Crazy Cat Lady. The phrase conjures up images of women (usually old) wearing baggy sweaters, funky skirts, tennis shoes with mismatched knee socks, and a disgruntled look that could curdle milk. And of course, cats. Lots and lots of cats.
I don’t know if my colleagues in CC4C would consider themselves Crazy Cat Ladies, but we are all 100% committed to taking cats out of bad situations and putting them into good ones. One of the ways we place our cats is by asking questions of the people who visit our adoption sites. Lots and lots of questions. Of course we have desired answers in mind, but really we just want some assurance that the kitty you are interested in will be cared for and loved for the rest of its life. We work hard to take them off the streets and rescue them from places with no food, no shelter, no warmth and no love. We crawl into storm drains swimming with spiders. We go under houses baited with rat traps. We get up early and stay up past midnight listening to hear if the trap has been sprung on a starving kitten. We scruff scrawny kittens, rassle with ferals, get pooped on, bitten, and clawed, and more than one of us has needed stitches or antibiotics to make sure the damage a cat does isn’t going to kill us.
Who knows? Maybe we are Crazy Cat Ladies. We’ve heard worse names too. We know we make some people angry and we feel bad about that, but we’re in it for the cats. We are compelled to look out for them, and we only want the best for the cats we’ve gone to great lengths (and expense) to rescue.
One such cat was Marmalade. It was July of 2010 when someone called our hotline to report a cat in a field out somewhere out in Antioch or Brentwood. The cat was assumed to be pregnant and the caller wanted us to come out and catch her. By the time we got there, the cat had been snatched up and taken to the Martinez Animal Shelter. We followed her to the shelter (something we don’t normally do) and learned she had given birth to 8 babies. Unfortunately, while we were waiting to get Marmalade out (there’s a process for such things), one of the babies died. But we got her out, and Marmalade and her 7 kids were delivered to a foster home. However, the foster was not as attuned to the needs of a mama cat and her babies, and another one of the infants got sick and died before we could effectively intervene. So, Marmalade and her six kittens were placed with me. Time passed, the kittens got older, Marmalade (who was totally tame, by the way and a sweetheart of a cat) and her brood came and went to adoptions, and they were eventually adopted. It took 9 months but they all found good homes.
The woman came in with her daughter. She held a respectable profession, the child was well behaved, and the woman presented herself as thoroughly committed to providing for the needs of a young adult cat that had weathered a few rough spots in its life. The woman spent at least an hour loving the cat, petting her, talking with me, and I was sold! What a perfect home for Marmalade! I checked in with the family the next night and was told, happily, that Marmalade had settled in to her new home, slept on the bed that night, and was perfectly content. “We adore her”, the new mom wrote to me the next day. Those words still sing in my head. Marmalade was in a good home, right?
Wrong. Sadly, sadly, wrong. Recently CC4C learned that the supposed adoration they had for Marmalade wore off. The information we received was that the owner departed for a week’s vacation and only left a bowl of water and a bowl of dry food on the porch. When the cat did not return, she assumed the cat “wanted to live someplace else” and was not all that concerned. We also learned that my beautiful Marmalade was hit by a car and is now dead after who knows what kind of lack of care.
There are two sides to every story, so perhaps some of what was shared with us was inaccurate or embellished. The one fact is that a 2 to 3 year old cat who should’ve been living inside was actually living outside, was hit by a car, and is now dead.
So, if you think we’re crazy cat ladies, if you think that we are rude, hostile, overly-protective, or not interested in adopting out the cat you want, think of Marmalade. After three separate rescues—field, shelter, poor foster home—Marmalade, who seemed destined to live, has died.
Maybe we’re not that crazy after all.
See the attached video link view Marmalade, may she rest in a warmer, more caring place in peace.