Toronto has a pending city workers strike. We are watching carefully. There is a cat connection here … so bear with me.
Some, oh, more than twenty years ago there was a stray cat hanging around my workplace. He clearly wasn’t well and was suffering terribly. I was able — shockingly easily able — to crate him and with a heavy heart headed off to the city animal shelter. When I reached the shelter there was a picket line across the driveway. My heart sank; I believe in unions (for the most part) and did not want to cross the line. On the other hand, I had a probably fatally ill, suffering cat in the car. I rolled down my window and told the strikers my situation. They were awesome and polite; “Of course, go ahead, but we’ll probably hold you on the way out”. Deal.
So I took this poor boy into the shelter. The beleaguered and harried shelter manager came out and, tensely, listened to my story. “Well, we’re probably just going to put him down.” I told her I realized that, but that I didn’t want him to suffer anymore. Her attitude did a complete 180°. She relaxed and was compassionate and friendly. Clearly, she’d had this discussion with well-meaning people before and it had gone quite differently. She took him away, returned my carrier, and off I went — not even getting stopped by the workers on the picket line.
My point here is that no one likes this situation. It is hard on all parties and just because they’re on strike, doesn’t mean the workers stop caring about the animals. Probably they care more; worry about what’s happening or will happen to them. And managers are overworked and must worry about being able to give enough care to their charges.
Unfortunately, the pending strike will affect our shelter workers again. Fortunately, this time around, they have Toronto Cat Rescue to help! We recently got this message:
Other than the veterinarians and the shelter managers, TAS staff are unionized. If a strike occurs, there will be NO staff available to care for the animals. TCR has been following the developments closely and we have been in regular contact with TAS about this. [TCR is] putting a plan in place to ensure that no cats get euthanized as a direct result of this situation. More details will follow but we will be asking for some extra help with fostering, driving, screening new foster apps, etc.
Very likely, because of Oprah and her possible kittens, I won’t be able to take any other fosters, crisis or not. So once again, I ask any of you who are in the city, please consider being an emergency foster parent. You can absolutely make this a one-time deal. And either the cat will be adopted through our system or, probably (I don’t have details yet) it can be returned to the shelter when the strike is over. Keep in mind, shelter cats DO have to be quarantined from your own pets for two weeks.