I’ve had a bit of massive disappointment. A little while ago, I talked about the cats in my neighborhood, we live in trailers and the abandoned and outdoor cats have turned into a colony of at least a hundred cats. I love cats, and even though Joe can’t stand them and wanted to keep them away from our trailer (they tear up insulation around the pipes), I wanted to do something.
I got it into my head to do some TNR (trap, neuter/spay, release). In our area, an organization will do this for $20 a cat, meaning I would have to raise at least two thousand. I thought I could do that with my writing. I looked into it enough to find out who to call about the cats, sat down to plan a novel (only one of several things I was going to try), and have been working on research and prewriting for a couple of months now. I put off researching how to tend to a cat colony until I was ready to start related material in the book, and by the time I got to the research, things started getting upsetting.
The thing is, cats vs. birds happens to be one of those old debates that has problems coming to a solution. People are passionate about each side, and TNR is not quite the solution I was thinking it was. I assumed that feeding cats would decrease predation on birds, but that might not be true. Or it might be. Or cats preying on birds might not be the issue we make it out to be. Or it’s bigger. Or TNR is a massive waste of resources.
The reason it’s hard to tell is because most of the studies seem to be biased or suspect in some way. Even before looking at criticisms, I could still spot issues that made me wonder about their methods. They all raised good points, and they all contradicted each other. They all ignored certain issues, and some possibly purposefully used outdated material or cherry picked samples to back up their claims. Some historically significant information may even be made up entirely.
That’s what happens when you let your heart rule your science, it leads to confusion, and being too vehement against your enemy makes you look sketchy yourself. These people have talked me right into doing nothing at all.
I was even doing my “knit while contemplating stories” thing with a cat’s paw lace scarf, and the disappointment was so much that I unraveled it. I had to pick a new project to soothe me and keep my muse from sulking.
I’m making a nice fisherman’s lace scarf now, dark waters and entrapment are nice things to contemplate while thinking of horrorable Valentine’s day stories. Not sure how long it will last, but I seem to be tickled with a sanguine holiday spirit. I can still write the novel, after a bit of playtime. I’ll leave in a few of the cats.
P.S. – Joe isn’t entirely cold hearted about them. He’s promised that after he fixes our skirting, and yes, some busted pipes with torn up insulation, he’ll build a little shelter the cats can hide in. I had to promise to stop feeding them, but there are quite a few people around here feeding them so they won’t starve.