Categories: Readers Forum

A cat rescuer speaks out: “Last night was the final breaking point and I’ve dealt with so many toxic folks”

When I came across this post on the Facebook wall of a good friend, I knew I had to turn her post into an article. Because I see this much too often.

photo courtesy MissionFitLife

This is a VERY long post but in this case it’s necessary. Please take the time and read it to the end.

“I will be taking a much needed break for a week and will not be taking any calls. Last night was the final breaking point and I’ve dealt with so many toxic folks, angry rescuers that I must step away for a few days to refresh myself.

I’m an optimistic person with lots of emotional strength.. I can typically handle huge amounts of stress without being too affected. But I cannot allow myself to be sabotaged or drained by another person or persons on a constant basis…I am working part time and have other responsibilities.

I’m spending days back to back with little sleep. I got to bed at four in the morning and had to have my son at school by 7:30 am. A person can function but for so long like this. Yet some folks continue to zap rescuers like myself of sleep and resources caring very little if we survive ourselves.

While working on a much needed trapping situation in North Carolina, someone pulled me into another situation involving one of the worst high crime areas in North Carolina. A very sick mom had given birth and the babies were barely alive.

This Person was banking on my compassion and although promises were made to help me, this person turned off their phone and went to bed. I walked into a horrible sight of babies laying dying and folks walking up /around my vehicle who were obviously drugged up.

I was still on the phone with the NC folks and fielding a nasty text message from someone who claimed I never helped her with her cat and how pathetic she thought I was. “ I’m sorry I didn’t mean to disappoint you but we are slammed.” In her mind, I was still pathetic for not taking her cat.

I kept trying to reach the Person who had turned their phone off and now it was raining hard. I had to scoop up those babies after being told someone put them in a baby stroller/ took them for a walk to the corner store. Hours old with umbilical cord and they were being slung around like dirty laundry. I looked around the apartment…I asked for a water bottle to be heated and to have it wrapped it in a blanket.

Modified original which is in the public domain

This person who turned their phone off knew I wouldn’t leave them. The babies were cold/ laying in an odd position whimpering in a plastic box. I knew if I didn’t act fast they would all die. I finally found a neonatal bottle feeder way across town. She was an hour away. I was getting really angry.

It was apparent I was on my own. I hate getting upset. I don’t like being mad. The residents told me the mom was staggering sick and had disappeared. That a local resident was putting out antifreeze for all the cats…I was getting blank stares when I asked why would they let this go on?

At 6 o’clock this morning, I get a message from someone who is absolutely worthless in my opinion, telling me one of her cats had an injured foot and I better come prepared to take the animal to the vet. She’s having her coffee. She thinks I work for her.

She sent me pictures of her lovely house and told me she won’t allow any cat inside. She’s older, fixed income, blah blah blah. Told her I could not come due to my schedule that perhaps a volunteer for my rescue could come later. Her response was typical.

Before I allow folks like this to drain me, I have to back off. I care for the cats. It’s important I not let someone run me ragged. By the way, the young baby trapped is on her way to the vet in Cornelius. Great job done by everyone.

The property owners gave a huge donation to cover vetting.. very generous. We talked with them at length about the money rescuers spend and they completely understood. I was shocked and happy.

And at last check, the neonatals were still alive early this morning.. I love my rescue peeps, We are an awesome force in the community and change lives one day at a time. I’m proud to be a part of it even tho it can break your heart and wear you out. Huge thank you to Isabella, Susan, Debbie, Dorie and Bette.

And now, I’m off for a bit. I’ll be back next week… please don’t tag or message me for rescue help. I’ve got my own rescue babies to take care of and money that has to be made. God bless you guys!!!”


Note from Elisa: I’ve taken her words (and she used a LOT of words) and my only editing is to separate the sentences for easier reading and to remove her location so even more people don’t push her to do more than is physically and mentally capable. I’ve categorized this under Reader’s Forum since I’m not the writer.

Please share this article with friends in rescue. I would like to see comments from those in the animal rescue community who are constantly under stress.

Compassion fatigue: Animal rescuers can’t save them all and the stress is taking its toll

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • It is emotionally draining. people will suck the life out of you if you let them. They think you have no life and just exist to rin and help every situation.
    I finally removed myself from most animal pages on Dacebook and have begun to say NO. Changed a voicemail to the number that most people call to direct them to other resources. It basically says call someone else

  • In the word of cat rescue there are the givers (the volunteers like this lady) and the takers (the ones who tend to be irresponsible cat owners). The takers lean on the givers until the givers are run ragged. This is her story. Thanks for this Elisa. Good article.

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