, and often bond with, the person or people who make sure they have food, water and a secure shelter.
So, what happens when that person moves away—or passes on?
That’s precisely what’s occurred in South Euclid, Ohio, and unless someone steps up and takes over for the remarkable 101-year-old woman who lovingly cared for neighborhood ferals for decades, the future of the animals to whom she was so devoted will be in certain jeopardy.
Feral populations are a product of the failure of the people to spay and neuter. People abandon unaltered cats or simply let them roam—and breed and breed again. Before long, generation after generation of cats are living on the street, becoming increasingly wary of and untouchable by humans. These cats often band together in “colonies” in an attempt to survive. The unlucky ones succumb to the elements such as starvation, human cruelty and an array of other dangers. But if a feral colony is “adopted” by a human, generations of suffering can surely be prevented.
The first priority is to prevent the breeding. To this end, cats are captured in humane traps for spaying and neutering, after which they are released back into their colonies to resume their lives healthier and no longer able to contribute to the cat over-population issue. The time at the vet clinic also provides a window of opportunity during which injuries and illnesses can be treated adequately.
How can you help?
What’s needed is someone with a backyard, farm or other property where the colony’s three remaining cats can be moved to. That person would then simply make sure the cats have food and water each day, and some type of shelter and protection from the elements. Donations and other forms of assistance are available, to the willing person(s.)
True heroes aren’t concerned about accolades; they do extraordinary things when no one is looking.
Just weeks before she died, and barely able to walk, the woman who cared so lovingly for these cats would make her way to the back door each and every day to feed them. The cats came running—not just to be fed but also to see the only human friend.
And even if you aren’t in Ohio, please share this post to increase the chances of these cats finding a new, loving caregiver.
Photo credit: Alley Cat Allies
To learn more or offer your help, contact South Euclid Humane Society at 216-291-8773 or cityofsoutheuclid.com/humane-society or go to alleycat.org for more feral information.