I didn’t like cats. My family always had dogs. Dogs were congenial, enthusiastic, stoked. Cats were diffident, seemed to not form attachments, and were generally a pain in the ass with zero ROI.
Then I moved into the Little House In Canoga Park.
Ok, so this little house had a bunch of feral cats living around it. Scads of ‘em. Everywhere! The place was filthy with cats! They were all terrified of me. The house was surrounded by trees and undergrowth, and the cats ran and hid under bushes, amidst vines, and in the crawl space under the Little House. I was determined to not become attached to them.
That endeavor did not succeed.
I began feeding the cats. They warmed up to me. They curled around my feet and purred. They licked my arm when I petted them. My heart melted. I started to see how many little ones would show up, be cute, then…disappear. I tried not to think about what became of those kittens.
I had to try to get these cats all spayed and neutered, but how? Vets charge a lot for that. My search led me to FixNation, a nonprofit that offers free spay and neuter services for homeless cats. Slowly, over the course of about two years, I got all the cats trapped, taken to FixNation where they were sterilized and vaccinated, and then released them again. They mellowed out. They became cool cats. They chilled, lounged and rolled around adorably. Distinct personalities could be detected. They snuggled up to one another–I’d always thought cats were loners! Not these guys. They were friends. They were a pack. Team Meow.
It’s great that these guys are all doing so well, with me looking after them, but if they’d kept reproducing, the resultant kittens would NOT be doing well. And they’re NOT doing well all over the city. It’s awful. But FixNation is leading the charge to prevent the uncontrolled breeding. Their mission is to reduce the population of homeless cats and kittens in Los Angeles by sterilizing as many as possible. To date, FixNation has spayed and neutered over 65,000 cats.
I know that there’s great suffering all over, in our communities. Homelessness and poverty are becoming ever more evident. And we all could stand to help out our fellow man. But it’s in the way we treat those who are small, who are relatively powerless, that grace is found. All creatures great and small, we should be responsible stewards of them all.