Caring for Ferals in Baltimore

By Janet Mercer I’ve been SPCAI’s webmaster for over 4 years, and it’s been a privilege to be associated with this wonderful organization. So much so that this past spring, I decided I wanted to devote even more of my time to animal rescue, that’s when I discovered a group of people called Park Heights Animal Welfare Group. These dedicated volunteers go into a rough section of downtown Baltimore 4 times a week to care for several colonies of feral cats and have been doing it for 7 years. They trap, spay or neuter and return cats and also trap cats that clearly need medical attention, give them the necessary medical treatment and then return them to their original location. Kittens are removed, socialized and adopted. The group is also working to educate area residents by conducting informative workshops. I’ve been participating by maintaining our supply of cat food and by feeding the cats once every two weeks. It’s heartbreaking to see the environment these cats are trying to survive in. Most of the residents do not understand feral cats or why they need to continue to live where there are rather than be eradicated. Feral cats were unsocialized as kittens and therefore are unsuitable as pets, but they certainly deserve to live a good life where they are. Two weeks ago, I found an adorable tiny kitten we named Lola. She was hiding in the grass for a moment, but then came right out to meet me. She purred and purred when I scratched her head. Both of her eyes were running terribly. She willingly let me pick her up and take her to our holding location. She was seen by the vet, was spayed and had her eyes treated. Unfortunately, she lost her sight in her right eye due to infection. She also tested positive for feline leukemia and so will stay with her foster mom, who already has another cat with the illness. She certainly would not have lasted more than a few weeks on the streets. National Feral Cat Day is October 16, when many organizations will be publicizing the work that they do and teaching the public about feral cats and why they should be saved. Park Heights Animal Welfare Group has rescued many kittens this year that have needed extensive medical attention and would welcome any donations to help with these ongoing expenses.
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