Part Two: When human homeless and community cat colony collide
HIYA!! SAVANNAH HERE!!!
As you know I set a real life cat vs human dilemma in front of you all with my Monday post on April 29th. It is a story surely to repeat itself across the USA as homeless humans and homeless abandoned community cats compete for the same safe outdoor environment.
Namely, lots of low hanging trees, lots of higher dense shrubs, access to water, food. You can read the following dilemma I set forth last Monday:
The dilemma: The colony cats, resulting from abandonment by humans, require a very similar environment, meaning natural foliage cover, trees, access to water, food etc. as many humans who are also currently feeling abandoned after our inability to offer affordable housing in this area. Same habitat needed by both in general. Places where they can hide, camp out, not be bothered by humans who do not approve of their existence and those in authority who must enforce public nuisance ordinances, etc.
The assumed solution: Remove any cover in which the homeless can hide their tent encampments and believe that community cats are resilient and adaptable and can fend for themselves.
Now for the solution. It comes in stages. The first stage was shocking to those of us who have for over a decade cared for the cats in this colony. Without notice, the city removed a large part of the foliage which the cats have for years called their home and safe spaces. I have a slide show to share the before condition of the cats home.
You can see the cats had lots of safe trees and shrubs to get away from the rain, cold and extreme heat we have in the Summer. Now let me share what happened after the city had to come into the park and remove all the literal fortresses the human homeless had created.
There were booby traps throughout the shrubs the cats used for shelter—razor wire woven into the shrubs by one homeless person to keep others away from their space, broken water pipes so they could get easy water rather than use what was available in the restroom area at the park. Drainage areas torn apart to use the cement to build fire pits to cook and provide heat. There was a deep pit that could only be accessed by use of a boat ladder. A child would easily fallen in and we don’t know what was down there.
The city is continuing to remove all vegetation that offers possible hiding for homeless encampments at this city public park. They have a great expense to repair all the damage to the park infrastructure as well as the cost of rebuilding the park services.
Our city is working with Mom L and Dad P’s new city focused humane management and care for community cat program, Project Delta View Cats, to make sure that the city replants this area with cat friendly vegetation. But, that vegetation won’t grow high enough to hide the human homeless encampments. Now our residents are starting to return to use this beautiful park knowing that their families will be safe and have a lovely park environment once again—it will take a year or so, but it will be a park for families and a park where our remaining cat colony residents will again feel safe and be able to find shelter.
The photos below are of the only cats Mom L and Dad P could see directly after the park was cleared of homeless encampments.
Mom L visited this past week to take photos of the remaining kitties and we feel so fortunate that she has photos of eighteen returning kitties!! The feeding station you see, along with three more, were provide by our city. They are great partners in working with us to manage and deliver humane management for our city’s community cat population.
The homeless were all offered assistance in finding safer and cleaner shelter when they were informed that the city would be cleaning up this park. Some accepted, others declined and are attempting to return. That is up to the city and the homeless. For now, we are just working on making this space as comfortable and hospitable as possible for this colony of long ago abandoned community cats.
Our dilemma is not done—but our path forward is looking promising.
Let me hear your thoughts about our unfolding solution to this dilemma.
PAW PATS, SAVANNAH