Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My favorite charity

We support Trap-Neuter-Return programs.
One of the questions that a global Rosicrucian has to struggle with is: Who should recieve my compassion and charity? We swear to help "heal" the world; but unless we are a member of the medical profession, our oath focuses more on healing the minds and general conditions of the world than it does the physical well-being of individual bodies.

Part of the question that we must struggle with is the fact that the entire world is in trouble. There are more people who need help than there is help available; you will never run out of people who need help. You can always give more...until you have nothing left to give.

(Jeff Goins talks some about this in his book Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life.)

So we must decide where to focus our attention. Some people choose to focus on the global level, or the needs of the citizens of other countries. And that is ok.

I, on the other hand, chose to focus more locally. Part of the reason for this is simply the fact that I grew up poor. I was one of those kids who ended up eating free school lunches, and ate stuff from the local food banks. And if I was not redirected to another charity, I would probably be focused on helping a local food bank.

But I got side-tracked into a different type of charity and healing work. A type of healing work that does not involve human beings. That is right; I ended up working with cats.

How it happened was simple. When my wife and I brought our house, it came complete with a feral cat colony. The problem with feral colonies is that unless someone becomes their care-taker, the cats in a colony will continue to breed and overpopulate an area. This results in many deaths by stravation and disease among the poor cats caught in the situation.

The easiest way to deal with the problem (besides people not abandoning un-fixed and fertile cats in the first place) is to control the colony. Relocation does not work because more feral cats will just move into the area if a colony disappears; the same thing happens if you completely destory a colony. The only way to control a colony is to take care of it. And the first step in caring for a feral cat colony is to neuter and spay the existing members of a colony.

Once my wife and I became aware of the feral cat colony, we started to rescue the kittens who could be tamed, and fix the cats who could not be. Several males had to be put to sleep due to disease. Since then, we had to do several more rounds of trap-neuter-return. We also have to make sure that the colony gets fed--ask me about my cat food bill; it is like feeding a four-legged army.

The two cats in the picture that accompanies this post are two of the cats that we rescued as kittens two years ago when a new round of feral cats came into our neighborhood. They are really sweet cats. You really cannot see it in this picture, but both of their left ears are nipped (this is to let colony care-takers and other people know that these cats have already been fixed). We did not originally think that the two brothers would be tamable, but they seem to like being petted, fed, and allowed to lay on the sofa. I would be hard-pressed to tell that they were originally ferals if I did not already know.

So that is the type of charity that I am involved with--a local cat charity. It is not better than those people who work with people, either locally or internationally. Nor is it worse. It is just the type of charity that I am best suited to work with. And in the end, that is what determines the type of charity and healing a Rosicrucian does--the personality and skills of a Rosicrucian determines the type of healing that they do. Therefore, a difficult question turns out to be very easy to answer once one knows oneself.


Peregrin said...

Thanks for this lovely, moving and inspiring post, Morgan. I agree completely with your sentiments about the Rosicrucian tradition and the best suited, personal, approach to compassion in action.

Wish there were more such projects for the cats.

Harold Roth said...

Glad to hear someone else is doing cat charity. I began doing ma'aser in November of last year. I've divided my monthly donations between the local homeless shelter, the food bank, the county humane society SPCA shelter, and Alley Cat Allies, which does a lot for feral cats. It feels good.