Browncoat Cat Rescue's main focus is feral cats.
Why feral cats?
They aren't the cuddliest of creatures, that's for sure.
Feral cats are tenacious, and social, and deserve compassion just as much as anyone else.
There is something about socializing a feral kitten, and watching that fear turn to love that is intensely rewarding. And as they say, it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it!
In my younger days, I was oblivious to the plight of feral cats.
All that changed when I received a phone call from a spunky old lady. She had gotten my phone number from a friend of hers, and was calling to save the outdoor cats she had been feeding. In her words, her neighbor was "a real witch" who planned on calling animal control to trap and destroy the mother cat and kittens living on their shared patio. (In the 90's, TNR hadn't really caught on yet, and the solution to feral cats was euthanasia.) The idea of someone killing a mother and her babies was abhorrent to me, so I asked her if she could put them in a carrier, and I'd take them away. She was worried, because they were completely untouchable. I had a small squirrel sized live trap, and I showed up at her house the next day with that, and a bucket full of optimism!
I managed to catch the four kittens rather easily, although moving them from the trap to a carrier in this woman's (incredibly pink and frilly) bathroom was a learning experience! After catching the four kittens, mama was wise to the game, and left of her own accord. I came back a few more times in hopes of getting her, but it wasn't in the cards.
Meanwhile, I had four feral kittens in my house! I put them in the bathroom, since it was small, easily cleaned, and where all my rescue critters started out. Stray kittens can be nervous, feral kittens are TERRIFIED. These guys climbed the walls, scaled the shower, and one little girl managed to wedge herself into the heating element so tightly that I had to take it apart to get her out. My mind was blown. I had never met an animal so full of fear, and now I was responsible for four of them.
They couldn't stay in the bathroom, since they were destroying it trying to get away. I had a very large multi-level rabbit cage that I moved them into. That way, they could be part of the household, without being able to hide away. They were roughly eight weeks old when I trapped them, and socialization was a slow process. I reached out to everyone I knew; vets, humane societies, fellow volunteers...all the answers were the same. Feral cats weren't worth the trouble, and they should be put down. Hearing that, while watching these kittens start to trust people was really disheartening. They were learning about love, and kindness, and trust. But there was no support for them in the greater community. I kept at it, and they continued to bloom.
I was incredibly lucky, in that two of my neighbors were looking for kittens. They asked if they could borrow all four, and pick the two they liked the best. They fell in love with all of them, and decided to keep them. They lived out the rest of their days as inside only cats, safe and loved.
From start to finish, this was a real eye opener for me.
There are people that feed cats, without touching them, or providing anything beyond food.
Those people don't know what to do.
The options that are out there suck.
It is worth making the lives of these cats and kittens better.
I can do that.
And so I did. I bought a cat sized live trap, and started talking to people. A co-worker with twelve cats on her land led me to a Vietnam war veteran with forty five on his. And just like that, I was in the feral cat game. I wouldn't have it any other way!
I am the Captain of Browncoat Cat Rescue. I have been independently rescuing cats since 1998.
(I started bringing home unwanted cats when I was about 4 years old, but I don't think that counts as official rescue work.)
When the decision was made to found a rescue organization, with its own mission statement and finances, one of the more entertaining questions was, "What should it be called?"
Life supplied the answer for me!
BCR focuses on feral and abandoned cats. The ones out on the fringe, not really being cared for enough, or at all. A lot of the places we trap cats are off the beaten path. And there are always cats and kittens being treated as disposable in all walks of life.
Often, as I told people what it is I do, I would get the question, "Well who do you work for?" They would then proceed to list every Large Organization they could think of. And I would answer, "No, don't work for anyone, just an independent, trying to make a difference."
As of 2013, BCR is made up of ten foster homes, one and a half trappers, and a network of amazing people.
We are the little guy, standing against the tide. We don't have a ton of funding, or wealthy sponsors, what we do have is heart, and guts, and a burning determination to do right.
If you don't understand what Browncoat means, just understand that it is a symbol of fierce independence and strong determination against all odds.
And for those of you that know, you get a cookie for being so shiny!
The Captain of Browncoat Cat is a self proclaimed crazy cat lady. Of course, we're all mad here...