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On Cats, Testing and Phony Vegan Soup


The luncheon was what I expected. All four of the kittens available for adoption were adopted (the non-black one went first, of course), I believe, and that's great. Martinis and wine flowed, a waiter told me the pumpkin soup was vegan and it wasn't (and I proceeded to have to flee toward the ladies room after a mere 10 minutes of its consumption, as I'm sure it included cream made from cow's milk, and, well . . . ), and in fact he told me the entire meal was vegan, but the next course was grilled chicken and warmed goat cheese over mesclun greens.

This is after there was a prayer at the start of the event for all of the animals who are suffering all over the world (but at that point I thought the meal was vegan, so I was impressed. What a difference five minutes makes!).

The room was filled with people who really care about "pet overpopulation" and do the hard work of fundraising (the people who do the work usually don't go to the events, so we didn't get to celebrate their work and thank them, unfortunately) and outreach, and Palm Beach has had great success at decreasing their feral cat population. Dr. Levy did mention that the success is largely due to the fact that Palm Beach is an island, however (but she in no way said that to take away from the achievements of the group).

Gertrude Maxwell was honored, as she should be, and while she made her plea for everyone to not give up (she hasn't, and I believe she's 97), most people chatted and weren't listening, which I found disappointing. The gentleman next to me, upon hearing that the Town gives the group more than half of its $250,000 budget, said, "A quarter of a million dollars? For cats?"

I spoke with Dr. Levy before the event, and that was my plan, so regardless of everything else, I consider the luncheon successful. Also, the chair of the board of the no-kill I'm taking the kitties to tomorrow was at the event, so that necessary contact is taken care of.

Here's what Dr. Levy said: they don't test cats because they want to spend as much money as possible on sterilization. And she emphasized that killing cats who test positive but aren't ill isn't euthanasia (as Paul has been rightly saying). Dr. Levy said she was only supposed to talk about cats on Palm Beach, believe it or not, so I knew in advance that the Q&A wasn't going to be helpful and I shouldn't say anything. There's a protocol in that town that it does no good not to follow. And besides, I already had what I went for.

At least when I go to the no-kill tomorrow I'll have all the ammo I need to attempt to persuade them to change their policy, and I will know whom to talk to.

And when I met the trapper this evening, we were able to get 2 kitties (they're in my garage in traps covered with camouflage the trapper immediately put on). They know each other so I set them side-by-side and allowed them to see each other. They're black, of course. And they're kittens, and friendly, and apparently the socializing group has great success with kittens (but better success with non-black ones).

The biggest coup was the contact with the feeders, the facility manager, and several Executive Directors in the building, all of whom are supportive and said they will contribute financially. The youngish people (under 50) are fantastic, educated about the issue, and were just waiting for someone to nudge them along or help them. The property manager might send out a letter to the tenants for me (says the facility manager who gave me his contact info), and I'm very excited about that. The huge downside is that one of the feeders told me there are 50 cats now because the location has become a dumping ground. 

I have called my vet to ask him if he would, as a favor, sterilize some cats for me and not test (and of course tip the ears, etc.). I'll pay whatever he wants. I was hoping to hear from him before I bring the first two kitties, but it's unlikely.

So there's the update. We have a schedule and plan to trap 2-3 each week and I'll rehab them at my house and either bring them to the kitten people or release them if they're feral.

Thanks for all of your suggestions, and if there's anything I haven't covered, feel free to comment.

Finally, my new calling just might be to veganize the animal-related events in my area. It was truly surreal to be fed chicken at this event. The only animal events I attended in the past five years were all related to Nanci Alexander (the owner of Sublime and the founder of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida) and PCRM. I think there was a total of three events. My thinking is that if I donate to animal organizations in this area I can then, as a donor, suggest that they start doing their events differently (as in, have their events catered by Sublime). It's just an idea at this point, but there's so much lack of connection in this community, and it's ironically juxtaposed with deep concern and compassion. Maybe a little nudge will help shift their way of thinking and behaving.

I'll never know unless I try.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Paul #

    Many of us have realized the irony of "cat and dog" groups working to help cats and dogs while eating all sorts of other animals (and consuming their milk and eggs). I don't agree with the shift of COK, a DC-based grassroots group, to welfarism; however I thought I would point you to their Humane USA campaign, in which they have tried to get cat and dog focused groups to expand their circle of compassion:

    There might be some information there to help you in your efforts.

    November 20, 2008
  2. Paul,
    For some reason, I thought the days of serving animals at animal events were over. Thanks for the link. Palm Beach is probably the last place that will convert, so I don't anticipate spending much energy there, but I will send the material to the ED and some board members. I do think focusing on my area (which is far younger and does at least have some enviros) and its groups is the way to go.

    November 20, 2008
  3. Hi Mary – I certainly think serving non-animal meals at animal fund raisers/events is appropriate… And I'm glad that your vet is willing to work with you.

    My vet on the other hand is in the middle of an enormous expansion. She's great and her staff is wonderful… I've placed several litters of (found) kittens with her to find homes for. But other than than this her work is geared mainly to ca$h paying customers. Bringing my pets to her building (now with indoor dog pool) is beginning to feel awkward. I've approached her about the idea of offering low cost spay/neuter. A lot of whether I continue to use her services depends on her answer. But that's another day…

    I do have a question though I don't get what you mean: "And they're kittens, and friendly, and apparently the socializing group has great success with kittens (but better success with non-black ones)". Why are you saying black cats don't socialize well? What am I missing here? thanx…

    November 21, 2008
  4. Bea,
    I'm not saying black cats don't socialize well, but that the socializing group has better luck getting the non-black ones adopted after socializing them. Sorry, that wasn't clear.

    November 21, 2008
  5. Oh… so it's a superstition thing – with humans? I see. My "Hank" was a black cat – and there was none sweeter. Thanks for clearing that up 🙂

    November 21, 2008

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