It used to be that I let people walk all over me. Some may say that’s still true, but I’m trying to do better. The problem is that instead of just always having an assertive, confident attitude, I initially believe people’s opinions/criticisms/complaints of me. If I start to believe they are wrong and then they continue to opine/criticize/complain, it drives me to madness and then I explode at them. Not really a good way to function, but I come by it honestly and I'm trying to improve.
I bet you’re wondering what brought this on. If you aren’t and don’t really care, move along. If you aren't up for more adventures of crazy cat ladies, likewise move on. If you have nothing better to do, please proceed.
When I left Tampa and had to tell one of my crazy cat friends I was leaving, she took it upon herself to keep an eye on my dumpster kitties while I was gone. I didn’t ask her to because I find Dean to be more than capable of feeding a bunch of stray cats once a day. I knew that Dean wouldn't be able to do Spay Days, but I knew he'd alert me if there were sick kitties or a new batch of kittens. At that point I'd decide whether or not to involve one of my cat friends. Anyway, the aforementioned friend became quite upset one day when she was "keeping an eye" on my kitties, and found a sick kitten. First, Dean had told me there were new kittens. He's had enough experience to tell roughly how old they were, and when he told me they were about 10-12 weeks, I knew it would be difficult to find an organization to take them and socialize them. If I involved anyone they would likely ask Dean to foster them- something he's not willing to do without me there to guide him and I respect that. After weighing the circumstances in my head, I decided that I'd have to swallow my lumps, feed the extra cats and have them fixed as soon as possible. Granted if I were home things may have been different, but I can't pass up my intership to stay in Florida and feed feral cats. So cat friend rescued the kitten and brought him to the vet. He is now recovering nicely from conjuctivitis and a respiratory infection and all the time at the vet has socialized him enough that he can be someone's house kitty. Any takers?
Anway, so that was the first incident. I don't blame her for rescuing the sick kitten, but I was a little irked that she has been hanging around my kitties just because I'm not there. I was further irked when she asked me to help pay for said sick kitten. I'm not sure what the etiquette is on that.
The utter lunacy started when Dean was about to come up here for his visit. I had asked the friend if she could feed my colony while Dean was away because while runnergirl was feeding my housecats on a semi-daily basis, the colony required daily feeding. She said that she was too busy. Fine. So I asked another crazy cat friend (friend #2 in this saga) to do it. After she agreed, friend #1 had a change of heart and said she wanted to do it. I said I had already found someone. So she insisted on feeding evenings while friend #2 did mornings. I told her it really wasn't necessary, knowing she would likely do it anyway. Now, when I was still in Tampa I always fed in the evenings becuase it was convenient for me. So if friend #1 was ever in the neighborhood and stopped by, she likely always saw cat food back there. But I don't know for sure how often, if ever, she checked on my kitties. It has since become absolutely clear to me that she has been checking on them since I've been away because she doesn't trust Dean. And since Dean feeds in the mornings, which is more convenient for him, if she stops by in the evenings there is no food. And that has made her completely apeshit. I had a feeling she was feeding in the evenings, but didn't say anything about it. While I was a little irritated that she doesn't trust Dean and thinks she needs to supplement my colony's food I have also realized that she will do what she thinks is sufficient no matter my opinions and my instructions for Dean.
The situation was making me mildly tense but not unbearably so until last week. She sent me a frantic email about how busy she is and could Dean please help her out by feeding the kitties in the evenings as well. I'm not sure if it was the implication that Dean was so deficient that he should now become her assisstant or the fact that Dean didn't do anything any differently than I so she basically gave me a back door insult, but it was probably a combination of the two that caused me to deliberately type out one of the iciest emails I've ever written. I feel really badly for having to do it, but this needed to stop. The comments implying that Dean wasn't doing a good enough job, the asking for money for hurt cats, the obvious resentment for leaving my cats for three months- I just couldn't take it anymore.
The worst part about this whole situation is that it hurts everybody. It hurts her that I had to go ballistic on her and tell her to back the hell off. I love that she cares for the kitties, that there is someone on my side and someone I can go to for help. But it has been outweighed by the fact that that same someone is makeing me feel totally shitty about the job Dean and I are doing back there. How is it that I can pour time, money, and emotions into these cats but I feel like the scum of the Earth for having to put my foot down? I basically had to say, "no, I will not tell Dean to feed the cats more frequently because I don't think they need it." I feel like a total bitch. On the one hand I feel like I'm depriving my kitties but on the other, I feel like if I did what she said I'd have been manipulated and under her control. Isn't it enough that my wonderful husband goes back there and feeds them 3(!) pounds of cat food and gives them fresh water and takes attendence? I could do ask him to do more, but then what would come next?
To contrast this behavior, friend #2 sent me an email yesterday asking my permission for her to "renovate" my colony area. She took the day off of work to do improvements on her own colony and thought mine could use it too. I was touched and not insulted because she nicely asked if she could do this for me. She added that she was doing this solely because I was a "special person" to care for the kitties. I know there are better people out there- people willing to take on more, to do the things friend #2 does, but I let myself be flattered at a time when I desperately needed it. She also offered to do a Spay Day for me in August because she knew the kitten situation was stressing me out. The PetSMART fairy will be leaving her a generous gift.
I didn't hear from friend #1 again until tonight. I suspected that despite my tyrade she would still continue feeding my kitties at night. I honstly couldn't care less. I'm sorry if that makes me a bad cat caregiver, but I think I explained my reasons. She called and left a message about how wonderful it looked, how friend #2 did such a great job and since there were new bowls back there, could Dean please not "ruin it" by putting the cat food on the ground. This is another issue I have with her- her insistence that I use petfood bowls back there. My arguments are (1) if I use a cardboard or foil type bowls they get blown or pushed down into the woods and cause garbage to accumulate, thus annoying management (2) if I use nice ceramic bowls homeless people steal them and I'm out good money and (3) they are strays and are used to eating off the ground and in all sorts of conditions we don't want to consider. Anyway, the "Dean ruining it" comment was what started my monster rant. I'm so mad that I'm letting this get to me. I'm upset about the fact that rather than appreciating the time and money we put into this she has to be overly critical and well, a bitch about it.
That's the end of my rant. Please feel free to give me feedback if you are so inclined. I have always thought that if heaven exists, there ought to be a special place for people that care for feral cats because it is a thankless job. Now, I'm ammending that to: There ought to be a special place for those that listen to their crazy rants.