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.