Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saving Simon

Saving Simon
By Christine Norton

What happens to a cat who ends up in a shelter? Some cats are euthanized within one week of their arrival. How do these unwanted cats end up in shelters? It is because people do not spay and neuter their pets and they let them roam outdoors where they are allowed to procreate, thus creating litters of unwanted kittens.

Cats should not be allowed to go outside because they can bring home fleas or diseases. Cats can also get hit by cars or be tortured by some insane person. I know some people do let their cats out, and some are not fixed, which is totally irresponsible. We don't need another litter of unwanted kittens when the shelters are full of cats just waiting for a home. For every kitten you find a home for another cat sits in a shelter. 

Most pet owners do not allow their cats to go outdoors, except to the veterinarian’s office in a secure cat carrier. Thankfully, they consider their cats to be their children, or at the very least, family members. The bond between cats and cat owners is so strong, and they depend on each other for love and comfort.

People who work in shelters come to know these cats on a daily basis. They grow to love them and are sad for themselves because they've grown attached to the animal, but happy for the cats when the cat goes to its forever home. A lot of workers want to adopt them all and take them home. I know this because I work for Alliance for Animals, a low-cost, non profit shelter and clinic in South Boston, MA, whose job is to save lives

In September of 2007, a cat we named Simon came to Alliance for Animals. Simon was found roaming the Holiday Inn parking lot in Woburn, MA and was rescued by a caring person who brought him in.

When he first arrived he did not want anything to do with people or other cats. Although he had a voracious appetite, it was clear he was an unhappy cat; it was our hope that he would adjust and accept AfA as his transition home. The staff, of course, was very kind and patient with him, offering him treats in an effort to gain his trust and win him over. Simon, however, was steadfast in his decision to remain standoffish.

MaryBeth Horan, Director of Outreach and Development, would always go to Simon’s cage when she came to work and visit with him. Once they became acquainted, he would look forward to her arrival each day with great anticipation. Sadly, toward the end of February 2008 Simon began to show signs of extreme depression and slowly began to stop eating, despite MaryBeth’s love and attention. This is an all too familiar sign of depression in humans as well.

The month of March came and MaryBeth made the decision to take Simon home to share life with her and her two female cats. The two females did not take kindly to Simon “invading” their turf. They wanted nothing to do with him, and he them.

It was touch and go there for a while with MaryBeth thinking Simon and the girls would never accept one another. Then, after six months of living under the same roof they finally warmed up to each other, enough to curl up together on the sofa and watch TV.

Their lives are now stress free and filled with love and harmony. They are a great example and we humans should learn a lesson from them. MaryBeth saved Simon’s life that day and we can never thank her enough for her patience and her love of animals.

One of the best things you can do to help a homeless animal is to adopt from a shelter or an all-breed rescue. There are many loving cats just sitting in these shelters waiting for their person to come and take them to their forever home. They have all been tested for FIV and Feline Leukemia, and are all spayed or neutered. The cost is $125.00. For more information you can contact Alliance for Animals at 617-268-7800.

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