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My Pet World: Woman gives community cats a good life, but wants more | Pets

DCathy’s ear: About three years ago, two black and white cats broke into my home when a door opened. After all this time, they’re still terrified of me. I have three other cats who they get on well with, but despite my welcoming them, giving them all the space they want, providing them with food, fresh water, cozy places to sleep and security, they still run when I appear. The larger of the two is around 30% trusted, although she does not allow physical contact of any kind. The little one is just scared and hides under a chair in my room. I guess she goes down to eat at night.

Both are clean and have their ears cropped to indicate TNR (trap-neuter-return) has been performed. Neither ever approaches a door to “escape”. After three years, I have no hope that they will ever be socialized, but any feedback from you would be welcome.

—Nancy, Queens Village, New York

Dear Nancy: What an amazing person you are for taking care of them in a way that lets them know they are safe and allows them to be who they are. My suggestion would be to do exactly what you are doing. Just feed them, talk to them, and let them know you’re there if they want some attention. You can also put a pheromone plug-in in the room where the cat is hiding under the chair to see if that helps.

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But the truth is, they can never socialize to the point where you can touch them. Although it may be difficult, because you love them and want to pet them, you have already shown an extraordinary love and patience for these felines that few people in the world could match. The reward for this can simply be knowing that you saved two lives, loved them, and provided them with a forever home. You are awesome.

Dear Cathy: If I hear another person say or write that their pet is “a rescue” or that they “rescued” it, I’m going to need to be rescued. I have worked in shelters in two states for almost 20 years. I have seen cats and dogs arrive in horrible condition, receiving extensive medical care and loving attention sometimes for months. Hundreds or even thousands of dollars are often spent on care. Then someone pays a small fee for the adoption, and they say they “saved” the animal. No, the shelter saved him; they adopted it. Perfectly admirable in itself. But no need to embellish. Let’s stop this madness. An adoption is not a rescue.

— Edith, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear Edith: I do not agree. I’ve worked for animal shelters for many years, and those “small” adoption fees you mention are part of the income that shelters and rescue groups have to pay for the care of that animal, which includes accommodation, food, medication, surgeries, staff salaries, etc. Without grants, donations, and adoption fees, there would be no organizations or individuals doing rescue work.

Regarding your concern about adopters using the word “rescue,” the word has taken on new meaning as awareness of homeless animals has grown. When I started in this field 30 years ago, people visited animal shelters as a second or third choice when looking for a new family member. But today, more and more people are choosing animal shelters and rescue groups as their first choice because they are much more aware of the plight of homeless animals and want to be part of the solution.

As a result, there was a language change; the word “adoption” has become synonymous with the word “rescue”. People don’t usually say they’ve adopted a pet anymore; they say they saved one. By using this language, they communicate in one word that their new family member is from an animal shelter or rescue group and not a breeder.

It’s a powerful message that pet owners are naturally proud of. They are not just a part of their pet’s rescue story, but THE essential happy ending needed for that animal’s ultimate rescue. So it’s not a blame for the animal shelter or the rescue group to say, “I saved my dog.” It is an acknowledgment of the role the pet owner has played in this life-saving work. When you think about it on this level, I hope you can appreciate all the people who step up to “rescue” pets and give them forever homes. After all, the only thing that matters is that dogs and cats find homes where they are loved.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist, and companion animal expert with over 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to [email protected] Please include your name, city and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.

Lohmann Selbie, Jane Jane left this world on March 29, 2022 after 97 years of a full life, leaving behind many friends and family who loved her dearly. Born September 13, 1924 in Bluefield WV to Pauline and George Hewitt, Jane spent her early years at….

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