Shaming people does not help. It forces them into seclusion and takes the kitties there with them
Posted December 30, 2018 by Rae Bitner
Introduction by Elisa: I found this story as I was checking the various groups and thought it was one that needed to be told. This is as it should be. Helping people, one case at a time.
I Just want to put this out there… About a month ago I had a Hispanic lady approach me as I fed one of the colonies I care for. I could not understand what she was saying except for… SICK KITTIES.
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She took me by the hand to lead me away. We got to a small cottage. As we approached the door, I could smell pee and infection. We walked in and I was dumbfounded. My first instinct was too yell and scream. But I did not. There were cats everywhere. They all had URI and other ailments.
The woman was crying. I grabbed my phone and called a friend that spoke Spanish. She came quickly with traps and carriers. This kind, yet uninformed woman, had been feeding ferals for years. She would gain their trust and bring them inside. Her heart was huge… But she got overwhelmed.
Not knowing what to do… She RELUCTANTLY reached out for help. I could have yelled and shamed her. I could have called the cops or AC. Instead, I called out for help. I called my friend. I called my personal vet, who happened to be closed. He opened his doors to help. We gathered up over 20 cats and got them help.
Then we started to help her clean her house. We brought her food…extra litter and litter boxes. She let us take the cats for adoption. But wanted to keep the three original kitties. After we cleaned the bulk of the house… We got a cleaning service to come in…at no charge…to finish the cleanup.
Most of this time, the little old lady hung her head in shame. My friend translated my words to her… “Thank you for reaching out to get help for the kitties you love so much. It is easy to get overwhelmed. We are here to help. Not shame. Here is my card. Please call me anytime you need help. I will keep you posted on the progress of your babies. Don’t cry. You did the right thing.”
She tried to give me a jar full of change for the vet care. That made me cry. My vet treated all of those cats. When they were able to be fixed, he did that too. He waved ALL FEES except the costs of the medications. He donated several thousand dollars worth of care to someone’s cats he never met. Now, I feel that by handling this situation the way we did, this woman has learned a far stronger message than if I would have shamed her or got the law involved.
Love. Caring. Assistance and some understanding has left a much larger impact in her life. Just saying~~~ Kindness goes a lot further and will always have a bigger impact. If we approach others with an open heart we can make a bigger impact. This woman is much better now. In exchange for food and litter for her cats, she watches the alley for newcomers for me.
Please be kind when people reach out for help. Bite your tongue if you have to. After all….We are here for the kitties, RIGHT?
This can and does happen all the time. First, we help one kitty… then another and another. Then we have babies. With barely enough money to feed them. They go unfixed. It gets overwhelming. And to the point of being to embarrassed to reach out for help.
I thank God she reached out and that I was able to help her in a meaningful way. God is good. He leads us to where we need to be. Shaming people does not help. It forces them into seclusion and takes the kitties there with them. We have to help pull them out of that seclusion. Not shove them deeper into it.
People who deliberately foist invasive disease vectors on their communties are essentially bioterrorists. They don’t deserve encouragement. They should be dragged off as menaces to public health and institutionalized.
I do believe there are many of us like this lady you helped. I myself have about 20 cats that i care for. Of course I understand i should never have started feeding them as they me to my home and yes i became overwhelmed with kittens, TNR etc. I try my best.( i know you have heard that before) i am now waiting for a group that will trap for me and return the cats back to me. They are going to trap 2 at a time. Some i had spayed on my own. These cats are outdoors. I provide food and shelter for them and medication if it is needed and if they allow me to help them. I am 81 years old. The cost for food is amazing but it is something i started and will continue……. so yes, as I have read this there are many of us. Many will not come forward for fear of the town shelters coming and giving us summons. I have had these threats too but fortunate that a group here allows me to use their name in case of a compliant. These critters need us. They did not ask to be born…………
Thank you for all you do. No i was never ashamed of what I do…………
Thanks Madeleine for your comment. I think I will use your comment as an idea for an article as it is important. Good luck.
Thank you for sharing my story. Compassion always goes further than shame.
Rae, I am so impressed with you. You are a great lady and I agree with all you say. And you vet is heroic too. Well done.