For those new to the process, the BIG FIX starts with a call to our hotline from a caretaker (someone taking care of an outdoor cat). Caretakers may be caring for one cat or 30! Most caretakers are able to provide food, water, and shelter for the unowned cats in their area. The only thing missing is spaying and neutering and this is where the BIG FIX comes into play. If you are interested in helping but not yet a volunteer, check our link under Volunteers for new volunteer orientations or e-mail us at email@example.com
Ode to Billie
Billie, beloved inspiration for the Billie Emergency Fund, has passed away. Read her remarkable story below and help us celebrate her life and legacy.
Alley Cat Advocates has created the Billie Emergency Fund in honor of sweet Billie.
Billie’s relationship with Alley Cat Advocates starts in August 2001, when we were called to a neighborhood to help spay a momma cat and, eventually, her kittens. A property owner (Billy) had seen this momma cat carrying her kittens, one by one, over the privacy fence in his back yard. Unfortunately, with the last kitten in her grasp, the momma cat slipped and caught her leg between the slats of the fence. In horrible pain, she cried for help. Property owner Billy rushed to her aid. He released her from the fence and she scampered away, dragging a horribly wounded and broken leg behind her.
Because we knew she was injured, our volunteers stayed in the neighborhood for hours trying to trap her. Hours dragged into days and days dragged into weeks. But we were determined. And, three weeks after her leg was broken, we were successful. Billie (as she was now called) was trapped – and just in time to be spayed at one of our BIG FIXes.
Unfortunately, three weeks with a wounded, broken leg had taken its toll on Billie and she was in grave condition. Gangrene had set into her leg and no amount of antibiotic care was going to save it. We knew that options were two in number: Euthanize this beautiful, determined momma kitty or find the funds to amputate her leg. Of course, wonderful people stepped up to provide us the funds we needed and her leg was amputated.
Billie recovered from her amputation and her spay and came to live with the founder of our organization as, being three legged, we questioned whether she would be ok if returned home. Watching her run and play with her new found kitty friends taught us that she would likely have been just fine back home!!!!
Billie never wanted to be touched by humans, even after 12 years, as she was critically ill and dying of (suspected) FIP, touching by those who had fed her, twice a day, for each of those 12 years, was not allowed. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t loved and cherished. (And well fed and warm!)
As the first cat to come to one of Alley Cat Advocates’ BIG FIXes in grave condition, it was she that taught us loud and clear that having funds to help critically wounded or ill community cats was an essential part of our mission. She embodied that need.
If you would like to help us help future Billie’s, please consider giving a gift in her name. Specify that the funds go to the Billie Emergency Fund and we’ll see that future Billie’s are put back together so that they can live full, happy lives – just like momma cat Billie.
When Alley Cat Advocates was founded, we asked ourselves what this community wanted us to do with the community cats that came to us for their spay/neuter surgery but had medical needs beyond that scheduled surgery. What were we to do with those with an eye that was ruptured and was incredibly painful; those with a huge abscess that had drained, leaving a large gaping wound; and those with a broken leg, who endured pain every day as a result? The options were pretty clear.
1) We could decide, as a community, that those cats should be euthanized, as tending to this type of medical issue was not our group’s focus, and resources would always be in short supply. It was best to cut our losses and move on, we could reason.
2) We could decide, as a community, to ignore those issues and focus on the spay/neuter surgery alone; after all, our goal was to stop reproduction, and using resources to amputate a leg or close a wound did not move us closer to that goal. Let us just spay or neuter the cat and return them to their home, hoping for the best, we could also reason.
3) We could decide, as a community, that these issues needed our attention as well. Now, that would be radical! Most groups do either (1) or (2) and for good reasons. But neither of them felt right. Euthanizing treatable cats was not something we wanted to do. Nor did we want to put cats back outside with known, treatable (and often painful) conditions. But would the community provide us with the resources to do this AND spay and neuter, our goal in all of this?
The answer is a resounding YES! Whether the cat needs a dental, as did Ms. Drools-a-Lot or Clark, or an amputation, as did Billie (for whom the Billie Emergency Fund is named), or a severe wound closed, as did Fuzzy Face, the community has spoken loudly and clearly. The “gold standard” of care for these wonderful cats, in the few days that we have them, is what they get. Enjoy their pictures throughout this issue and continue to work with us to make this community the best place to live for all cats! It is the right thing to do!
Euthanizing treatable cats was not something we wanted to do.
So have you ever wondered if there are ANY good people out there? And what about karma? Is there such a thing? Read this story and BELIEVE!
Ok. First, here is Molly’s story. It starts out sad . . . Molly’s owner takes her to the Kentucky Humane Society SNIP clinic to be spayed. He lives near the clinic and knows she needs it! Sadly, he opens her carrier in the parking lot at the clinic to comfort her and scared Molly dashes out into the busy street. A truck drives over the top of her and rolls her and she runs away. Poor Molly!
Now, here is Whitey’s story. A kind gentleman named Victor, who lives around the corner from the SNIP clinic, adopted a couple of Kentucky Humane Society Working Cat Program cats and set them up on his carport, providing food, water, and shelter for them. Over time, a new community cat arrives to eat and share their space. “Whitey,” as he calls her (she is white with black spots, after all!), needs to be spayed, so Victor contacts Alley Cat Advocates, borrows a trap, and takes Whitey to her appointment at the SNIP clinic. All is well. Lucky Whitey!
And here is where it gets fun! Can you guess the rest? Four months after Molly’s unfortunate escape in the parking lot, a neighbor walks by Victor’s house and sees Whitey under the carport. He remembers a flyer that he’s had on his refrigerator for months(!) about a cat named Molly. He thinks it might be the same cat! And, yes, a quick call to the phone number on the flyer results in the happy reunion! Four months later!!! So, kudos to Molly’s owner for putting up flyers and never giving up. Kudos to kind Victor for feeding the new community cat AND for getting her spayed (despite her wishes, apparently), and kudos to the community for caring enough to help these beautiful creatures each and every day!
I became a caretaker of feral cats in 2007. A stray female cat came to my house in the winter of 2006, and she had two kittens with her. She was almost starved, full of worms and she would eat anything. My granddaughter named her Jewels. She had a litter of kittens in late March; they were hidden in my neighbor’s barn. Her kitten that she brought with her had a litter of kittens in late May. Something happened to that momma cat, as her six kittens, only a few days old, were found by my neighbor. So, to make a long story short, my neighbor and I raised these six kittens and found homes for all of them.
During this time, Jewels started to bring her kittens out. There were five solid white, very wild kittens. My neighbor’s husband said that they had to go. I trapped two of them and took them to the shelter, where I was told that they would probably be euthanized. I was so upset, but I learned later that they were put up for adoption. Then I learned about Alley Cat Advocates and, with the help of volunteer Jan Arnold, we trapped two of the kittens and her older kitten. They went to the Quick Fix. Jewels went to my vet.
In the winter of 2011, I began to notice all these young cats coming to eat with Jewels and her two grown kittens. I started counting. I saw 14 cats. I contacted Alley Cat Advocates and got on the waiting list for the Big Fix. We got in the April 2012 Big Fix. Just in time, two of the cats were almost ready to have kittens. One large male was hurt. His name is Fuzzy Face, and his life was saved by Alley Cat Advocates. They did surgery on him a number of times and kept him in rehab for two months. He is now an indoor kitty, and he is very spoiled.
I volunteer my time to Alley Cat Advocates because I am very grateful for what they have done for the cats that I care for and for all the other cats that they help.
Volunteer Barbara Ray