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Story written by Mrs. Beverly Smith
To send your comments to Beverly about her please
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Above Image: Ginger and Mrs. Beverly Smith

TSPCA Contact Details

Shelter address:

Friendsfield Road, Bacolet, Tobago, W.I.

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 373, Scarborough, Tobago, W.I.

Contact numbers:
Phone: (868) 639 2567, Fax: (868) 639 9050
Weekdays - 8.30am - 4.30pm
Weekends - 8.30am - 12.30pm
E-mail: tspca@tobagoisland.com

In Emergency:
Phone: (868) 639 4342 or (868) 639 0292



































'Killer' Reformed - Ginger's Story

I am handsome, furry, white and brown, with four legs and a very bad reputation. I think I am about two and a half human years old; so in cat years about seventeen, a teenager. My early life I would like to forget; it was very hard; I had to steal food to survive; I fought and lived by my wits. They say a cat has nine lives - well I used up most of them.

One day about 18 months ago I was found in a very sorry state, after a particularly bad fight and taken to the Tobago Animal Shelter. My wounds were cleaned, I was put in a cage to rest and was given food and water. When I felt stronger I made it quite clear I was not staying in that cage. I yowled until they let me out and I just couldn't help it - so many cats, so little time - I started fighting again. My favourite trick was to lay full length on the rafter above the food bowls and when the others came to feed I had the element of surprise and jumped down on them with a cry of 'Jeronimo' ! There were some spectacular fights and lots of fur flying. The big people were not happy, they were very kind but I was told off many times. ''How are we going to find a home for you if you keep fighting and look like that - all battle scarred''.

A decision was made that I was to be 'altered', whatever that was. I was taken to the vet, put to sleep and when I woke up it was done. I really don't know what all the fuss was about. I rested for a couple of days to get my strength back and calmed down a lot. I realised that perhaps the big people knew what they were doing and I began to take more notice when visitors came to the shelter. It was time I had a territory of my own. Having to share with lots of other cats and kittens was a strain on my nerves. My reputation did me no favours and the battle scars were visible. Most people wanted a cute little kitten or puppy, so I was still living in the shelter a year after my arrival.

I used up another of my nine lives when the vet ran out of time to put me down - that was a very lucky escape. The big people despaired of ever finding a home for me and could not keep me for ever. I needed a new home, not just soon but now. I was on death row when a couple came to the shelter especially to see me, he and she had kind voices and gentle hands; I let them stroke me. Amazingly they were not deterred by my reputation. They said they were going away for a few weeks and when they returned they would take me to my new home - I was rescued. I had a future!

As promised she came; put me in a box and into a strange noisy moving room called a car. I yowled and tried to escape. She wasn't having any of it. We stopped at a house and I was unceremoniously picked up and put in the bathroom before I could catch my breath. I was terrified but it was clean, I had food, water and a toilet tray. Best of all I had peace and quiet, but I was no pushover. When she let me out of the bathroom the first time I tried to escape and when she tried to touch me I bit her hand good and proper. I was still frightened of everything and I had a reputation to keep up; but she was patient and sat with me for hours reading a book, not touching, feeding me little meals and talking in a quiet voice. After a few days I let her stroke me and it was nice, so I behaved better, did not bite and was rewarded by being let out of prison. I went round the house very carefully, yowling as I turned every corner. I was sure my old adversaries were hiding, ready to pounce on me and get their revenge. But no, I was alone. It was my territory, I was king of my house. This was getting better. Regular meals, peace and quiet, no sharing. I just might stick around.

The next afternoon she opened the front door and let me outside. OK, I thought, I will have a good look round and decide if I will stay or run away. I investigated the garden; found the gate, climbed thru and ran down the road with my tail up shouting ''I'm free, I'M FREE!'' It was great. I went exploring, visited lots of new places and quite tired myself out. After it got dark I thought of my supper, in the house with she. I compared it with my old life and decided no contest. I was going home, home, it felt good. I found the gate, went up to the house, she had left the door open. I ran up the stairs. She was sitting on the verandah with a girlfriend. Perhaps they were waiting for me. I gave a small meow to let them know I was home and wanted my supper. The welcome I got was something special. That was a few months ago now. She and I have a good understanding. This is My Territory. I will allow She and He to live with me as long as I get good food, a comfortable place to sleep and lots of affection. In return I have given up fighting and decided that being a housecat with the occasional outside excursion suits me just fine.

By the way, in case I forgot to mention it my name is Ginger and I am relaxing on the couch, snuggled up to she whilst dictating my story. There are lots of strays similar to me - kittens, puppies, cats and dogs - we did not ask to be born, it just happened. So if my story has encouraged you to help my former associates, please visit the Tobago Animal Shelter, Friendsfield Road, Bacolet, or send a donation. Every little helps. Just think of trying to care for and feed 40+ mouths every day. It is daunting - and no animal is turned away. I would not be alive to tell my story if it was not for the kindness of the Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, PO Box 373, Scarborough, Tobago, West Indies.
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