Before I moved to Japan, the crazy cat lady in me longed for a “box of kittens” that needed my help. Now that I live in Okinawa – an island practically swarming with homeless, feral, and/or dumped cats – I am overwhelmed by the “boxes of kittens” that come my way…
Just about a year ago, I had one of the worst experiences of my life when a little kitten I found passed away, after I failed to properly care for her. What was worse than the lack of knowledge that I had at the time was coming to grips with the fact that she suffered mostly alone, and that I walked away thinking the situation would resolve itself. By the time I went back, it was too late.
I still can’t bear how rejected and hopeless she must have felt.
In the year since losing Habu Lily, I have not walked away from a kitten in distress. I now have a small and unofficial team of cat lovers that helps strays with our own time and resources — from feeding to health care. We have a fluctuating network of fosters that help us care for high-need cases until they find forever homes. We implement trap-neuter-release (TNR), provide medical intervention for particularly sick or injured cats/kittens, and of course facilitate adoptions whenever we can. We have also engaged with local officials to ensure that inhumane methods to reduce the cat population are not used in our adopted colonies.
It’s hard work and a strain on emotions and resources, but we will continue to do it for as long as we are able. If you would like to help us ease animal suffering in Okinawa, please consider contributing to OkiPaws. Every little bit helps! 🙂