A few years Sally took it upon herself to contact the local No More Homeless Pets organization about some stray cats who had staked claim to our back yard. She fed them, knowing that in the eyes of the county that makes them our responsibility.
Flash forward a few years. We have a family of three cats, two males and a female living under the porch in the back yard. Sally bought a dog house from a pet supply company, and a pressure pad that heats up to a cat's body temperature of 101 degrees when the cats lay on it. They are sheltered from the cold winter. I put food out for them twice a day. Ramses is the friendliest. The female won't come to either of us, the other male likes to be petted, but only in a small area near the food dishes on our back porch. Ramses will come in the house to flop for a while on the carpet. As you can see by the photo Ramses is the same color as the carpet. Sometimes I call him the Camo Cat, because he's hard to see with that as background.
A week ago Ramses, who is prone to wander during the day, got picked up and taken to the local animal shelter. Sally called and claimed him, and it cost $100 to bail him out. We found out he had to be licensed, he had to have shots, and we had to submit documents to that effect within 10 days or we'd be issued a citation. We were also startled when we were told that in the county cats have to be kept indoors, or on a leash if outdoors. What...?! Has anyone ever actually put a cat on a leash, much less an outdoor cat who is used to a territory as big as several city blocks?
So we made an appointment and took Ramses to a neighborhood veterinary. The vet said, sure, we can take care of all that! We can neuter him, because as the female doc groped his balls she said, "Yep, he's all boy." She also said they'd de-worm him, check him for other problems like feline leukemia, comb the mats out of his long hair, put a chip in him, make a tag for a collar, which we needed to supply. When we got him back from the vet yesterday the bill was $288. So far this week we're into Ramses nearly $400. When we got him home from his time in the hospital he went outside and disappeared for 24 hours. Hey, if someone had cut my balls off I'd run off and sulk for at least a day, also.
Today our no-nuts Ramses is back. We knew he'd be back eventually because he likes to eat.
Sally explained we were doing this out of the goodness of our hearts...we believe the cats have a right to live...we don't want them to suffer. She invoked the name of No More Homeless Pets several times.
But to no avail. Despite our taking responsibility for food and shelter we're also expected to obey the local ordinances. Okay, so I don't believe we're above the law, but $400 seems like a bite. I'm hoping our other two cats don't get caught by some animal control officer, because at that rate our kindness to animals will cost us enough we'll be living under a porch begging for handouts. No good deed goes unpunished, as my ol' daddy used to say.