Monday September 21, 2010 –9:00 p.m. –I mean, seriously. Is anyone else getting fed up with this stubborn hoity toity Tortie? I suppose that it is expecting too much to be able to MAKE a cat like Mugsy do anything that isn’t her idea. Although, I must say, I’m probably a little too proud that I’ve managed to “train” my cat Cheeto to sit up and “wave” for a piece of dried salmon.
I started to title this blog “THIS IS IT” but I was afraid readers would think that meant that Mugsy had entered the trap. By “THIS IS IT” I planned to point out my dilema. I have one more night to blog and then I’m out of here. On Thursday morning, I leave Seattle for my one and only vacation of the year where I go camping in the High Sierra Nevada’s (Shaver Lake, CA). Not that what I do really matters to anyone (because this is really all about Mugsy, not ME) but doggone it, I want to be here when Mugsy is recovered! While I had not planned to blog while on this trip, if Mugsy isn’t trapped before I leave, I’ll do my best to find Internet access and keep pecking away at this story.
I had a revelation this morning that I need to share. Many of you are coming to this blog because you feel terrible about Mugsy. You just want to see her rescued and you want to know the outcome. Some of you are just so happy to see the extreme efforts being used to try and recover Mugsy. But what I want you to realize is that there are every-day Etta’s who’ve lost every-day cats like Mugsy in your own community!
With what you’ve learned from the Mugsy case YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH LOST PETS IN YOUR AREA. It is fantastic that Vicki and Etta have all of this support and encouragement. But what about the everyday people who lose a cat (or dog) whose story didn’t make the news? What about the pet owners who lost their beloved pet and are ALONE in their recovery efforts? The majority of these people give up too soon because family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and even spouses say things like, “Get over it, it’s just a cat” or “She was probably killed by a coyote” or “Let go; it’s time to move on.” Most cat owners who enter their local shelters searching for their lost cat are never told that they could use a humane trap and/or a wildlife camera as tools to recover their displaced cat. You can change that in your community, starting today!
How easy is it? Let me share a little story. On April 13, 2004 I received an e-mail from a woman named “Katha.” This was a week before my memoirs The Lost Pet Chronicles hit the bookstores and I was delighted to receive an e-mail from someone who had found a copy of my book in her local Borders. But it was what she wrote that actually floored me. Here’s Katha’s e-mail:
“Oh my gosh Kat you won’t believe this!!! After i got done reading your book (I couldn’t stop until I finished because I was so excited) I called the phone # on a flyer in my neighborhood about a lost cat. It was 9:30 on Sunday night and I really badly flubbed up my conversation with a very upset older woman. I told her I had just read a book and I thought that maybe the information I had could help her find her cat and of course, she thought I was a nut, and said that her cat had been gone for 9 days and she just knew that it was dead and she was crying and I felt so bad I just said okay and hung up. The next day i couldn’t get it out of my mind so I thought about what i could say to her on the phone and called her back. I told her that it wouldn’t hurt to at least try to trap the cat (which of course horrified her) but I kept talking and she finally said okay and gave me her address. The last thing she said to me is “your not selling these things are you?” I assured her I wasn’t selling traps and went over. Her niece was there I’m sure because the woman didn’t know what to expect from this nut who wanted to trap her cat. Well, to make a very long story short that was yesterday and this morning at 7:00am she called me and she was crying (oh no I thought the cat had died in the trap or something awful) She couldn’t get the trap open but CHRISSY THE CAT WAS IN THERE!!! after 10 days of being outside. Is that a wonderful happy ending? And Kat, it is because of your book. I knew how to do this. I trap feral cats. I have thought about trapping my own cats when they get out (former ferals) but I NEVER THOUGHT TO GIVE THIS INFORMATION TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC!!!!! I am so happy right now.
Katha had never read my blog (This was actually before I knew what a blog was, before Facebook and Twitter, and back when authors relied on book tours, book reviews, and media interviews to sell books). She simply knew (just by reading my book) that displaced cats hide in silence, they are typically hiding near their escape point, and they can be captured with a humane trap. With that knowledge, Katha knew that she could make a difference. And she did. I never heard from her again, but I suspect that many cat owners in her area have been helped by her knowledge and her willingness to share it.
A displaced cat hiding in a marsh in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle is no different than a displaced cat hiding in a suburb of Chicago (or where ever you live). So please. Don’t let the Mugsy story be simple entertainment for you. Let it change you. The next time that you see a tiny REWARD LOST CAT or REWARD LOST DOG flyer, pull over, call the number, and tell the pet owner about the Mugsy story. Encourage them. Tell them that there IS hope and suggest that they go to Missing Pet Partnership’s web site for more information. I promise you–you will never be the same!