"Your heart must be breaking."
Both the complex manager at the first meeting, and a MEB district manager (or whatever-- she never gave me her job title), at the second (and disastrous) meeting, informed me of this. And yeah, of course I'm saddened (and oh boy, there are other words that come to mind, such as horrified, disgusted, disheartened in humanity, etc.) about the fate of these cats. But in the moments that this phrase was applied to me I was actually far, far more angry than anything else. And not even entirely about the cats, but about *people*, specifically *these* people who simply refused to listen to me. I don't even mean that they refused to agree with me, I mean simply 100% refused to listen to me, as clearly as if they had put fingers in their ears and went, "LA LA LA LA, I CAN'T HEEEEAAAARR YOOOOUUU," like a five-year old.
I haven't written since that horrific meeting for a number of reasons-- not least of which because nothing has changed. (And the legal system, when it comes to animal abuse, is slow and overburdened, and so I have not yet heard back from the various authorities I contacted about MEB's illegal dumping of the feral cats. And when I do, depending upon what I hear and what's happening, I might not feel comfortable putting it in such a public forum anyway. We shall see.) But the other part is because much of what I've been thinking about and feeling is about me rather than the cats, and that wasn't, isn't, the purview of this blog. That horrible, bullying meeting that day actually changed my worldview about people, and not for the better.
"I'd wish on them compassion."
During this horrific process, I've been leaning on friends for advice and to simply listen to me rant and rail about the unfairness of it all. Some of them have been feral caretakers and some of them are simply decent human beings, and I'm grateful to all of them. And many of them have been *you*, those of you who read this blog, even if you don't comment.
In speaking with one of said friends last night, Tam, she said something close to the title of this entry-- she'd wish compassion upon these managers so that they'd understand precisely what it is they're doing.
"We are not killing these cats," one manager insisted to me several times (in both meetings, even.) The first time I pointed out that by taking the cats to the Humane Society, that was precisely what they were doing, even if she herself was not physically the person who took the life of the cat. Theoretically (and I have expressed before why I do not have a baseline as to what to believe from these managers, no matter how much they insist that they are not and have not lied to me) they are now "removing" the cats and letting them "free" in some other location. I attempted to explain what precisely that means to the cats-- territorial creatures who (with management's permission!!) had become dependent upon human provided food sources. Even if the cats were relocated *correctly*-- which is a many week process for each cat!-- there's a strong chance that the cat would not acclimate to its new surroundings and would attempt to get back to its home territory (and likely get hurt or killed in the process.) And we all know that they are NOT even attempting a proper relocation of the cats.
These are not people who sit at home pondering ways to make the lives of these cats miserable, nor are they people who genuinely dislike cats (even the ferals.) [They assured me of this so may times that it became a mantra for them, although any rhetorician or speech writer will know that this is false logic given the particular argument has nothing to do with these particular people's feelings.] These managers honestly believe, as far as I can tell, that they are doing the Good and Right thing by releasing the cats they catch (in really rather terrible traps). Because their hands aren't the dirty ones, they are able to hide behind the thought that they aren't doing anything wrong, they think they are not causing suffering. And when I tried to enlighten them about the realities, they metaphorically stuffed their fingers in their ears and refused to listen. My wish is like Tam's, that they would suddenly understand what they're actually condemning the cats to.
I have a few more posts in mind for Project-Cat, general type stuff on ferals, on what I did wrong with the project and what feral care-givers should do different, and on how you can help feral cats in general. I'll be moving from my current location-- for reasons that should be perfectly obvious to anyone reading this blog and man, I hope I never, ever see anyone affiliated with MEB ever again-- and I really and truly and fervently hope that there are no feral cats at my new home. (Given the size of the feral cat population in this particular metropolitan area... well, fingers crossed at any rate.) This means that this blog's nature, when I post, will have changed from updates on these particular cats to posts on ferals in general. I do hope you still read and I do hope you still find something interesting here. And I will update on specifics whenever possible.