Helping Our Fire Cats
By Audra Murphy
Hello soapbox my old friend….
Despite my previous rant which I was fairly certain relayed my feelings on the people eager to adopt “Fire Cats,” I am continually bombarded with requests to adopt these cats – some complete with temper tantrums when the word “no” was used. Believe it or not, a couple people even messaged me to ask the status of the kitten in the photo that was attached to the rant. It would be funny if it wasn’t so heartbreaking.
On one hand, I want to pretend I get it. Sure, they need help…a home…their lives back on track. However, what I don’t get is the blatant disregard for the owners out there still desperately searching for their babies. Imagine for a moment, the only thing you had left on Earth went missing only to find out it was adopted out from under you before you even knew it was found.
Even though thousands of cats just appeared in the shelters on November 9th, we are still actively searching for cats and trapping them EVERYDAY. Owners haven’t had a chance to see every single found cat. We owe it to them to take the time and allow them to locate their loved ones. Adoption isn’t the answer right now.
It has become increasingly clear that there are two kinds of people who want to help these “Fire Cats”. There are dedicated people who will make sacrifices to do what is needed and what they can to truly help them and there are trophy hunters. If you are a trophy hunter searching for a prize to own or a badge of honor to say you have a “Fire Cat,” move on, stop calling, messaging, and/or harassing those of us who are actually helping.
If you truly want to help a fire cat, put adoption in the back of your mind, and follow these steps:
Volunteer: We need people at the shelter every day and in every capacity: cat care, customer service, laundry, etc. Give of yourself. It’s an amazing feeling to help these animals with no tangible reward other than a head butt or a nuzzle. We also need people online trying to locate the owners of the cats in our care. Choose a few cats as your project and do what it takes to find their owners.
Foster: No one wants these babies to remain in kennels for months. Opening up your home to foster one (or two…) can make all the difference. It not only helps establish some normalcy for these kitties but it helps open up space at the shelter. I’ll even spill a not so secret secret: when fostered cats come up for adoption, the fosterer is in a great position to adopt that cat in their care.
Donate: Caring for these cats isn’t cheap. These guys need dry food, litter, medicine, vet care, and equipment. On top of that there are bills to pay for power, water, and rent which means every penny counts. There are plenty of ways to raise money without it all coming out of your pocket: Have a fundraiser at your office or school, host a recycling drive, hold a bake sale – even Facebook fundraisers can raise money which leads me to my last piece…
Share: Be obnoxious; spam your wall with found cats. Help us to reach the owners who think their cat perished. Help get the cats seen by the people missing them. Share our posts and fundraisers. Share our volunteer signup link. Share every time a new cat is brought in. Share the hell out of the information that will get these cats back to the loving arms of their families.
If you have done some or all of the things that I just mentioned, then you have earned the right to adopt. Just don’t ask me about it because you will get a lecture and not a cat.