My intentions with cat rescue are 100 percent purely to save cats: to provide them with a better life, tailored for each individual cat. For some cats that means TNR. For others, being brought indoors, vetted, and adopted out or sent to a rescue. For still others, euthanasia. It all depends on the cat. But no matter what, my heart and my goals with cat rescue are always aligned with one thing in sight: provide a better quality of life for any cat that strays (get it?) my way. So to be accused of anything other than doing my best for cats with the best of intentions is both shocking and hurtful, even though I have been forewarned and know from hearing of and reading the experiences of others that there will always be baseless accusations and drama bantered about. Even though I knew that inevitably there would be something slung my way, it was still a shock when it happened, especially since ultimately I incurred the undeserved wrath of another rescuer over…you guessed it…the root of all evil: $$$.
Here is what happened (dates are bolded for relevancy):
On January 1, 2022, in a local neighborhood Facebook group, I re-introduced myself as the local crazy cat lady who had taken 30+ cats out of the neighborhood via TNR and rescue, and asked for donations in the form of supplies – cat food, cat litter, bedding, cleaning and disinfecting products, etc. I emphasized that we would appreciate anything offered in the spirit of a donation for the care of the cats in our care currently as well as any coming into our care in the future. I also clarified that I was not asking for any cash donations; I simply would appreciate any items in the categories I had listed (food, litter, bedding, cleaning, disinfecting, etc.).
In this post I also shared photos and descriptions of our current soon-to-be-available-for-adoption kittens (3) and currently-available-for-adoption kittens (3).
On January 2, 2022, a woman, E, contacted me to express interest in my adoptable kittens. But the conversation turned to a sick kitten she knew of. We ended up meeting on this day in order for her to give me this sick kitten to evaluate and treat. She also gave me a $200 Visa gift card as a donation for my rescue efforts. It is important to note that this gift card was a donation, and not an adoption payment or anything of the sort (FWIW I do not charge an adoption fee for any kitten or cat I adopt out; I simply ask for an item donation towards the cats in my care, and that can be whatever a person feels comfortable giving). I was floored by the amount and initially refused it, but she insisted I take it. So I did.
On January 3, 2022, the sick kitten passed away (he was starving and depleted of red blood cells from fleas; all I was able to do for him was comfort/palliative care). E informed me there were siblings – three, to be exact, plus their mother. I knew that if these four were left were they were (outdoors), the kittens would surely die, as Mama would not be able to adequately care for herself and them in the increasingly cold temperatures. So I asked E to meet up with me so I could take custody of them in order to get the mother cat TNRed, and to get the kittens indoors, vetted, and hopefully put up for adoption. This was accomplished by 10:00am that morning.
Later that day I was introduced to M, an experienced rescuer who lives about 40 miles away from me. Our introduction happened through a mutual rescuer. It was M who was given my number, and M who called me. We spent about an hour on the phone, during which I told M our story: how we are not vets or vet techs or even a registered rescue; that we simply TNR and rescue strays who come our way, and that we operate as a sort of “safe landing” for stray cats until I can find them rescues or homes. During our conversation I mentioned the deceased kitten, his very-much-alive siblings, and his mother. M expressed interest in taking the three kittens for her rescue, because, and I quote, “I have a waitlist of adopters who want kittens!” She told me how much she charges per kitten, and her discount for two, and how her rates piss off other rescues in her area because she undercuts them. I was simply relieved to have found a rescue for three kittens within mere hours of receiving them into my home, and we made arrangements for her to get the kittens the next day.
Cue January 4, 2022. It was on this day that E got in touch with M to see how the kittens were doing, and I guess in passing E, not realizing that M was her own “entity” with her own rescue and I’m my own “entity” as such, asked M if the gift card was able to help her out…well, M entirely flipped her fucking shit…at me. I realize this all sounds kind of convoluted, so the bottom line is this:
- 01/02/22: I was given a $200 cash donation that I did not ask for to help me with my cat rescuing efforts.
- 01/03/22: Another rescuer introduces herself to me and insists on taking three kittens I have for her own rescue.
- 01/04/22: This rescuer finds out I was given a gift card 24 hours before I knew of her existence and insists that the gift card belongs to HER and HER rescue since SHE has the kittens I gave her.
Am I wrong for thinking she is wrong? That gift card was given to me as a donation for MY efforts with MY rescuing. Furthermore, if M wants to play it that way, shouldn’t I be sending M an invoice for the vetting I did on those three kittens? There’s food, litter, KMR, kitty milk, vaccines, de-wormer, Revolution, topical flea spray, etc.
Ultimately, my text messages were blown up with all sorts of accusations about me being a thief and a scammer and a fraud and she threatened to “out” me and supposedly so and so people and such and such vet advised her to out me and cut me off and not accept kittens from me and so on and so forth…
I won’t lie: I cried. I was really, really, REALLY upset. This completely broadsided me, and again, I operate on the purest of intentions when it comes to helping cats. I am honest and transparent, and the accusations were shocking and hurtful. Her entire attitude was disgustingly abrasive, too, which didn’t help matters. And, we have mutual rescuers who know and work with both of us, so I was also understandably worried that they might take sides (and there shouldn’t BE sides!) and not want to have anything to do with me – which forget hurting me, it would ultimately hurt cats, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters: the cats.
It’s been a few days now since all this took place, and as far as I know the dust has settled. I haven’t contacted M or E (who M convinced to call the police to report me for fraud?! Fortunately the police basically politely told her to fuck off!), and I don’t plan on it. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing: rescuing cats.