Looking for Sanctuary?
By Catherine Clyne
During the summer a little black and gray tiger-striped
kitty started hanging out on our stoop. Soon, belly to the sky “I’m your
buddy, aren’t I cute?” writhing on the hot cement was accompanied
with friendly mewing. We duly started putting food and water out, even
a cozy box for naps. It quickly became a daily ritual. Happy green
eyes, scent-rubbing against the stairs and faint purrs, this cute-as-a-button
street cat always stopped short of allowing us to touch.
Eventually we borrowed a humane trap from an ASPCA officer buddy, and
got our act together arranging an inexpensive spay/neuter, “Finn” floundered
in a cage in our cellar. Within two days, we discovered for certain he was a
she—Mama Finn gave birth to seven kittens in her litter box!
We had been warned. Earlier, a passing neighbor caught us getting to know the
street cat and joked that Finn was practically nesting on our stoop—just
look at her hairless belly, she pointed out, and indicated that Finn probably
already had a litter and most likely another on the way. She chuckled about the
father—a white and gray tom we’d noticed wandering around the hood.
Turns out, he was “hers,” only he wouldn’t have anything to
do with “that neutering business,” as she put it. Such an attitude
is really beyond comprehension and we vowed to eventually trap and snip “Monkey
Man,” as we dubbed him—granted, against his will.
Trick or Treat
It’s an understatement to say the past few months have been very difficult
for everyone, on many very different levels.
In our little corner of Brooklyn, Mama despised being cooped up, hissing and
swatting at us every time we drew near. She resignedly nursed the constant onslaught
of hungry little ones. Our crew of seven mewlers got fleas early on, and our
family of four boy felines were not happy with the new guests, to say the least—Mama,
the kittens or the fleas!
On top of it all, my feline love of 12 years, Leon, went into kidney failure.
My partner and I tried to keep a lid on things: caring for a dying loved one,
keeping our boys stable, trying to appease Mama and making sure the wee ones
stayed healthy and happy. Early this fall, the world seemed to end, when my handsome
gray Leon died in my arms. It was a surprise, and yet it wasn’t. The loss
continues to feel colossal. Still, life goes on.
A Mean Season
This political season has been exceptionally trying. Here at Satya, we did our
best to keep abreast of all the positive things people were doing to put up the
good fight. But even just watching was exhausting. Throughout, we found that
increasingly, we needed sanctuary from this mad, mean world.
So we naturally turned to those offering refuge: sanctuaries for nonhuman and
human animals. Thus this double issue was born.
We can be heartened by this selection of strong women, who looked in the face
of evil and drew inspiration out of it, making this world a slightly better place
for all. From Jill Robinson rescuing bears from vile bile farms in China to Carole
Noon, who shows that patience can outlast the longevity of evil after buying
out the notorious Coulston Foundation which used to conduct invasive experiments
on hundreds of chimps. And more, if you read on.
We hope you’ll find solace and inspiration in the stories here. In this
post-election depression, we’ve got to give ourselves sanctuary and take
refuge in the fact that there are many people out there doing good work.
Fall Springs Eternal
In her first week here, Satya’s Managing Editor, Kymberlie, rescued a skeletal
sickly white Maltese. After surviving the devastating sudden passing of her canine
sister Perdie, a senior toy poodle she rescued the previous year from euthanasia
at a local shelter, Kym opened up her heart…again. We all cried at the
sight of him: a tiny shivering hairless blind mess, terrified eyes scabbed and
oozing—with even a hole in one of them—pussing scabs all over his
messy bottom. There but for the grace of god he was. We really weren’t
sure he’d make it, and in the hot July heat, we all shivered.
Today, Jack has more than doubled his weight and romps around the office. His
eyes are still milky and will remain so, but he can now see shadows. And he just
had his bright white curls trimmed! He’s the toast of every party and happily
travels at Kym’s side in an assortment of fashionable bags and belly packs.
The only haunting evidence of his past life is a crippling fear of being separated
Since Leon’s passing, we’ve adopted out five of the seven kittens
to loving homes and have grown very attached to Popeye and Sasha, both spitting
images of their mother (and are available for adoption if anyone’s interested—just
contact the Satya office). Mama Finn was spayed and released—she just can’t
tolerate being kept inside against her will. But she and Monkey Man hang out
in our garden constantly and we feed them every morning and night. And a level
of stability has returned to our boy brood, although they’re all still
jittery, unsure of where Leon’s gone and where the kittens keep disappearing
We all need to be extra good to ourselves this holiday season, and remember that
life goes on and people—animal and human—will always be in need of
So, take some deep breaths, do a little yoga, drink lots of beer, take a nature
walk, have a pajama party and serve Joshua Ploeg’s fabulous crepes (recipes for
which are in this issue), and/or watch The Daily Show. Whatever it takes to regroup.
We need you strong, positive and inspired.
From all of us at Satya, we wish you a peaceful and lovely winter.