Alley Animals - Newsletter

Summer 2003 Edition
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Raggedy Ann

by Alice Arnold
In This Issue:

I found her in one of my new areas. Along with approximately five other cats trying to survive there, this was one I knew I had to work hard to rescue. The alley is especially dangerous with a major street at both ends and bus stops drawing people; if this weren't bad enough, the row of condemned houses on one side would be brought down by the City crews soon. For animals, this area is very bad.

Every time I saw the little longhaired cat I tried to coax her close with food, but she was too frightened of me. I realized that taking this one off the streets would take time, but time was not on my side. Cars flying by in both directions at either entrance to the alley weighed on my mind. Gradually the cats in that area learned my car and my call as well as the feeding spot, but sooner or later I knew they would go into the street, possibly looking for water or possibly because people chased them. I couldn't take any of the cats right away--I had to determine whether any of them were nursing mothers. This took several weeks of feeding and observing. Each time I pulled into the area I dreaded seeing one of these innocent creatures dead in the road.

Finally I was familiar enough with the cats there to know who I could safely take without risking leaving helpless infants behind One night when I arrived, Raggedy Ann was drinking rain water from a street puddle. She would be my first rescue attempt of the group since she didn't seem to realize how much danger she was in, standing in the street. I opened a can of enticing food and approached her. She ran under a car. I don't know how long I worked with her, trying to gain her trust, but it felt like hours. As soon as I had her in the car with me I knew that the waiting and the work were worth every minute: I reached my hand into the carrier and she rubbed against my fingers as if to ask me to stroke her head. In foster care with Jeanie Willis, Raggedy Ann proved herself to be a most agreeable and gentle girl.

Since then I've been working on getting the rest of the group out of there and out of danger. So far I know of one for sure that I won't be able to rescue--my worst fears came true. I found her body on the pavement.

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