How Far Is Too Far?

How far is too far to go?

I’m not talking about things of a PG-13 nature.  I’m talking about this:  how do you know how far you will go in a given situation?

On July 30, 2012, I received an email from someone who knew someone who needed help with a cat.  It’s that age-old story about a cat that just appears on someone’s porch.  And she’s a nice cat, so they feed her and give her shelter.  She returns their good actions by presenting them with a batch of kittens.

That’s usually how it starts with a stray cat.  I’ve heard it over and over again from my several jobs in the animal care industry.  They just show up.  Usually it’s a female, and, if she’s not pregnant, she’s soon to be, because cats just go into heat, oh, seems like all the time, which in actuality could be 2, 3, or even 4 times a year.

So the email, from the persons that I’ll call The Intermediate Couple, told of a family in a neighboring county that had a cat they couldn’t keep.  The cat had given birth in the spring, and so of course was pregnant again, and the family couldn’t afford to spay her, and didn’t want to keep her.

I replied that if the female were spayed, couldn’t they keep her?  Every animal shelter and rescue is overrun with cute kittens for adoptions, and it’s difficult for an adult to be adopted, because who can resist a cute kitten?  (And if you write a blog, just post cute kitten pictures and watch your hits go up.  Not that I would EVER do that.)

The Intermediate Couple replied that they would approach the family about keeping the female after she had been spayed.

And The Intermediate Couple and I went back and forth with email correspondence setting up the particulars, like if I could get financial support for the surgeries for the mother and her three boy cattens, and how to arrange transportation.  Because of extenuating circumstances, it looked like I would need to drive to the next county and pick up the cats, house them until their surgical date, then house them again after surgery, then return them home.

Sugar weighed in.  “That’s too far to go.  Someone else needs to do it.”

Thank you, Sugar.  Love. You.

He argued about all the reasons that I couldn’t do it, and I argued about all the reasons that I could.  I generally have Friday afternoons off, so I could drive out then to pick up, and then to deliver the following Friday.  I could keep them in big crates in the shed for their safety, because I can’t have intact males and females wandering about here at the Swamped! Plantation & Rawlsbury Camp.

So the long version of an even longer tale is that is exactly what I did.  At first, I thought that I would bring all 4 cats here, house them, take them for surgery, re-house them, and return them, all in the space of one week.  I realized that I was out of my mind, for no good deed generally goes unpunished, and I would have to break it down to two cats at a time, which would lengthen the time that it would take to complete this project.

So with scrawled directions on a scrap of paper (remember paper?), I made my way to the next county to meet the newest project.  It was 43.3 miles one way, door-to-door.  I picked up the mother cat and the biggest boy.  It did not work to crate them here, not even in the shed, for ants got into the food.  Sugar said to take them to the grooming business and house them there.  I knew he’d help, even without me asking.

Was that too far to go?  It involved three trips to pick-up and return, for the family had decided to keep all four cats.

Here’s the best part:  The Intermediate Couple donated money to my PayPal account to cover the cost of the surgeries, and a little bonus for me, which I’ll donate to the grooming business.

So the cats get to stay in their home, the family gets to enjoy the cats that are now speutered and vaccinated, The Intermediate Couple gets good karma for a good deed, and I got in a little side trip to the Robert (Roe-BARE) Cemetery.

Was that too far to go?  And how do you know unless you try?

(And thanks to reader Linda who planted the seed of this story with The Intermediate Couple!)

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6 Responses to “How Far Is Too Far?”

  1. Linda Smith Says:

    Sweet…and I told you Sugar was sweet too!!


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Linda, remember the very first cat that was trapped that I took in? You know the one, the black fluffy one that was trapped at the McDonald’s by the interstate, the one that I named “Catch”? Of course you remember that she was adopted by The Intermediate Couple, and I think you are the one that told them that she was available for adoption. Life is a big web, and we are all connected.
      And yes, Sugar is sweet.


  2. Sharon Says:

    Sometimes, Ruth, it is about being a cat-a-lyst, the thing that makes other things happen.


  3. Becky Says:

    It may boil down to this – it’s too far if it is something that is unimportant to you. I like to think this situation is just bringing things to closure, once you decide you are going to do it. This stuff does have a way of mushrooming, as in multiple trips; but still, seeing it through is to be admired. I shall ignore Ev’s old axiom of “Cutting your nose to spite your face” here!!


    • ruthrawls Says:

      I think the thing about this situation is this: the family needed help and not enough people were stepping up. I’ve been in a bad spot before, more than once, and it was the kindness of strangers that got me through.


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