THE NEED IS SO GREAT
For the past six years I have fed three colonies of five feral cats total, all fixed and healthy. I would give Jimmy and other colony caretakers money for food and medications for their colonies. Then Jimmy moved and I took over five of his colonies, with an additional 8 cats, doubling the time required to take care of them.
Then three days ago one of the typical cat-ladies who I help, Marie, had her car break down and she couldn’t feed any because of the distance between where she lives and the cats. This time there is an additional five colonies and maybe 40 cats!!! Big cats, small cats, lots and lots of six and eight week old kittens, Siamese cats, black cats, white cats—you name it. I felt overwhelmed with so many new charges. She should have got the cats fixed but did not and kitten season is upon us. They need to be captured, sterilized, examined and vaccinated. This is an enormous effort because it is primarily in Spanish areas and there are problems feeding and trapping.
But the need is so great.
There are an estimated 1-2 million cats on the streets of the City of Los Angeles, and about 2,000 rescue groups. The shelter kills over 60% of the cats impounded. These can be friendly house cats turned in by owners for any of a hundred reasons, or a cat born and raised on the street, of a cat that became lost or abandoned. It is truly heartbreaking to see an alley full of hungry cats waiting for their food, who really have nothing else—just you to love and care for them.
So, I have been trying to change things. For years I have worked to have the number of cats and dogs a resident can legally own, increase from three to five. There are an estimate 734,000 households in LA that have an average of 2.3 cats per household. If the number of cats that can be legally owned is increased from three to five, that opens up the possibility of an additional 1.9 million homes. Since Animal Services kills over 10,000 cats per year, the new additional homes opened up is 190 times the number of cats that are not adopted and are killed each year.
I moved to LA from Santa Monica. Santa Monica has no limits on cats. You can have 50 and it is not a legal problem. But when we moved to LA, suddenly we were outlaws. Most of our cats were taken off the street, pure rescues of homeless cats and ferals. In the eight years after we moved, six of the eight died of cancer or kidney failure. Recently we acquired a kitten rescued by Animal Services, Radha. However, we’d like to have more but can’t because it is presently illegal.
In any event, partially due to my lobbying over the years, the City is considering raising the limit to 5 cats and 5 dogs. Since I have been a long time proponent, a reporter from the Daily News interviewed me today for two hours and a photographer took photos of our cats. The story will be on the front page on Thursday’s edition of the Los Angeles Daily News: http://dailynews.com. The reporter, Dana Bartholomew is a friend of mine, as is the general manager of Los Angeles’s Animal Services, Brenda Barnette.
I don’t want to put this as a burden on you, but I need your help. Mostly I need people to move close and start a community, but part of that community’s mission is acting with complete compassion for the animals that need you. The benefit you would get is a sense of total satisfaction and the experience of complete love.
If I can, when I am out there feeding, I will take photos of all these hungry and needy cats that need love, food and caring. If this were Calcutta, my orientation might be towards children, the homeless or old people, but this is not a problem in LA. I teach you need to focus on your immediate environment and make things better for you and the world there.
There is such a need and you can help fill it and you will feel rewarded beyond measure. Selfless action is the greatest cooking possible. It opens the heart, mind, emotions and pocketbook, and destroys the ego-orientation towards ME.