We moved to our current, semi-rural house 10 years ago with 10 cats. The house had been abandoned for a couple of years, and there were 14 cats and kittens living in it.
As neighborhood cats realized there was constant food, they came to dine, and some chose to let us care for them.
Along the way, we saved a dog that the neighborhood children were trying to kill, took in a street dog and her puppies, and adopted a Golden, whose family could no longer care for her.
Eventually, feline leukemia took hold among our cat population. We dropped from a high of 44 cats to 36. Other cats have met a variety of fates. Sofi needed a damaged eye removed, then broke a leg before getting used to the loss of vision. Luna, a dog, needed surgery to remove several pieces of hollow buckshot from all over her body. Tessy, Valentina, and Xabi had immunological problems. Shorty went into cardiac arrest, while Stretch went into renal failure. The list goes on.
Our neighbors, mostly uneducated farmers and their families, don't spay or neuter. One spring we took in 7 kittens and two dogs that were tossed over our fence at night - both covered with mange.
We rescued our donkey, Polly, from a life of non-stop foals and heavy loads. More recently we took in Tia, an older donkey, who was living alone in a field.
We currently have 31 cats, 3 dogs, and the two donkeys. As you might imagine, we spend a fortune every month on feed and vet bills. We do our best to give these pets the best care we can, but it's a constant struggle. Sterilizations, vaccines, dental cleanings, flea treatments, worming, the occasional medicines for wounds, eye infections, etc. break the bank and don't get done nearly as often as they should, even though the cat/dog and the equine vets keep their prices as low as they can for us. The above total takes into account day-to-day expenses, not taking into account veterinary emergencies, which are largely impossible to calculate.
What's the alternative? Let the animals live feral lives? Take them to the city shelter where they assembly-line electrocute animals? My heart won't allow that, so we've gotten in way over our heads.
Here's a generalized breakdown of expenses in Mexican pesos converted to US dollars at the end. Vet bills are basic, as the serious problems are difficult to anticipate:
Food 300 pesos every 5 days = 22,000 pesos annually
Vaccines @500 per cat = 15,500 pesos annually
Consultations @600 per cat = 18,600 pesos annually
Leukemia kit @700 per kit avg 4/yr = 2,800 pesos annually
Deparasite int @400 per cat x 4x/yr = 49,600 pesos annually
Depar. Ext @125 per cat x 4x/yr = 15,500 pesos annually
Castrations @500 per cat x 3/yr = 1, 500 pesos annually
Spay @1000 per cat x 2/yr = 2,000 pesos annually
Euthanasia @450 per cat x 2/yr = 900 pesos annually
128,400 per year on the cats
Food @440/30 days = 5,280 pesos annually
Food cans @300/4x year = 1,200 pesos annually
Revaccination @535 per dog = 1,605 pesos annually
Depara. @80 pesos x 10 kilos = 3,000 pesos annually
Consultas @180 pesos x 3 = 1, 620 pesos annually
PUPPIES (at least 2 get dumped off every year)
Vaccines @1175 = 1, 175
Castration @800 = 800
Spay @ 1500-2500 = 2,000
Feed @65 pesos/bale = 6,760
Vaccines @200pesos 4x x2 = 1,600
Farrier (trims)@100pesos x6 = 600
154,040 pesos = 11,[email redacted] pesos=1USD
The peso has devalued further recently @ about 16 to the dollar, making food and care even more expensive.
Negligence and abuse are rampant. Your help to help us save these innocent animals is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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