If there’s one thing we at Animal DREAMS get excited about, it’s spaying and neutering cats. It may not seem as warm and fuzzy a mission as adopting out homeless animals, but it’s super impactful. We get calls on a daily basis asking for our help with cat issues. The root of almost all of the problems can be traced back to cat overpopulation. We can’t solve all of the problems that exist for cats today, but it’s very clear that preventing more births will avert a lot of suffering.
Though our primary mission is spay and neuter, we do what we can to help cats that are currently struggling with the limited resources we have. There are many kind animal lovers in the community who do the same, feeding and sheltering cats that don’t belong to them.
A few weeks ago, a resident of an apartment building called their landlord to ask them to board up a broken basement window. That made perfect sense for the tenant, who pays to heat her apartment, but four cats that had found shelter from the cold weather in the basement were stuck inside. We were called to help, and within 2 days, all cats were trapped. Most of the cats, unfixed, were released outside; a neighbor has committed to feeding them (with food from Animal DREAMS) and a place where they could find shelter and protection from the weather was set up nearby. We plan to return to this area to trap and fix these cats when cold weather breaks and we have the funding to do so.
One of these community cats, now nicknamed “Russell”, was thought to have an injured tail, as he seemed to be in a lot of pain. So Animal DREAMS took him to the vet and fortunately, he ended up only having severely matted hair that needed to be removed. He also was somewhat friendly. His mats were so bad that his entire body had to be shaved right down to the skin. A kind, generous person donated funds for this vet work and to have him neutered. Animal DREAMS volunteers are caring for him until he either becomes reacquainted enough with human companionship to find a home through Berkshire Humane Society, or until his hair grows back so he can return to his outdoor neighborhood.
As much as it is satisfying to help the cats in front of us, it’s very rare that these feral and abandoned cats end up with an ideal life. There are just too many of them.
In the months to come, Animal DREAMS and Berkshire Humane Society are hoping to make a big impact on cat overpopulation in the City of Pittsfield with the help of a grant through PetSmart Charities. We’ll know the certainty of the grant in a few months. That still leaves lots of free-roaming cats in all other areas of Berkshire County who need to be fixed. Sometimes their caretakers can afford the $65 vet cost and sometimes they can’t. Monetary donations from animal lovers who care about this mission are always welcome and can be sent to: Animal DREAMS, P.O. Box 1073, Pittsfield MA 01202.
Trap, Neuter, Return Coordinator
Photos: Russell is back from his vet appointment, where he was neutered, vaccinated, eartipped, and shaved