I have almost gotten used to people dumping animals near our property, it's just one of those sad, unfortunate realities of living in the country. We have found abandoned dogs, deathly ill cats, and every kind of varmint imaginable that people trap in town and then release here. In fact, we actually caught someone in the act a few weeks ago. I was out mowing the lawn and saw a man pull onto our gravel road and grab a live trap out of the bed of his pickup truck, before I could get over there to interfere I witnessed him setting a nice fat pair of squirrels loose in our yard. A week or two later the same thing happened, although bunnies were the critter of choice that day. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, Gary was close enough to say something when the same man tried to repeat the process. Gary yelled to him, "What are you doing?" The man seemed surprised for some reason that Gary would take offense to him turning animals loose all over our property and replied, " Gosh, it's just a squirrel!" To which Gary quipped something like, "Then let him be 'just a squirrel' in your yard!" I understand that people sometimes think that they are doing the animal a favor by letting them go in the country, they have this idealistic image that the animal will scamper off, romping about the fields and have a long wonderful life. I also see how they might look at our place (which sometimes looks like some sort of insane petting zoo) and think that we are such huge animal lovers that we would surely love to have a few more, but the sad truth is, if any animals make it past the barn cats and the dogs, then generally our neighbors dispatch with any survivors. We live in the middle of farm fields and farmers don't take kindly to lots of imported wild critters eating their crops or unwanted domestic animals chasing their livestock. Animals that are displaced-especially this time of year when they likely have young somewhere-don't do well. Territories have been established and releasing a disoriented new-comer into the mix is really unfair to the animals.
Yesterday morning I was working in my home office when I heard a distressed "Meeooww! Meeoow!" It did not sound like any of our cats, but I peeked around the house to make sure, and all three of them (yes, we stupidly have three house cats) were sleeping contently in the living room. The meowing continued, and as I listened it became apparent that the sound was coming from outside the front window. I opened the door in time to see a very young kitten scamper away into the bushes. I followed the kitty, and when I called out to it, immediately the small kitten came toward me and started purring and kneading the branch that it had climbed onto. Clearly this was not a feral cat, it was not one that had wandered away from a neighbor's barn, it was extremely friendly and most certainly came from a litter in someones home. She just wanted to snuggle and be held. I wondered why someone would think that this was the right thing to do to a kitten, and I wondered what the fate of her litter-mates had been. Did they think that I would like another barn cat? I have barn cats-they are spayed or neutered and have their shots, they have been together for a long time and don't welcome unfamiliar cats into their circle......and I most certainly don't need another house cat! The day before I found her we had a 2+ inch rainfall, it was 100+ degree heat index on the day I found her. We have a no-kill shelter within 20 minutes of our place, but yet they chose to dump her here and let her take her chances. Yes, I am an animal lover, and yes, I will find her a home (quickly-before my husband tries to keep her), but I wish people would take more responsibility and realize that it is not up to everyone else to clean up their messes.
Yeah, she's looking a little TOO comfortable here.....BUT SHE'S NOT STAYING!!!!
Thank-you for allowing me to get on my soapbox for a moment.