Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Stray Cat Strut

I love doing carpentry.  Admittedly, I'm an amateur .. but the permanence of working with wood has always appealed to me.   After all, no matter how well it turns out, food is such a fleeting thing to work with, eh?
Like my father before me, I learned my skills from my Dad.  To be perfectly honest, at that time it was considered a radical thing to do, but then my parents always marched us to a different drummer.   Ours was an equal opportunity home where all life skills were taught to both genders.   My brother is as skilled with the 'domestic arts' as he is with the inner workings of his Harley.
I've been wanting to make a little cattery for a while now ... and now its turn has come up on the to do list.   Its my favourite kind of project ...  most of the materials are already squirrelled away in my workshop ... I'll be working outside .. and best of all, when its finished I'll have a safe place for the kitties to sun themselves and nibble on grass.
I had thought that I would use the gazebo fittings kit for it, but now that we have the play yard I think that next year I'll put it in the middle of the play yard.  The dogs love chasing each other around anything and it would give us a shady spot to hang out in the heat of the day
See what I mean ... the To Do list is a fluid thing that never seems to get any shorter after each project is finished!   Unless one has 'staff' or deeper pockets than mine, it takes years to really settle a yard the way that we want.
Its definitely like that for the animals too.  Whenever I get too impatient, I try to remember just how much has been done in the last two and a half years.  Back then, it was even more of a crapshoot to be a homeless pet than it is now. 
If a pet came into the care of one of the private rescue groups like ARC or the breed rescue groups like East Coast German Shepherd Rescue or a private shelter like SHAID , then odds were pretty good that he or she would live to tell the tail.
But if they were brought to one of the society branches ... it was quite a different story.  Some groups weren't in a position to accept any at all.  The Cape Breton Branch was accepting everything that came in the door and gassing a sickening of number of them.  Metro was being so dragged down by internal troubles that the energy that should have been spent saving animals was wasted ... while unnecessary deaths just kept piling up.
And just look at the society now ... step by careful administrative step, the society has established the framework and the strategic plan that will take it to No Kill.  Are they there yet?  No .. but they are rolling merrily along the path and picking up steam and enthusiasm along the way, instead of alienating branches and revoking their status.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to reaching No Kill Nova Scotia is the staggering numbers of cats that keep filling up every available rescue space around the province.
Are cat adoption fees a good buy?  You bet!  Are most people aware of that?  Not even close.  To make matters worse, there is a never ending supply of 'free to a good homes' that undermine the cat adoption market.
And that's exactly what rescues need to do ... understand that they are competing for a share of the market.   How can they do that?
By making it as convenient and easy as possible for people to adopt a cat.  The fee isn't the obstacle so much as the convenience.
Like it or not, even good people will generally take the easy road.   If the pets are in foster, or the shelter is in an out of the way spot, most folks will opt for the neighbours' kitten or the free to a good homes that are only a mouse click away.
And before the keyboards catch on fire, no I am NOT saying that there should not be a screening process for the kitties.  I am simply saying that it needs to be easier for the public to MEET the cats.
Changing shelter hours is a good step,   the Yarmouth SPCA, Metro , the LA Shelter  and SHAID understand the value of this.
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, the thing that would Really Help is cat only off site adoption events.   In order to adopt the cats, people need  a chance to meet their sweet and appealing selves.  
At the end of the day, the cats are their own best promoters, if they are only given have a chance to strut their stuff.
What time is it?  Its always time to recognize the truth of the old saw, that getting the same results for doing the same thing is the very best reason to try something new.

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