We have taken in a quite astounding amount of homeless cats during the recent months and are quite appalled at the way many members of the public still, in the 21st century, have an attitude that belongs in the 1950’s.

Many of the cats we have taken in have been known to be homeless for many months and increasingly, years. But despite the cats in question showing themselves, gravitating towards homes and people, their plight was ignored and in fact celebrated as some kind of choice on the cat’s part and so were left to “do their own thing” like some kind of Disney character.

Cats are domestic, sentient creatures. They are not wild and they are not good at feeding themselves adequately. A cat that is left to “do his own thing” will live a harsh life which is shortened by around 10 years.

Their lives are lived without protection of any kind and they are exposed to excessive stress and fear. They run significant risk of contracting a variety of diseases including FIV (the feline equivalent of the HIV) and FHV (Feline Herpes Virus) which is a severe flu like virus which affects the eyes and upper respiratory system. There is no cure for either of these and without veterinary care and management they experience terrible symptoms and die extremely painfully. 

An unneutered female cat living in this way will have the stress of protecting her kittens from predators and weather conditions and very often fails despite her monumental efforts. Then think about what happens if she has birth complications….. the truth of that is that she will die in agony whilst any kittens that have been born starve to death beside her. Sadly we know this happens.

A stray cat is a lost and lonely cat, often fearful and always hungry. They have known a home, have experienced comfort and regular meals, but for one reason or another this has been taken from them. The constant search for food, shelter and safety exhausts them and when they turn up in a garden or at a door they need help. They are not being sassy, or “free-living” and this persistent old-fashioned and frankly ridiculous attitude causes nothing but suffering.

Just two examples of these poor creatures are Eagle and Curtis. Eagle had been known to be homeless for a number of years, yet nothing was done to help him. He is longhaired, so his extremely thin and wasted frame was hidden from disinterested people who “liked to see him wandering in their garden”. This poor cat ended up with such matted fur that he was unable even to walk so finally somebody contacted us. He has needed to have all of his coat removed as it was so badly knotted, revealing his undernourished,  severely dehydrated little frame. He is a friendly boy as most “stray” cats are, and by the time his coat has grown back, he will be well again but if nobody had seen him and taken pity on him, he would have starved to death, unable to move.

Curtis was also known to be homeless with his presence enjoyed as some kind of cartoon ginger tom, enjoying the free life. The reality was that he was desperately struggling to survive, which was severely hampered by the fact that he is blind. Without stealing other cat’s food, consuming the occasional meals given him, and eating bread left out for the birds, he would have died. Curtis, a sweet natured and friendly lad, is now in a caring foster home and experiencing love and safety at last.

If you know of a homeless cat, please do the right thing and give them food, water and shelter, and get them into a rescue, because once there, they will be cared for and receive all the veterinary care that is required. As standard practice they will be scanned for a microchip and if they are somebody’s lost pet, they will be reunited. If not, they will be found a loving home. Isn’t that a better outcome than a constant struggle to survive and a severely shortened, harsh life?

The opinion that cats are somehow self-sufficient, free living wild animals has to stop. It comes from a time when people routinely drowned kittens in buckets, which doesn’t take a genius to know is disgusting and cruel.

So let’s work together to help stray, homeless cats like Eagle and Curtis rather than leaving them to their own devices until it is too late.