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August 17, 2012

Last night Faith stood on her back legs and peeked into the kitchen through the storm door. The first time she has been that brave in almost a year, maybe due to the fact that salmon was on the menu for last evening’s meal. Faith is a beautiful gray and white feral cat that appeared below our backyard birdfeeders, starving, scrounging for millet and killing birds. Wild-eyed and scared with bones showing through her scanty fur.

I made a deal with her, if she’d stop killing my birds, I’d start feeding her and that’s been a pretty good agreement so far. Every once in a while, she’ll run after a bird and jump and miss her mark due to the fact that she has fattened up and can no longer jump as high. After feeding her for a short while, we knew that was not the complete answer. We had to do something to help stop the overwhelming number of cats brought into this world to starve and live a hard life. Cats are not meant to be domestic, we took their wildness away a long time ago and now it is our job to be responsible for them.

As stressful as it was, we trapped Faith with the instructions from the Feral Cat Assistance program, using one of their humane-approved traps. We took her to the local Spay and Neuter clinic and had her spayed and given a rabies shot. For a cat that looks so lovely, once she was in the cage, she became a fighting, hissing, scratching creature that would surely rip you a new one if she could. It was a hard thing to do, but the right thing to do. She hangs out with us and we feed her and watch over her, knowing that is as close as she will ever come to us. While she lays in the back yard and stretches and rolls in the grass frolicking with the gumballs, we know she is still unapproachable, her trust in us has grown, but it stops within four feet of her.

Her babies come now, Baby Faith, Hope and Freckles all starved and searching for one more bite of food to get them through the day. Today, I am working to gather my courage to bring out the trap again so that they do not produce the 60,000 some cats that can be born every month due to this overpopulation problem. A problem that we humans started.

How can anyone abandon an animal and expect it to take care of itself? They must have a place deep inside that feels that animal’s suffering, although it is probably felt as their own.

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