By JULIE LINFORD
Special to the Tribune
We meet a lot of people who care about and care for our community’s free-roaming cats. But this summer, a couple of caretakers really stood out from the crowd. Each of them have a decent sized group of cats that they care for in their yards: about a dozen. These cats primarily came after the housing bust in 2008. Others were born there. But the overriding thing about each of these people is that they’ve always continued to care for and care about the cats in their charge, no matter what.
Aside from cats, these two individuals have something else in common. They each have cancer. No one ever wants to hear that they have cancer, let alone know how to handle it when the news arrives. Everyone handles it differently. Some shutdown. Some find strength they never had. Some leave the outcome to someone else, whether it’s their doctor or their chosen spiritual guide. The only thing for certain is that life has changed.
You see, each of these women, despite their medical challenges, never wavered in their responsible care of the cats. Daily, they provided food and fresh water. They continued to conduct trap-neuter-return (TNR) knowing that they needed to keep the population under control. And when they could no longer physically conduct TNR and could no longer afford the cost of spay/neuter and vaccinations for these cats due to mounting personal medical bills, they reached out for help.
It takes the commitment of so many people to make a TNR program successful – the volunteers at rescue groups, those willing to pull cats from the shelter before their euthanasia day, and most especially the caretakers who commit to observe, feed and water cats in their colonies. It’s a daily commitment for a lifetime that generous people like these two women make, even through the difficult challenge of cancer. They help inspire us to continue to do the work we do to save community cats.
Please help us to continue to do this lifesaving work with a donation to our pledge drive; no donation is too small or too large. Visit www.youcaring.com/5250 to pledge.