Meet Sadie Rocket (a.k.a. Sadie Rockstar).
She’s a feral cat (that's "wild" to those not in the know) who found me. She was born wild or abandoned very young in my community, gave birth to a litter and was smart enough to relocate her brood to my side of the street and a former neighbor who feed everything and everyone who wandered by. Once old enough, we found homes for the kittens and a local feral cat rescue; I trapped her, had her spayed at a non-profit hospital (BTW, she was already preggers again...yes, we have an overpopulation problem) and released her back. After that, she came around now and then for some eats (when working with a feral cat rescue, you agree to release and continue to care for/feed the feral as needed). Of course she hated me and everyone else; in fact I named her Sadie because she was “Satan” in a fur suit. Mean and hissy.
One very cold night, I found her curled in a ball on the front stoop, near delirious from the 9-degree-below temps. I made her up a bed from a pet carrier and some blankets and, after time, she came to trust me. It's crazy to watch a wild animal learn to trust. I’m no Dr. Doolittle, and have been scratched and punctured enough times since, working in cat and reptile rescues, for that to sink in. But when you have the compassion for animals, you just have more compassion as a human being period.
I'm amazed at the number of pet owners who abandon animals because the new boyfriend-girlfriend-grandchild is allergic or those who move away and leave their former companions behind. A larger percentage than is acceptable surrender because the grown animal is not good looking enough. If a dog is lost or running loose through your neighborhood, local animal patrol will come and capture that animal, take it to a shelter and try to locate its home. They do nothing for cats, leaving them to their own devices. The punishment for animal cruelty and neglect is pityful. Some view the care of thrown away animals as a waste of time, money and resource. Perhaps if we had more compassion for those so open to it, we could reach out a little more all around.