Monday, April 11, 2011
(Bruce, Lusk and Cookiepuss, three of the cats waiting for a backyard to live in.)
Three months ago, Merry Bates, president of Island Cat Resources and Adoption (ICRA, for short), got a frantic phone call from an elderly couple in West Oakland.
A few years before, they discovered a semi-feral cat living in their basement, and they started feeding it. And, because it wasn't spayed, it didn't take long for that one cat to become 10.
But last January they got bad news: Their home was about to be foreclosed.
Unfortunately, their basement was the only home these cats have ever known. They are completely dependent on this couple, having been born in the basement with a daily food and water source there since their births.
When these big-hearted people find a new home, they clearly won't be able to take the cats with them.
So ICRA volunteers swung into action. First, they humanely trapped and neutered the cats. Then they started searching for backyards where the kitties could make their new homes.
To date, they've found garden locations for four cats. But the other six are still waiting, and time is running out for them. The couple must be out by the end of the month, and so do the cats.
There are three males and three females, about a year old, in a range of colors. All have been fixed, vaccinated and FeLV/FIV tested. And all are as cute as can be.
Do you have room in your backyard for one or more of these hapless creatures? ICRA won't simply dump them on you; they'll hold your hand all the way, including lending you an outdoor kitty condo for the cats to live in until they decide that your yard is their new home. All you have to supply is food, water, shelter from the rain and love.
Although these cats are called feral, they are not wild or aggressive - just shy. They need safe outdoor spaces in which to live out their natural lives. Some of these cats, in time, will allow petting from a trusted caregiver. Others will keep a safe distance but enjoy playing or sleeping in the garden while you are nearby. Most are curious about people and will interact with you at feeding time.
It's a win-win deal: The cats get a second chance at life, and you get the pleasure of watching them and the satisfaction of giving them a desperately needed home.
If you can help, please visit the ICRA website at www.icraeastbay.org or call 510-869-2584.
And don't forget ICRA's annual auction on May 7 at the Alameda Elks Lodge. It's ICRA's big fundraiser for the year, and 100 percent of the money goes to the kitties. If you can't make it to the auction, you can also donate through the website.
Remember what Gandhi said: "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals."