When Daddy died in 1985, my mother moved out of their home of 34 years within 72 hours. She’d been planning for this eventuality, and had been looking at apartments in a residential care facility--which my father called equivalent to an outside cell at Sing Sing--in downtown
o be out of the house before I had to return to work in Orlando.
, she moved at lightning speed. The day before Daddy’s funeral, she purchased the apartment, and called the movers. She packed the necessities, while I focused on what to do with her pets: two small dogs, and two cats, none of which were permitted to go with her. Miami
Jamie was a Yorkshire terrier, and
was a Silky. The vet she’d gone to for years, kept them kenneled free of charge and found homes for both within two weeks—though not together as they’d always been. The cats were a different story. Both were feral when Momma started feeding them but eventually became tame enough to live in the house. By this time, they were adult cats, who adored my mother, but were shy around other people. Sydney
I lived in a no-pets-allowed apartment building in
, and my sister was expecting her second child. The Humane Society was our only recourse. Miami
To be honest, I didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to give the fate of those cats a lot of thought. It was the Humane Society. Built into the name was the assumption they were humane. All I remember is my mother let her fear of staying alone completely overwhelm the love she had for her animals, something I swore never to let happen to me.
Last week I wrote about our local Humane Society releasing cats into the woods that surround the Shelter. Following that editorial, I interviewed someone who was there the day the two specifically named cats, Mow and Frankie, were ‘freed.’
|The hinged screened panel|
Approx. 3 X 6 feet
The next morning, Frankie and Mow were outside. The third cat--a short-haired, gray and white--was also gone—completely gone, as in missing. It is not among the growing outside cat population.
This week the Board of the Humane Society submitted a rebuttal to my comment. This is a single paragraph from that rebuttal:
“The cat Frankie was allowed to make a choice—to live in the Kitty Cottage or live outside: Frankie is doing well outside. Our staff will continue to monitor and care for her as they do for all our barn (my emphasis) cats on a daily basis. This includes medical care throughout their life (sic) by our veterinarian.”
To administer medical attention to the 11 to 15 cats that are now living in the woods, the vet would have to shoot most of them with a tranquilizer gun. In the two weeks since this situation came to my attention, Mow, who was not mentioned in the rebuttal, has become unapproachable, but Frankie, whom they claim “likes to be petted by her friends, but is fearful of others” comes running when visitors stop by, and lets herself be tickled and picked up. There was no mention of Mow in the rebuttal for good reason.
Commitment number 2, in the MCHS's Summer 2012 newsletter states: “Finds Homes for Family Pets When the Unforseen (sic) Happens.” And on page 2: “We never give up on the animals in our care.”
My recent interview uncovered another detail. I knew Mow was one of the adoptable cats featured in our local paper, but what I didn’t know when I wrote the comment, which is also my July 10th blog post, was that Mow was given up for adoption by her owner.
That’s when the memory of trying to do the best I could for my mother’s animals came back. Think how heartbroken Mow’s owner must have been when forced to give up her pet. How would any of us feel when we put our trust an organization, which claims to ‘never give up on the animals in our care’, only to discover they have given up on our pet, the one raised from a kitten to live its life safely inside? This is the cat, who on March 1st was advertised as a sweet, young lady, a strictly inside animal, but in June was ‘freed’ to live, hiding in a log and terrified—for as long as she manages to survive in the forest surrounding the Shelter.
|MOW by Frankie Kangas|
note the clipped ear
|Frankie visiting friends on the inside|
|Frankie getting a tickle from a stranger|