Semi-feral kitten not feeling well - am I getting too attached to cats?

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I can't tell you how many times I have cried to my husband about a cat I have not seen for a day or two. He just tells me they will show up, and only once he was wrong. One cat was gone for almost 2 weeks.
I have read from the beginning of this post started Sept 22 and wonder what happened to the sick kitten and if you were able to connect with any group to help with TNR? i'm sure many would like to know if you have gotten any respite, please update. Thank you.
 
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moreknow

learning to help ferals :)
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Now about your attachment -

All of us get attached to these cats. Colony caretakers do what they do because they care.

Most of us sink a whole lot of time and money, and sometimes put a lot at risk, to be able to care for cats we usually cannot even pet or get anywhere near. Some of us even face fines and jail out of refusal to abandon our colony when others try to force us to.

People typically don’t take on a colony unless they already have the propensity to become attached. The compassion and empathy required to manage a colony are also perquisites for attachment.

This is normal, this is okay. It is not something you should strive to rid yourself of. If more people cared even half as much as you, most of these homeless cats would not be suffering in the first place.

They may not be “your cats” in the typical sense of a pet - but nonetheless, you do have stewardship over them as their caretaker and guardian.

Now, if you would like advice on how to cope with the challenges and heartache that sometimes come with being a colony caretaker, that is a completely different matter, and we’re here for support.

However, there is one thing you said that stood out to me -



This could be potentially problematic depending on what exactly you mean.

If you’re talking about going on vacation, then this is more normal - it’s why many owners still get pet sitters for their indoor cats even if they’ll only be away for a few days.

But if you feel like you can’t even go out for the night to hang out with your friends, then this is might be crossing into different territory that needs to be reflected upon more.

For instance, it would be reasonable if you didn’t want to go out right now because you think one of your kittens might be ill. That’s rational, and the situation is only temporary.

But if you’re always concerned about the cats (for no specific reason) enough to make you not go out for the evening, then this is more problematic.

So what exactly are you hesitant about, and why?

It also seems like you might be on the younger side?

I started dog and wildlife rescue when I was 12-14 years old, and I’ve been doing it ever since. In the past 6 or so years, I’ve been increasingly focused on cat rescue.

My entire teens and all of my 20s so far has been dedicated to helping animals.

And there’s a definite alienation with that in terms of your peers.

When all my friends have wanted to go out Friday night to a club/bar/movies/whatever, I’ve had to pass because I need to trap that night and get up super early the next morning since Saturday is the only day the spay/neuter clinic is accepting ferals. Or an animal is sick. Or I just don’t have the money due to food/vet/TNR costs this month.

And these are not things most people commonly have to consider. It deviates from concerns regarding “typical” responsibilities - these aren’t even our own “pets” after all.

And that doesn’t change with age, I don’t think. I think only other rescuers and colony caretakers have the capacity to truly understand us, regardless of age.

But when you’re young, the idea can seem even more foreign to your peers, and to yourself in relation to what your peers are doing, because people tend to have much less responsibility and obligations at that age.

The only question is, what do you actually want to do?

You said your friends are enjoying their lives. Does this imply you aren’t?

And if you’re not, then why?

Do you really, really want to go out, but feel guilty and bogged down by a perceived obligation to be home for the cats (absent of any specific reason, like one of them being ill)?

Does it feel almost compulsive? Do your concerns about the kitties feel intrusive?

Or, do you feel overwhelmed caring for them or dealing with the emotional difficulties of doing so?

Do you want to go out, but you also don’t mind (or even enjoy) staying home to be with the cats?

If so, then do you feel as conflicted as you do because no one understands or you have no support? Or because of what you - or other people - think you “should” be doing at your age? Or because your parents don’t approve?

Any reason you may have is valid - we just need to find out what that reason is.

There’s a significant lack of control when it comes to taking care of community cats. And as a “control freak” myself, I still struggle to find ways to cope with that.

But coping mechanisms to help you better navigate the emotional difficulties and uncertainties of caring for community cats can be learned. Ideally from a professional, but we’ll do what we can here if that’s not an option for you.

Or, if you feel alone, or like no one understands and you need some encouragement and support - we’re here.

Or, if you’re overwhelmed or there are too many cats for you to handle - we’re here, and we’ll do everything we can to track down resources for you.

Caring for community cats shouldn’t feel like an unwilling, compulsive sacrifice. It doesn’t mean you must give up all balance or other activities in your life.

Take some time to reflect on how it is you really feel and why, and what it is you really want. What are you missing?

Whatever you need, we’re here.
I know that it's been over 6 months since this post, i don't know how i never saw all these replies
But a lot of ups and downs have happened since September, i have only lost 3 cats (1 already sick kitten, 1 disappeared mysteriously, and the most recent kitten was attacked by a pack of dogs). I currently have a total of 25 cats, 9 are fixed. I've made many new threads seeking for help, and i am just now coming back to this thread only to be overwhelmed by the thorough and thoughtful responses :)
But to reply to your questions, i will say that I am attached to the cats; i see them as if they're my children (i dont have any, im 21). Thing is, i've been working on getting cats fixed 2x a month and i project that they should all be fixed and socialized by the end of this year, and hopefully some will be adopted. While im working on that, i've been trying to convert my backyard into a more secure place; where it's dogproof and weatherproof. So far everything's going alright, i almost lost another kitten last week.. I pulled out of my garage, waited 1 minute to see if any cats jump out of my engine (b/c it's happened before), and soon as i pull out onto the main road, a black kitten runs out of my car & into an rv park. It's things like that that frustrate me, I drop everything and turn my entire focus on the cat. Like i could feed cats 2-4x daily, and make sure every cat appears healthy and i could go back to my normal life no problem. But when something happens, like a cat getting sick/injured/lost/attacked/stuck, i lose my mind. I would like to train myself to let go, but i hope that most of my cats get adopted to loving homes soon so i no longer have to worry about 25 individual cats on the daily. I am going on vacation this summer, and i am planning on making lots of projects in my backyard so they won't wanna leave and teach a friend of mine to feed the cats while im gone for over a week. I don't think the cats are in my way to living a normal life, for they have taught me to be super responsible and i am really thankful for them.
 
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moreknow

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Ahh, I see why Norachan tagged me now.

I skimmed your history and saw you’re from southeast Texas.

I’m in south central Texas - so in Texas miles, we’re basically nextdoor neighbors 😂

I’m sure we’d be able to find a spay/neuter clinic somewhere between us, but mine is open and has no restrictions on income or location. I can drive quite a ways if necessary and recover your cats here if need be before bringing them back to you for release.

For your kitten, absolute worst case scenario - if a vet is out of the question, I have some broad spectrum antibiotics you can try. I can also administer fluids if she’s dehydrated, teach you how to syringe feed and leave you with some syringes, prescription Hills A/D and other supplies if needed.
Yes i live east of Houston :)

I wish i had read this when she was still with me, i had that kitten rescued by ASPCA. One of their vehicles pulled up at 11pm, and reluctantly took her in. I don't know if she made it to be adopted, but i did what i could in that moment. That sweet girl will always be in my heart

I think we can both help each other if you'd like, i can provide helpful resources even though im still learning lol :)
 
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moreknow

learning to help ferals :)
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I can't tell you how many times I have cried to my husband about a cat I have not seen for a day or two. He just tells me they will show up, and only once he was wrong. One cat was gone for almost 2 weeks.
I have read from the beginning of this post started Sept 22 and wonder what happened to the sick kitten and if you were able to connect with any group to help with TNR? i'm sure many would like to know if you have gotten any respite, please update. Thank you.
Hi sorry, lots of things happened here in Houston
The kitten was rescued by the ASPCA, but i don't know if she made it or not
Regardless, she is in my heart and i will continue to rescue and care 🧡
 

Norachan

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You've had some excellent replies already, here and in your other threads, but I just wanted to let you know that I was in an almost identical position 8 or 9 years ago. Around 30 cats, only a handful fixed, some too feral to ever be suitable for rehoming and the constant worry of what was going to happen to them while they were outside.

It took me two years to get the whole colony TNR'd but I got there eventually. Now I have a smaller colony of 20+. all fixed, all living in a safe enclosed area.

It seems like an impossible task when you first start and there is a lot of heartbreak on the way, but you'll get there in the end.

:hugs:
 
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moreknow

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You've had some excellent replies already, here and in your other threads, but I just wanted to let you know that I was in an almost identical position 8 or 9 years ago. Around 30 cats, only a handful fixed, some too feral to ever be suitable for rehoming and the constant worry of what was going to happen to them while they were outside.

It took me two years to get the whole colony TNR'd but I got there eventually. Now I have a smaller colony of 20+. all fixed, all living in a safe enclosed area.

It seems like an impossible task when you first start and there is a lot of heartbreak on the way, but you'll get there in the end.

:hugs:
yes i can see the light at the end of the tunnel :) i have 11/25 cats fixed, i will take 3 more this Thursday
btw are you from Japan? I am learning Japanese and would love to visit someday :)
 

Norachan

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That's great! You're doing really well with them.

I'm from the UK originally, but I've lived in Japan off and on for the past 20 years. Good luck with your Japanese studies. It's taken me a while to get to grips with it but it's been worth the effort.

:heartshape:
 
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