Hey everyone, Erika here. As many of you know, I do most of the blogging while Tom’s taking photos. I usually try to find something positive to write after visiting the shelter, but today I just can’t. Today was hard, and I’m sad. It’s as simple as that.
Anyone who works with animal rescues is no stranger to sadness and heartbreak. I often find myself moved to tears by certain cats or dogs we see. Today was no exception.
It was quiet at the shelter. There were only about half as many cats as we normally see. I’m not sure yet if all those empty cages are a good thing or not.
We encountered several senior cats (all over 8 years old) marked as owner surrender or OTC. Not strays, but abandoned. Abandoned by their people when they needed them the most.
We never know a cat’s back story; never know what their lives have been like prior to landing in the shelter. But when I opened the cage for Miss Kitty K (WC61), I got a pretty good idea. Sad, lonely and neglected. At 9 years old, she’s all of 5 pounds and sitting alone in her cage covered in filth, fleas and matted fur.
I carefully picked her up (she felt like skin and bones) and we proceeded to try to brush out the tangles for the next half hour. She really needed a bath, but all I could do was carefully wipe her down with cat bath wipes and brush her as gently as possible. The whole time, she just sat there, quietly accepting it. She seemed so resigned to her status in life, and my heart broke at that moment.
I couldn’t help but think about our oldest cat. He’s 8, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. It’s at that point, I’m not ashamed to say, that I started crying. Actually, blubbering would be a better descriptor, complete with blowing my nose and blotting my red-rimmed eyes with scratchy industrial paper towels under harsh fluorescent lighting.
We worked with a bunch of beautiful, loving cats today, and all of their pictures are here. Normally I would write about each one of them, and maybe I can do so on another day, but today, I can only share Miss Kitty K’s story. It’s all I have in me.
People have always told me I’m too sensitive; that I need to grow thicker skin. But I value my compassion above almost all else because I think these animals need someone to care enough about them to cry. All I can do is hope that the pictures we take will reach someone who cares enough, too.
As always, if you’d like to meet any of the cats in person, head down to Orange County Animal Services.