Gentle Landings Vol. 2 – Apartment Complex Cats

My work continues with two feral cat populations in Grants Pass, Oregon. I decided to make this month’s Gentle Landings newsletter about one of them, in part because I owe some of you an update, and also because their plight perfectly encapsulates why I think this work is important.

Some of you remember the pictures and stories of my beautiful baby boy, who lived with me for thirteen precious days. He came from an apartment complex in Grants Pass which is home to a group of over twenty five cats. A few of the residents do their best to feed and look after them, but must do so surreptitiously, risking reprimands and even eviction notices. They do their best within the constraints of the situation, but can’t provide anything close to what is needed, and the cats suffer.

These cats live on the fringes, darting in between buildings and under cars when looking for food and water. They find shelter under blackberry bushes, or under buildings, or in the neighboring city park. In the warmer months I suspect it’s not too bad. When it’s cold and wet it can be deadly.

I’ve been wanting to help these cats ever since I became aware of them last summer, but didn’t feel equipped or ready to take it on in a meaningful way. I had a list of reasons that were legitimately valid and also completely inadequate. I needed more space. A better set up. More funding. Cooperation. A clear plan. To be less overwhelmed. And on and on.

So I set it aside and put it off, hoping they would be okay but knowing they weren’t. I resolved to get to a place where I could take this kind of thing on, and despaired at the sad reality that we can only do so much. It pulled on me, though. Every time I found myself in that part of town I felt a heaviness. I knew I was supposed to help and felt guilty that I hadn’t figured out how to begin.

But then I started getting phone calls about kittens in peril. There was talk of mean kids doing mean kid things. There were concerns about awful adults doing cruel things. It was finally time.

First it was a mom and her three babies. I scooped up the babies and trapped the mom. Sadly, one of the babies didn’t live more than a day, but the mother and the other two are doing really well.

Then it was my baby boy, who will live forever in my heart.

Next it was another mom, likely the sister of the first one, who also had three tiny babies. One of which, compromised from the beginning, also didn’t live long. But this mom and her two surviving babies are also doing really well.

Since then I’ve taken in two more families, including one who I believe to be the mother and siblings of my baby boy, as well as a male who is likely the father to many of them. There are at least two more families we are working to get.

All will of course be spayed or neutered. Some will be adopted and others will stay in our sanctuary, which we are working to expand.

But for now, I’m just grateful that the ones who made it here are safe, well fed and cared for, and genuinely loved. And I’m also grateful to these beautiful and innocent creatures for making their case, so clear and undeniable, that they genuinely need and deserve to be helped.

Thanks for reading and thanks for caring.