Imagine that you lost your job.
And then your marriage.
And then your home.
All you have left are your two 14 year old cats who need special diets.
As much as you desperately want them to be with you, you cannot put them through a blistering hot Texas summer living in a car—which is where you’ll be.
Imagine that you know that most of the shelters in Houston are kill shelters. If they take them in, your cats will be killed in a room where thousands of other animals have been killed. The person doing the killing will likely not be a veterinarian. Often the method used is to stick a needle directly into the animal’s beating heart.
You cannot fathom that outcome for these cats you have loved for 14 years. So you scrape together the money you have and decide to have them both euthanized at your vet. At least it will be humane, quiet and you will be with them. But you make and cancel 6 appointments. The vet tried to find them homes. They advertised Free to Good Home.
Finally, the vet called Friends For Life.
Nene and Kira are with us now at the shelter. Their Dad, who loves them very much, brought them in himself.
We now have the sacred task of caring for them and finding them a new home. In the meantime, they are sad.
Nene is especially so.
From their Dad:
“I agree, Kira is a little charmer. The only two things she has against her are her age and the sinus issues.
As for Nene, knowing him well, I do not think he is mad/angry. I think he is very frightened and confused. While I had him for a 1/4 of my life, he had me for all of his. All he has known in life is living in a house with me. He has never been socialized and always had the run of the house. While I am a grumpy old man, he has become my son and inherited my nature, a grumpy old cat.
One thing I have always done is talk to him (and Kira). All the day and night, when I saw them, I would have calm conversations with them. And he/she talks back.
I know this is the best for them, and I know you guys will treat them with loving care.”
Nene, the tabby in the bed, is a skinny old guy and didn’t want to eat for the first three days here. We tempted him with everything. He doesn’t have a lot of weight to lose so we had to get him to take on calories or the tube feeding needed to begin.
Among the achievements of the week, none outshone the moment when we placed turkey baby food in front of Nene and he ate the whole jar. He was grumbling and we had to peek at him through his curtain over his kennel, but eat he did!
Now we are making baby food restock runs to the store. He gets all he wants!
Over the coming weeks, we will keep you posted on Nene and Kira.
Friends For Life became an island for these cats and the man who loved them. You could almost feel the waves of desperation lapping at them as they scrambled to get to higher ground. Is that an extraordinary thing for a shelter to do? Is it the bar or is it the floor? It’s up to you. What purpose do you want the animal shelters in your community to serve? Because we have the power to choose.
We, as a community, can decide that the old ways of doing things do not bind us and we do not have to give a flip how it was always done.
Let’s challenge all shelters to create a space that is a haven to the most vulnerable among us–human and animal alike. Let’s accept nothing less.