Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Two different viewpoints

I had two emails over the Chinese New Year holidays at almost the same time about cats that needed surgery. One was a cat found by a friend of the person who wrote in and had apparently fallen. The cat needed surgery and they were not sure that it would pull through. The cat's surgery was estimated to be in the high hundreds. This is in addition to the money already spent on hospitalisation and the like. In addition, the cat has internal injuries.

I understand the person really wants to help the cat and wants to save it. I asked what the long term prognosis is and where the cat would go eventually. The person said that they were thinking of boarding it till it got adopted. I pointed out that there may be a problem with adopting the cat out if it ends up with permanent disabilities, and of course it may not be well enough to ever go back onto the street. I asked if they had thought about what to do in that scenario. The person said that they did not know what the outcome would be and so could not say what they would do. I told him that I understood that, but that we did need to know the cat will have a home eventually or have someone to take him in, or some sort of long term plan in the event the cat does survive.

On the other hand I got an email from a couple who have a number of cats of their own and also do fostering in their neighbourhood for the caregivers there. They also came across a badly injured cat. Surgery will also be expensive. They have said that if the cat is able to make it through, they will definitely keep it. They are considering their options now, and they said that if they spend less for the next few months, they would be able to afford the surgery. However they also realise this cat may not have the best standard of living for the rest of its life. In addition, they have said that they realise that the same sum of money can go towards helping many other community cats as they come across cats that need sterilisation and rescue regularly in their neighbourhood. They are leaning towards possibly not spending the money on the surgery, but on keeping the cat comfortable for as long as it lives. This is not an easy decision for them (and I don't think they've fully made up their minds), and I understand the wife especially is very upset. I do feel very badly for them.

Who would we be more inclined to help out in terms of financial help? The couple. Why? Because they have thought out a long term plan, and they're realistic about what they can or cannot do. They are also willing to keep the cat with them for the rest of its life. This is not to say that I don't sympathise with the man who is thinking of going ahead with the expensive surgery - but so far, there just doesn't seem to be a plan. What if no one adopts the cat? What if they run out of money to keep it in boarding and no one can take it in? Then what will happen to the cat?

I understand both sets of people have very good intentions and want only the best for the cats in question and I respect that both of them are going out of their way to help the cats. However good intentions don't always translate to good results. There have been cases where a lot of money is spent on the cat and then people run out of money to keep them in boarding.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn

these are tough questions indeed. We all love cats as if they were our own children and would love it if we could save all of them. Unfortunately, in a harsh real world with finite resources, sometimes we have to let it go. I would hate to be in the situation they are in but sometimes we have to choose the more dreadful option. ;o(

21/2/07 9:19 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I agree - there really is no 'right' answer, just the right answer for you. Both are facing very difficult situations - but you're right finite resources in a world of limitless need makes it even tougher.

21/2/07 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Fatcat said...

I know what happens in some cases: the restored cat is foisted on other care-givers. I responded to an appeal for help from a caregiver who'd rushed a cat that had been hit by a car to the clinic. I helped pay, the cat was boarded for a time at the clinic, then was boarded at the home of a CWS volunteer for a time. When it was time for release, the first caregiver announced that the cat was not from her area, refused to take him back, and left the problem with me. The cat is a great guy, and now lives as part of a managed colony, but it was definitely an imposition. I took a vote among my cooperating caregivers and they agreed we should take him on, but this is not an option in most places.


21/2/07 10:48 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yes very true Fatcat and unfortunately not everyone is able to incorporate them into an existing colony too.

22/2/07 1:56 AM  
Anonymous ej said...

Very tough decision to make.
At least they are not abandoning the sick cats at this point.

22/2/07 6:20 AM  

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