That’s a nice way of saying “the places from which we bust cats loose.”
Nobody ever says it, not directly anyway. I suppose there’s no appropriate way to say, “Oh, nice to meet you! So you work at one of those ‘hopeless situations’ from which we rescue cats. How are things going at your ‘crowded public shelter’ these days?”
One hundred percent of the time – not 95%, not 99%, but a full 100% – the people from the sending shelters are our kind of human beans. They live and breathe to love cats. They wake in the night seeing the tired eyes of the ones they couldn’t save. They’d give their gall bladders to save one shivering just-born kitten.
And they’d give more than just their gall bladders to see every cat sprung from a “hopeless situation.”
They are just like us.
I suppose it would make things easier, somehow, if the sending shelters were the “bad guys.” Everyone likes a clear-cut villain. Then we could all rally together and storm those Bad Mean Places with flaming torches, triumphantly rescuing the cats. Once we got them out, it would be a full-on Happily Ever After. Case closed. Black and white.
But there are no bad guys here. And the people of the sending shelters are very, very good guys indeed.
It’s much harder to fight a flabby, oozy, gelatinous problem than it would be to fight a single foe. But the thing we hate – the whole engine behind “hopeless situations” – is more like a drop of food coloring spread throughout a vat of water than a pebble we can pluck out.
It’s not “us.” It’s not “them.” We’re all united against “it:” the ugly ratio of too many cats to not enough adorers.
Spaying and neutering help (a lot). For the ferals, TNR helps (a lot). The sending shelters help as best they can, with their limited staff, capacity and budgets. They help a lot.
And, by the grace of God, we get to help – a lot. Somewhere early in Tabby’s Place’s conception, Jonathan had the wisdom and the grace to chart our course for a very specific path. Tabby’s Place would never be about numbers. We could easily take in and adopt out dozens (hundreds?) more cats a year if we just said “no” to the sick ones, the old ones, the batty ones, the terrified and angry and “special” ones.
But, in loving the cats as best we can, under Jonathan’s direction we’ve made “no” our villain.
And so, with all the love we’ve received, we pour “yes” into the ones who need it most, whoever they may be: young and old, sick and healthy, “adoptable” and cranky.
Our “yes” isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s fine. “We need us all” when it comes to fighting the oozy, ugly ratio. Some will focus on numbers. Our motor is individuals – from the Zinnias to the Yasmines and everykitty in between.
So when the sending shelters bring us their tired, their poor, their weary (and furry and phenomenal) “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” I’m honored to take their hands and look into their quietly heroic eyes and know that we are in this together. We can’t do what they do. They can’t do what we do.
But together, we can love with all of our might. And, heaven knows, there’s enough cats for each of us to play our precious part.