The Ocracats Story

The Ocracats Story

Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time with the right people and a miracle can happen. Tuesday night, August 19 Ocracats received a call from a concerned visitor staying at a rental cottage in Oyster Creek. They reported that the friendly orange kitty that they (and others ) had been feeding for three years during their vacation week, looked shaky and to be in bad shape. Belonging to no one, it was a domestic pet that had been abandoned and left to fend on its own. Now it was in trouble.

I received the phone call and knew there was a vet on the island doing a clinic the next day. After some basic research, it became clear that the kitty had no caretaker other than the transient guests and locals who often put out food for the strays.

So I met the renters the next morning, explained that the vet might need to euthanize the kitty since I believed from my research that it was 18 years old and deaf. With their help, we got the kitty in a cat carrier and I took her to another Ocracat volunteer who had an appointment at the clinic on the island that morning. The vet reported that the kitty was around 5 years old, obviously not the kitty I had heard about. She was very dehydrated and might have kidney disease. The vet was going to draw some blood to check that and to see if she had feline leukemia. The kitty received fluids to rehydrate and was then returned to Oyster Creek and released.

I talked with the tenants who rescued the kitty and mentioned that she lived on the streets and had no one to look after her suggesting they might want to consider if they could adopt her. I expected a quick no, but instead had a thoughtful nod. I told them the results of the blood work showed no leukemia but kidney disease that was causing the dehydration. They said they were considering adopting her but that it was a tough decision. They already had four other cats.

Ocracats is funded by donations, and from income we receive for the sale of t-shirts, notecards and calendars. With this we feed all the colonies of ferals at a cost of around $500 a month and pay all costs for spay/neuters of ferals and rescued kitties. We had grant money but that has now run out. We also keep a small stock of medical supplies and budget up to $100 for vet costs for sick cats.

The harsh reality is that we don’t have a vet on the island and in most cases a call like this comes when there is no medical backup and all the Ocracats volunteers are busy working long hours during the busy season. A trip to the vet in Buxton is easily two hours each way. Ocracats volunteers are not trained in veterinary medicine and can do little more than offer some comfort and creative problem solving when a crisis occurs.

Yesterday I received a text from Tony, the visitor who initially called me about the Oyster Creek kitty in trouble. He wondered if he could pick up a cat carrier, they were going to adopt the kitty they have named Keegi and take her home to northern Virginia.

With medical treatment, she could live for another 5 years or longer. Without the help from these concerned visitors, she probably would have died by September.

Ocracats is deeply appreciative and grateful for all the donations and efforts from visitors and locals that makes our assistance to the feral cats possible. Thank you to everyone who helps. If you love animals and live on Ocracoke, think about being a volunteer with Ocracats, it is worth it.

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