Monday, June 7, 2010

Stories from the front line...

And So....The Troops Move On.
I swear, cats are better than coffee. At least, that’s the way I choose to wake myself up in the morning. Another day, another cart load of cats found their way to the SF/SPCA.

The Feline Care Coordinator has to face the same challenge every day. Who will be the best candidates for adoption and where am I going to house them in a shelter already filled to capacity with cats and kittens? Combining the science of shelter medicine, cat behavior and the logistics of housing them appropriately, cats are taken from San Francisco Animal Care and Control (ACC) each day and moved into the San Francisco SPCA for adoption or medical recovery.

The flow never stops. There is no rhyme, no reason, no timing or predictability. Cats just keep coming in and you have to do the best you can to keep them healthy, happy and headed towards homes, no matter how tired you are, no matter what’s happening in the world around you. Animal welfare stops for no one and quite frankly, this is the life we chose. I am thankful for my place in this collective effort, every morning I hear those cries for help.

This weekend was especially heavy for intake. We took seven adult cats from ACC in just one morning, including four black cats and an injured cat that fell out of a window and suffered an apparent stab wound or impalement to the stomach. “Geez, this is going to be a long morning”, I told myself. With the onset of kitten season and the economy literally dumping cats into our shelter, the challenge is to be prepared for anything and I do mean anything!
After spending my morning at ACC evaluating cats and kittens for adoption candidacy, I push the cart full of cats across the street and back to our Shelter Medicine intake room for their first physical exam. We rule out any immediate concerns on the first day, thus paving the way for appropriate housing and care. Our Animal Care Attendants scramble to provide kennels complete with the enrichment they will need. It’s triage at its truest definition.

Today, the room is full. The techs are stretched thin, working on treatments for our maxed out cat & dog population and still…we charge forward with seven more. Tomorrow will likely be no different then today. Bring it on.

After these cats are examined, housed and fed, its time to keep a close watch on their behavior. Sometimes cats stress out in shelter environments. Let’s face it, they were probably very comfortable in their prior home before they ended up “in the system”. Understandably, cats will stop eating, tense up and react harshly to attention in an unfamiliar setting. Sometimes you find out the hard way that cats don’t like other cats. Hmmm, now where do we house you?

As each day grows closer to adoption, we hope and pray that all our hard work pays off. Each cat deserves an army of animal lovers to help them find their way. I am proud to be a soldier in that army. The war calls to us. Every day we open our eyes in the morning. They need us. They need you.

Daniel Quagliozzi
Feline Care Coordinator
The San Francisco SPCA

You can sponsor a cat in the care of Daniel and the Feline Care team, and assist the SFSPCA in our work to place more animals, and save more lives.  Visit our website for more information.


A J Cowitt said...

I said it on fb and I'll repeat it here: Daniel and his colleagues on the Feline Care team absolutely amaze and inspire me with their amazing compassion, commitment and stamina!

dani said...

Do you need/want any volunteers for your kitties? I currently have some free time (until I fix the under-employment) and would love to help. I'm not allowed pets in my apartment, so I can't foster :(

San Francisco SPCA said...

Hi Dani! Yes, we are always seeking new volunteers to join our program! Please visit our website at or call our Volunteer Office at 415 522-3523 to learn how to get involved. thank you!