A couple of months ago, Debra caught a cat that was doing OK on the street, but deserved something better. A big black feral tom, he had a twisted back leg that he sometimes used, and sometimes held up. He was holding his own, but clearly needed help. She caught him and brought him to The Owl House, and he was neutered at the SPCA of TC. The veterinarian there said he had an old break in his hind leg that was fused.
Clark is actually fairly friendly. He likes being scritched on his forehead and under his chin, and he meows for his wet food. But he will hiss and smack when only mildly startled, and he won't allow himself to be picked up.
In the old days, an injured non-social cat like Clark would have been put down without a thought, and in those old days, rightly so, since outdoor cats in many circumstances didn't get the care they do now. Clarke came back here for cage rest, to get weight on, get fleas and mites off, and see if his leg needed any more healing time. He was in a big two-level cage so he could stretch and move around.
Clark was supposed to go back to his original site, but Debra was concerned that there was too much cat competition at that particular location for a gimpy cat. So she decided to relocate Clark to a relative's house in the country, which had a couple of cats already that seemed to get along very well. There was a big garage to get out of the weather, and the cats were fed and watched over daily. So Clark and the two-level cage went off to the hills of Waverly, so he could be soft-released.
A soft-release (in wildlife rehab terms) means holding an animal in a cage right in their new habitat for a number of weeks, and then quietly leaving the door open so they can leave on their own terms, and even come back to the cage to eat and drink if they wish. Relocation of cats is never the best first-resort, since only about 60% of them "stick" at their new home. Luckily Clark was one of the 60%, probably because he had so much human contact at his original location.
Debra bought him a comfy bed, and he enjoys cuddling up in it on one of the garage shelves when he isn't exploring his new deck and lawn.
However there were a couple of cats at that location that weren't yet sterilized as well! So Debra set some traps and brought little Tuxie to the Owl House. She was spayed at the SPCA of Tompkins County and stayed with me for a couple of weeks before returning home entirely healed.
There is still one male left to get sterilized, but oddly enough, even though he is still a tom, he is getting along with Clark.
I can't thank to SPCA of TC enough for the spay/neuter spots. While they have to do their own residents, and other shelters with a great need than the Owl House, first, they do try to fit us in whenever possible. It's a haul to get over there and back twice a day, but with gas prices as cheap as they are, it would be absurd to complain. If I take three cats to the SPCA, I save almost $150 to $200 dollars even when the SPCA charges me their full price. When they have discounted spots, or if I am helping a person on state assistance, it can even be free or just a buck. I don't know for certain until I pick the cat up, so I come with money in hand, but it's nice to get a free "fix" and be able to stop by the store on the way home for more canned and dry food with the money saved, or be able to call up another person and say "catch that cat, we've got money!"
Now the summer has hit and there will be more kittens and pregnant moms, there will be fewer female spots available. But wow, what a huge help over the winter!