Years ago, I wrote a diary about my cat Sharon being in her last hours.
With the enormous help of the Kos pootie community (and some non-pootie people who were just flat out generous), I got not only the advice I needed for vet treatment, but the donations I had to have to get her to the vet in the first place. She's still with us, more cantakerous than ever (but aging gracefully, and very lovey when the mood strikes her).
That was almost three years ago. Now I have to come back, on behalf of 45 feral cats. Sharon's feral colony still exists (with many of the same cats -- we have 11-year old ferals out there!). We've fed and sheltered them for years with little help from outside (aside from the wonderful Kossack intervention of 2011 and some TNR help from an organization). But we're running on absolute empty and a terrible cold snap is coming. We are ashamed to admit it, but we need to ask for help.
I've put up a fundraiser on GoFundMe that explains our situation. I'll post the link here.
Our feral colony is almost 100% TNR except for a very small number of new additions (jackasses keep dropping them off from their cars in an adjoining parking lot and we absorb them, and some come from another colony nearby). Right now we're at 45. We have a dozen shelters of varying kinds, from neatly built wooden shelters with hay inside to hastily made shelters from styrofoam coolers and blankets/newspaper. Our porch is entirely plastic'd up and has a space heater and blankets -- at least 15 cram themselves on the porch every night.
You probably know that an ice storm is headed to the Southeast. By Wednesday, the weather folks are predicting a foot of snow/ice/sleet and temps plummeting to the single digits. We're scrambling for materials for shelters, emergency food rations for shivering cats who need those calories to keep their body temps up, etc etc etc you name it.
I was laid off in January 2013. My wife was laid off in January 2014. Our "savings" (my former retirement account) are almost entirely depleted, and the part-time job I have is nowhere near enough to keep body and soul together. We honestly aren't sure how much longer we can keep going like this.
We are entirely dedicated to caring for these animals. We have gone without food ourselves to feed them. It's not an option to do otherwise. We took those animals under our protection and we WILL care for them until we are completely unable to do so.
That's why I swallowed my dignity and my pride and posted this fundraiser. That's why I'm posting this diary.
If you choose to make a contribution of any kind, I vow that every damn dime and penny of it will go to taking care of the ferals. No clothing sprees at Goodwill, no grocery sprees at IGA, nothing. Just cat food and shelter materials.
Thank you. If you care to share the link on Facebook or Twitter, I'd be more than grateful. If you choose to donate, I will be humbled. My wife has already wept over the $265 contributed so far. She (she's the carpenter/brains AND brawn of the house) has big plans for a run to Lowe's Home Improvement and the Habitat for Humanity store for shelter materials. Tomorrow will be warm; we'll both be out there, shoring up old shelters and building new ones. We've lost two of the colony to the last freeze. We won't lose any more.
This is the nifty GoFundMe widget. That's Calvin in the chair on the porch (in warmer times). We brought him in over two years ago. I wish we could bring in all 45.
8:33 AM PT: Wow! Huge outpouring of support from this diary (and without being rec'd or rescued, even). Thank you all so very much. We're halfway to our goal. I appreciate everything you do -- and so many of you are involved in your own efforts to help the ferals.
Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:37 PM PT: I doubt anyone is still following this diary, but in case someone is: We have lost two for sure in the freeze. One was a longtime resident, Stripes, and another was a sometime "walk in" from a nearby colony. Neither were in the shelters; both had tried to stay warm by burrowing into bushes. The rest are cold and displeased at the terrible weather, but maintaining.
We reached our goal of $1000, which thrills me no end and made my wife burst into tears. We are considering doing this on a monthly basis, because the need never dwindles.
Thank you to everyone who helped, whether it was to send money, share the post, or just post a word of support.