How one Person Can Make a Difference to a Stray

I am interested and mostly concerned about the subject of animals being left behind in the housing crisis. I agree that unwanted or stray animals, for how ever reason they came to be that way, should be taken to a shelter. I live on a farm in a rural community in Manitoba, Canada. Over the years, we have been on the receiving end of animals dropped off near our place. Usually cats or dogs, and quite possibly 1 fish that I found in the ditch many years ago when I was tadpole hunting. I suppose people assume that a farm would be a good place to drop off Peppy or Spike (yes, past pet names). When I was young, I would do all I could to make a home for them. Unfortunately, we were never allowed to have any sort of pet inside the home. I always provided food and shelter, but winters were difficult. For them, and for me. We never took the animals (my pets) to the vet because it was seen as an unnecessary cost. Now, in my 30's, I have my own income, and I can make decisions on how to spend my savings. Although I only have 1 cat, he is very well cared for, well fed with Royal Canin Urinary SO food, canned and dry, and he is neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and micro-chipped (soon, maybe in the fall, to have his teeth cleaned). In the summer of 2007 when he was having difficulty passing urine, I gave no thought to the vet expense. I would practically pay anything to keep him healthy and happy. Anyways, I am sort of getting side tracked…

The reason that I have only 1 pet is because I am living with an elderly family member, my gramma. She is tolerant of Finney in the house, but she would be very displeased if I brought home a buddy for Finney (as much as I would like to). Last summer, at our farm, we had 2 stray cats that choose us to become their home. All was well for about 4, 5 or 6 months… until the end of October and beginning of November. The temperature was dropping more and more each day. All I could think of was seeing these 2 cats that I adored, named Pumpkin & Shimmer, freezing outside in the frigid Canadian winter.

I provided whatever shelter that I could in an old grainery near the house, with hay bales and Styrofoam and blankets, with protection from the wind. Of course they had food and fresh water daily. But there came a time when I had to make a decision. Although it tore my heart to see them go, I had to do what was right for them. I contacted the Winnipeg Humane Society and asked if they would accept my stray cats to be put up for adoption. They said they had room. (Maybe they felt bad because I was bawling over the phone). So I took Pumpkin first, and then Shimmer a few days later, but by the second week in November, when the first snows and winds were raging, I was happy to think of them in a warm environment, with food and toys and possibly more companions. I also gave the Winnipeg Human society a small donation, which they were delighted to receive, as it helped pay for Shimmer to be spayed (she was only 6 months old – and expecting already!), they both got vaccinations and de-worming. It made me feel good to contribute.

I kept in contact with the shelter, calling weekly for updates on the 2 cats. Fortunately, they were both deemed 'adoptable' because they were generally healthy and had good social skills with people and other cats… and around Christmas time or New Years, they both were successfully adopted! I was so happy about that. Anyways, that's my story about animal shelters. Thanks for listening. Susan

Susan Waytiuk