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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I had a tragic thing happen many years ago that I wanted to share about taking in a stray. We had just moved stateside from overseas and at the time we had 3 indoor cats. Out of the blue one freezing cold winter day this gorgeous orange tabby with the most gorgeous fluffy tail showed up in our yard. Strays are unusual around here. She was SO friendly, skinny and absolutely starving. I gave her food, water and showed her how to access a built in doggie door to a workroom so she could get out of the elements. She was smart, loving and just wanted to be with me. She would walk all around the house until she saw me in a window then meow and meow to come in! I had convinced myself that since I already had 3 cats I just could not have another one, besides my cats went ballistic when they saw her outside. After a few days of searching for an owner I gave her to a friend at work. I will never forget the look on that cat's face when I picked her up and put her in the carrier. She looked at me as if I had betrayed her. Her eyes seemed to say "I thought you loved me?" =..( :oops:

She did not get along with the resident cat so we agreed that the local shelter might be better for her. Little did I know what would happen. We called every day to see if she had been adopted or claimed, then suddenly after a little over a week we were told she had been euthanized because she was a stray. I know it sounds ignorant of me, but I was fairly new to cat ownership and had no clue that it would happen to adoptable cats. :fust

Almost 20 years later I am still haunted by that look and I feel so guilty I cry over it. I feel so guilty that I didn't do more for this beautiful creature that found her way to our door and thought she had found safety.

If you find yourself chosen by a stray, consider keeping it. If you absolutely cannot keep it then look for a no kill shelter. I just wanted to share this experience that still bothers me. I now have 6 old babies and have dedicated myself to fund raising for a local shelter and taking in old throw-aways. The old cats are mostly unadoptable, and will certainly be euthanized after the feral cats (everyone wants a kitten) once a shelter runs out of room, but these old timers have so much love to give.
 

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Wow that story choked me up.

There are things that happened with me and I wished I had stopped and done something. They hang with you for a life time. I now know to do it differently. You gave great advice.
 

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That is terribly sad.

We all have to learn things we wish did not. Hopefully, your story will educate someone else. I tell everyone these days - if all you can afford to do is provide food, water, and a place out of rain/wind - do it! It is far better than the alternatives.
 

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I was also naive when I had my first cat. Many, many years ago, I also had a stray brought to the local pound, not knowing that they euthanized dogs and cats that hadn't been claimed in a certain amount of time. I was horrified when I found out. I've been feeding a stray for the past 2 1/2 years, and I've thought about trying to get him adopted. Both the city pound and the local SPCA are no-kill, but I think someone here posted that sometimes no-kill shelters just give unadoptable animals to other shelters that aren't no-kill. So the stray is still hanging out on my deck, inside the cedar house that I bought for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is so sad. Don't blame yourself, it's those nasty people who euthanized her, you were ever so kind to even care for her.
Well, thanks. I really don't live with daily guilt, just the occasional regret of what happened to such a beautiful animal. Put a glass or two of wine in me and the tears flow when I think of her. I just could not believe that they could do such a thing to such a friendly sweet cat. I learned my lesson. One regret is I didn't even take a picture - but I will never forget her.
 

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We make the best decisions we can at the time, and you
tried to do what you felt was best for her. No fault to you.
You kept her from a slow death of starving, the pain of a
car crushing her, or a predator catching her. And she knew
love. Beyond that, the world is pretty much beyond our
control.

I had a cat dumped on me. I agreed to keep her and her
kittens while this woman went out of town for the week.
She never came back, of course, just left a message where
I worked telling me to take them to the pound. I placed
the kittens, but couldn't place mom and at the time could
not afford to have her fixed. So, off to the "humane"
society we went. She was a lovely, affectionate Persian
cross, and I was sure she'd have no trouble finding a home.
However, the next day they discovered a virus of some sort
in their cat house and euthanized everyone.

To make it worse, there was a tiny little old lady in the lobby,
waiting with another older woman. She turned out to be the
head of an organization that got older cats for local seniors
at a discount. She lit into me, telling me how horrible I was
to turn that cat over to them. I said that I'd give her the
cat, but she had waited to launch her attack until after I
had signed the papers, and the pound refused to give the
cat back. I left in tears. I learned the lesson that you
did that day -- don't go to the pound for help.
 

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Reading everyones experiences reinforce my view that the general public believes shelters and animal control do not kill animals and are ignorant of 4.5 million cats & dogs that never make it out of shelters but are going to the gas chambers every year. They wouldnt donate to those organizations if they were aware of the true facts. Ive had hundreds of conversations with people about this subject. They are stunned to find out.

I started to play the Utube for my SO of Fiona that Ive posted in the lounge. He kept looking away and wanting me to turn it off. He was visibly upset. ( he is a mans man. Youd never want to mess with him but he has a marshmellow heart) I kept saying but it has a happy ending, really it has a happy ending. When the video was over he told me it breaks his heart knowing there are dogs and cats out there in that condition. He wants to not know. But he understands why I do what I do in rescue.

This is what I know for sure. Im sure there are millions in this country that are proactive and willing to take on a stray or adopt from a shelter. They just need good information and moral support while attempting to do it. That is one reason I like Cat Forum because so many compassionate, knowledgeable, kindred spirits post here.
 

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I had the same reaction from my husband. He would not watch it because it is sad, even though I told him it had a very a happy ending. He cannot understand why I sit and watch Animal Cops Detroit (or Houston, Phoenix, etc.) and cry like a baby! He thinks it is self torture. Maybe it is.
Now that our foster kitty is back home where she belongs, I am looking for another life to save. I will look for an old cat that needs me.
 

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The only reason that my family has cats is because of strays picking us.

Oreo, my parent's cat, came to us when he was about 10months old. He showed up already neutered, declawed, and hungry. (No, none of our other cats have been declawed, it's cruel.) He's been a wonderful and loving cat.

Special, my brother's cat, ran out from behind a dumpster while my brother was skateboarding in town. At about 5 weeks old she claimed him and now at nearly a year old he is the love of her life. Anytime my brother comes home Special will run straight to him and follow him to his room and meow until he pays her attention.

Maxx, my cat, showed up earlier this month. I opened the garage door to let Oreo outside and Maxx ran in. Maxx was about 12 weeks old. So far he's been the sweetest cat I ever met.

Our family believes almost to the point of superstition that if a cat picks you, you have found a friend for life.
 

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Wow, your story made me cry. You did everything that you knew to do. You can't keep beating yourself up about it. I can see that kitty holds a special place in your heart :)

Maxx, your family is amazing to think like that. It is very rare to find people like you.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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I agree, we all have cat-stories that haunt us. I understand the pain, because I live with it too. A stray I wasn't able to administer antibiotics to for URI and vanished. A kitten that I didn't take in during a horrible storm, I can still hear the desperate cries, going up to all the strays looking for a mommy and being attacked by them. Vanished too.

Then there are the success stories - a feral I took to euthanize a year ago (gums disease), my heart shattered seeing her so defenseless on that cold vet table, then the vet wasn't in and a new, inexperienced vet girl didn't want to euthanize so I took the stray back, learned through trial and error how to keep her alive, and this has been the best year of her whole life because she'd never been pampered like this (she's a cat that lives in and around our building). The building management have said a thousand times that it's forbidden to sleep inside the building on cold, stormy nights in winter, but she pretends not to understand, and she has a bedroom on a floor no one goes to, where I added a huge pillow and my old clothes for her to sleep curled in. She can only eat soft food, so she gets yummy meats every day instead of kibble like the rest. During the day she sunbathes on the low roofs. A lot more than she had for the first 8 years of her life.

Where I am there are no no-kill shelters. So we take in as many cats as we can and care for those that remain in the streets. There are no predators here, though, and the winters are extremely mild.

The thing is that, depending on the neighborhood, the strays get fed or not. I live in a rich neighborhood where we compete with and boast to each other about how many strays choose to come to OUR feeding station. So I'd never send a stray to any institution, and I even discourage people from adopting one of my strays unless I think they'll be good to the pet. My strays are better off in the streets (which is actually leafy, bushy gardens surrounding the buildings) than most anywhere else.

Even if there were no-kill shelters, they'd be better off here downstairs. I don't see why a cat has to live in a cage or sharing love and attention with tens of other cats.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I live in a rich neighborhood where we compete with and boast to each other about how many strays choose to come to OUR feeding station.
You have an amazing neighborhood! I am totally impressed. I would like to know where in the Middle East this is. Do you have a TNR (trap, neuter, release) program there? Are cats generally considered house pets or outdoor pets where you live? I lived in Sicily and the prevalence of strays was mind boggling.

Thanks for sharing your story.
 

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I know the situation in Sicily, and it's the same here in Tel Aviv. The amount of stray cats is enormeous and there's no help from anywhere. We're lucky in my city to have free of charge TNR from the town hall, but no vaccines. What's worst in these countries is that house cats are not treated a lot better than strays. The culture is the problem. Things change slowly.
 

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No, nothing special as long as the vet has given him a clean bill of health. Depending on age, he may have a bad habit or two, but all that is fixable with a bit of patience.
 

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Funny! Yep strays are like a box of chocolates - you never know what your gonna get! We've had Lacey (3 years old) for two weeks and she was a stray. Normally a real snuggle bug, she will tend to growl and nip if you do something she does not like, like try and move her if she is sleeping on your lap. Got nipped this AM, but it was nothing except a warning and I think I can break her of that. Looking at it as moore of a bad habit and not a personality quirk. I have a friend that had a cat that did this and she will let you do anything to her now. Maybe it's just being a bit new here.
 
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