We received a call this week about a one year old cat that a woman has been feeding for about 6 months. She noticed last week that he had a wound on his coat. However, the wound hadn’t improved and she then noticed a 2nd wound. She had also noticed that his coat did not look as well as before and that his behaviour had changed. She was asking us for help because she could not bare to see an animal suffer.
We explained how we worked and that we would be happy to come to trap the cat and have him assessed by a vet. However, the minute money was mentioned she became very annoyed and replied that it was not her cat and that she would not be able to afford the vet bills. We agreed with this, but explained the concept of community cats and that there are thousands and thousands of cats like the one she feeds in her garden and that it is up to every single one of us to take responsibility for these cats.
We decided to go over and see how we could help this poor fellow. The trap was set and the waiting game began. After an hour, the cat finally made his appearance and was trapped. It was getting dark, but we could see the wounds in his thick coat.
As we explained the process – that the cat would be brought to the vet for assessment and that he would be treated and neutered, if feasible for a feral cat, before being returned to her after recovery – she once more became agitated at the idea of having him back, claiming “But you don’t understand! It’s not my cat!”. We once more had to clarify what feral cats were and how they lived; we highlighted that the cat would not do well in confinement, that he was at home in her estate and that all he was asking for from her was a bit of food. She ultimately agreed for the cat to come back and we hit the road to set him up for the night.
The following morning, Seafield, as I chose to name him, went to see Sinead at the Cloyne Veterinary Clinic. After being sedated, Sinead shaved his back and a number of wounds became apparent. Seafield must have been fighting over the females with other tom cats and had received many bites, which had created abscesses. Sinead cleaned the wounds cautiously and gave him a long acting antibiotic, assuring me that it would heal well. She then proceeded to neuter him, which should reduce his fighting behaviour and enable him to live a happier life.
After two nights of recovery, Seafield was returned to his environment. He was getting restless in his cage and it was an obvious relief for him to get back “home”. When released, he followed his usual path to the fields at the back of the estate. The woman knew exactly which trajectory he would take and she was right. Whether she wanted it or not, Seafield was home. This was the place where he had chosen to live. On his way to freedom, Seafield paused for a minute and turned around to look at us as if to say thank you. It was the right thing to do and we hope now that Seafield will live a happy life.
You can see the full photo album here.
Seafield is like thousands of other cats in Ireland, he is a nobody’s cat. Yet, we all need to take responsibility for them if we do not want to see them suffer. If we all turn a blind eye, kittens will keep being born, many of which dying before they reach their 1st year. If they are lucky enough to reach that age, like Seafield, they may end up injured or ill, with nobody to watch over them. Seafield is lucky as his wounds weren’t life-threatening and someone actually asked for help for him, thus giving him the dignity he deserves, but others will just die unnoticed. It takes time and a lot of effort, and it requires funds, but you may agree with us that it is worth it.
If you would like to support Seafield and help us to continue neutering cats to prevent suffering, please consider making a donation, no matter how small as it all helps to offer a better life for the ferals. You can also sponsor a feral cat and help us to care for other cats like Seafield for just €1/week (see more details here).
On behalf of all the ferals, we thank you for your help and compassion.