Friday, January 27, 2023

A Maui Cat Named Rusty


I came across a touching memorial for an orange tabby cat named Rusty,
and I thought a photo of Rusty's face would be a cute one for Nicole's Friday Face Off
But, as I tried to find out more about this beloved feral cat, I fell down a rabbit hole.

Since it took me a while to find my way out of the warren,  
I've postponed using the photos I have for Rain's
Thursday Art and Dinner Date theme Scarves until next week.

Into the Rabbit Hole ~ A Scarves Preview 
Waikiki, Oʻahu, Hawaii
January 23, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I stumbled across Rusty's memorial while walking through a gulch
between the Marriott Hotel and the Elua Condos on the Wailea Beach Path in Maui.

A Distracting View:  West Maui Mountain
Along the Wailea Beach Path, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
January 23, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Trail Map Near Rusty's Memorial
Along the Wailea Beach Path, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
January 23, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved
 
But the story behind Rusty and his memorial was much bigger than I knew.

Rusty the Cat
Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
January 18, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Curious to find out more about this feral cat who inspired the memorial,
I started searching online.
I quickly discovered that Rusty was one of Maui's many "community cats,"
a catchall term for all cats, including feral cats, 
that live outdoors and are unowned and free-roaming. 

I learned that Rusty had lived by the gulch for twenty years, 
and he was known to visitors from all over the world.
No one owned Rusty, but caretakers took him to veterinaries
for checkups or for treatment after fights with other cats.
One caretaker took Rusty home twice, 
but he always found his way back to the gulch.

Tributes to Rusty
Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
January 18, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Rusty was an informal ambassador for Maui,
because he greeted so many people who walked by,
many of whom returned year after year to see him.
Sweet and friendly, Rusty gave and accepted love from countless people.
He died on 9/18/22 from cancer of the jaw.

Rusty
Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
January 18, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Unfortunately, as I searched for information about Rusty,
I also learned that feral cats are a widespread ecological problem
for Maui and the other seven main Hawaiian islands.
Approximately two million feral cats inhabit these eight islands.



are one of the most devastating predators of Hawai‘i’s unique wildlife
and that even well-fed feral cats will instinctively hunt and kill prey.

Feral cats also spread a potentially lethal parasite (Toxoplasma gondii) 
which contaminates terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments
and negatively impact birds and mammals – including humans.

Feral Cats at ʻĪao Valley State Park, Maui

As I read about organizations trying to address the feral cat problem
(Maui Humane Society,  University of Hawaii, Save Maui Cats, Maui Forest Birds, etc),
I realized what a complex and tragic situation the feral cats present
and that there is a lot of disagreement about how to deal with them.

Feral cats are not just a Hawaiian problem.
PETA estimates that between 60 and 100 million homeless cats live in the U.S.
Their lives are short and hard, and they do not die of old age
(Rusty was a rare exception).

PETA says that The American Bird Conservancy estimates that free-roaming cats 
kill millions of birds and small mammals in the U.S. every year,
including endangered species. 
And this is just in the U.S.  It's a worldwide problem.

This feral cat near Brisbane has caught a Pale-headed rosella.

Part of the solution begins with cat owners,
because feral cats are often the descendants 
of unaltered cats who were abandoned by their owners.

Cat owners anywhere can help to reduce the number of feral cats.  
They can spay or neuter their pet cats and keep them indoors or safely contained.
They can microchip their pet cats so the cats can be returned if they become lost.
Also, they should never abandon their cats if they can no longer care for them. 
Instead cat owners should surrender them to a local animal shelter
where the cats have a chance of being adopted.

Meanwhile, some of the people who loved Rusty have created 
a Facebook page, Rusty Mauicatin memory of Rusty.
They have formed The Rusty Cat Collective, a volunteer group dedicated to humanely addressing the feral cat overpopulation issue on Maui.

Rusty ~ Facebook


There are no easy solutions for dealing with the feral cat problem.
I hope that effective and humane solutions can be implemented,
sooner rather than later.

Terry and I don't have pets, because we like to travel,
and we feel it's unfair to keep leaving an animal behind 
in a pet care facility or with a pet sitter.
I have donated to an animal shelter in Denver for many years,
and I had representatives visit my class annually to discuss caring for pets.

I'm going to pick one of the charities working on the feral cat problem 
in Maui and start making donations to it as well.
It's a start.  
I'm not going to forget a Maui cat named Rusty 
or the impact cats like him have on their environment.
My eyes have certainly been opened.

Rusty ~ Facebook

🐈   ðŸˆ   ðŸˆ   ðŸˆ  ðŸˆ  ðŸˆ   ðŸˆ   ðŸˆ  ðŸˆ 
 
Wishing you fascinating rabbit holes to fall into.
You never know what you might learn. 





Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

  My next post will be on 
Wednesday, February 1, 2023  ðŸ¤ž



On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







🐈   ðŸˆ   ðŸˆ   ðŸˆ  ðŸˆ  ðŸˆ   ðŸˆ   ðŸˆ  ðŸˆ 


Community Cats:
“Community Cats” is a term used to describe outdoor, unowned, free-roaming cats. These cats could be friendly, feral, adults, kittens, healthy, sick, fixed and/or not fixed. They may or may not have a caregiver. These cats also may have 1 or more people in the community who feed and watch over them but are not household pets. This definition, the only outdoor free-roaming cats who are not community cats are those who have an owner. Community cats are cats that may be social or unsocial, but cannot be traced back to any one owner.



57 comments:

  1. What a sweet Scarves Preview! Thank you for sharing the interesting
    information and photos.
    Happy weekend x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sirkkis! I hope you have a happy weekend to. Hugs to you!

      Delete
  2. Sadly you are right. It is a world-wide problem and like so many such problems it starts with us. I do hope we can find a way to finish it too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Humans have really impacted the Earth. While I was flying over the North Pacific, I kept thinking about how serene and beautiful ii looked, and then I'd think about all the problems facing humanity and our gorgeous planet. I alternate between hope and despair. I hope we wake up and start truly addressing the damage and threat of climate change. Have a great weekend, my friend. I'm looking forward to your Sunday photos. xx

      Delete
  3. Happy Rabbit year to you too! Rusty looks like a majestic queen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Rabbit Year to you, Roentare! Our condo building on Waikiki has been surrounded by celebrants. The drums for the dancing lions reverberated off the nearby skyscrapers, and a whole lot of firecrackers exploded. It was quite exciting! Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  4. ...feral cats and free range chickens are everywhere on Maui. I sure miss walking along the beach and view the west Maui mountain. Enjoy your stay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tom! I have been aware of the feral chickens for decades. I was introduced to them on my first visit to Hawaii when we stayed in a cabin in Waimea Canyon State Park almost forty years ago. But I was oblivious to the feral cat situation.

      The views from the Wailea Beach Path are among the most beautiful in the world, imho. I'm glad you got to enjoy them, and I hope you get another chance to see them.

      Delete
  5. I find rabbit holes daily, some days I fall into them rather willingly. Thankfully, as I am retired, they don't make me late for work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're kindred spirits, Gene! I spend a lot of time in rabbit holes ~ lol ~ it's one of the joys of life to keep learning. Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  6. Rusty may have been unowned but he was well taken care of.
    Abandoning animals is so cruel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right, Alex! Have a happy weekend, my friend!

      Delete
  7. My best friend lives on Maui. I'll have to ask her if she knows about Rusty. Such a pretty cat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rusty is a beautiful cat. I love orange tabbies. Have a great weekend, Diane!

      Delete
  8. Great post about Rusty and the feral cat situation everywhere. I do love the rabbit and how you fell down the rabbit hole. You are too funny. Thank you for joining FFO and have the best day ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank's R's rue (I hope this is you!). I hope you have an amazing day too!

      Delete
  9. Being fond of cats, and especially orange ones, I loved hearing about Rusty. What a life! I love how people just took care of him as community. It looks like a wonderful time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad that you enjoyed hearing about Rusty, Jeff. I wished I had met him. I remembered taking a photo of a feral cat near where Rusty lived last year, but when I checked my photos, it was a different cat. We are having a wonderful time. All the best to you this weekend! Take care!

      Delete
  10. Oh yes, feral cats are everywhere in Maui. Thanks for your in-depth post about the problem! Here's a much more superficial post I wrote a few years ago about one unlikely "rescue organization" in Kihei -- my post doesn't say it, but they so spay/neuter the cats too:

    https://shewhoseeks.blogspot.com/2012/03/the-feral-cats-of-kihei-rent-car.html

    And My Rare One and I have walked the Wailea Beach Path! We would go in the morning before it got hot (no shade on that path!) and then have lunch on an outdoor terrace of one of the swanky hotels. My Rare One saw Steven Tyler at lunch there one time but I didn't, because she kept telling me to look and see "Mick Jagger." She didn't realize who she had actually seen until much later when we were watching him being interviewed by Oprah, lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoyed your feral cat post, Debra, and also learning about Kihei Rent A Car. We, also, like to have lunch at one of the swanky hotels along the path. That's about all that fits our budget. Fortunately all the alcohol I can handle now is one drink, no matter how delicious they are ~ It keeps our bills lower ~ lol! Terry is delighted at the bill reduction! I haven't seen anybody famous at one of the hotels, although I'd love to see Steven Tyler.

      I had infusion #7 in Honolulu yesterday. We took an uber to the infusion center by the airport; but, sure enough, we took a bus back to Waikiki. While I was attached to the IV for two long hours, Terry was quizzing the staff and finding out about buses. Sometimes compromising is hard ~ lol! Have a great weekend with your Rare One.

      I was thinking of you two while we were on Maui. Take care!

      Delete
  11. Fantastic story about Rusty. When I was younger I used to help catch feral cats, which were then neutered and set free again, and it's a never ending problem. Have great weekend, hugs, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Valerie! Thank goodness for good people like you! One of my best friends ever and her husband helped catch feral cats in Fullerton, California for many years. Their cars had trunks with lots of cat food, and they found ways to get many feral cats neutered. Neutering feral cats is an important step. It's amazing how many offspring can result from unneutered feral cats! Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  12. I learn so much from rabbit holes. Rusty was a lovely and loved cat. We have a terrible problem with feral cats in my city and my neighborhood. When I moved here in 2009, I never heard a bird sing. Since then, people have been encouraged to use humane traps to capture feral traps and take them to be neutered or spayed. I'm seeing and hearing the effects. While a friend and I were working on a project a couple of days ago, a wren sang to us from a bush in my front yard.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's wonderful that you heard a wren singing, Janie! I love birds, and fortunately I hear quite a few at home. We've had a few finches land on the railing on our lanai and sing, here in Honolulu. It amazes me because our rented condo is on the 28th floor. Birds are beautiful and fascinating creatures. We need humane solutions for the feral cat solution. They had no say in their situation. They were cruelly abandoned or born into a feral life. Have a great weekend! xx

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. Yes he was, Christine! I love cats, but I know I am not in a situation to have one. People really need to think when they take on a pet. It is a huge commitment, and we don't want people abandoning pets if the commitment becomes too big. Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  14. And you are right, we are the problem, not the cats. When I lived on the lake people used to drop their cats in our neighborhood all of the time. My neighbor and I would rescue them, take them to the Vet, get their shots, get them spayed or neutered and then find them a home. My cats "Da Boyz" were born in a closet in our spare bedroom because I rescued the mother and the vet wouldn't spay her because she was about to drop a litter. We had her spayed and placed her and one of her kittens with a friend and kept Da Boyz (who, I might add were the love of our lives for 18 years). We now have two female cats who were both rescued in the same way and are indoor cats and lovely pets. My heart breaks for the "community cats" and I know people get angry because they hunt, but they wouldn't be hunting if they were in a warm, dry home with food in their dish and there wouldn't be so many of them if people would be responsible about caring for their pets. So you see, you opened up a rabbit hole when you started talking about Rusty ... and I fell right in. All we can do is educate and hope and do whatever we can when we can ... like you I am sometimes hopeful and sometimes in deep despair. A sad but wonderful post Louise ...

    Andrea @ From the Sol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Andrea, for your thoughtful comment! And thank you for all you have done for abandoned cats over the years. I loved hearing about Da Boyz who were with you for 18 years. How wonderful! My hearts break for the "community cats" too. It's definitely not their fault. Solutions have to include compassion for and humane treatment for the free-roaming cats. They didn't ask for the situations they find themselves in. Have a happy week! Hugs to you!

      Delete
  15. Sorry to be late visiting. My internet (and phone) have been out due to the storm that ravaged my area.

    I have a "friend" who had a cat he refused to neuter, There were cats all over the neighborhood that looked like him. One day when he was visiting, the Humane Society van appeared in my driveway. Apparently his cat that he allowed to roam got in a fight with a dog and the cat was killed. His neighbors told who owned the cat, so they showed him his cat and gave him a very stern order the next cat he got he should neuter his cat and keep him inside. I tried the same advice, but they were far more stern and persuasive than I. It all begins with mindset and education.

    Both my cats are neutered and Squiggles is chipped. Neither goes outside, although Bleubeard used to follow me to the garden before Squiggles came along.

    Thanks for this insightful tribute to Rusty and how people can help feral cats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Elizabeth! That was brutal lesson from the Humane Society, but, hopefully the society saved a future cat. I'm glad that you keep good care of your pets. Have a great rest of your weekend!

      Delete
  16. Elizabeth - thank you so much for visiting my blog and your kind comments.

    Your post is a terrific "rabbit hole". I love cats, and I love wildlife too, and it pains me that feral cats take the lives of so many important species. We must work together to solve this problem - you outlined some very practical steps (and you are taking them yourself) - well done! I am renewing my plans to help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting, Elizabeth! I love both too. I'm glad that you took my post to heart. Have a lovely weekend!

      Delete
  17. Wow. That is an old age for any cat. Indoors or outdoors. Sounds like a great kitty indeed. Yeah. Bunch of bleep owners help to start/add to the feral cat problem. They are everywhere. But the one thing I have to laugh at, not saying it isn't true just a bit of denial, is that many humans single out the feral cats(or other species) for bird loss, environment, etc. and yet magically forget about the cutting down trees, putting up large buildings, and polluting the crap out of the planet that a certain other species does 1000 times more than any feral animal. Cat or otherwise. I guess ignorance is bliss lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right, Pat! There are many factors that are impacting the environment and wildlife and plants too. I'm a big believer in starting where you can, where you have control and impact. If I consider everything, it's overwhelming and demoralizing. I believe that if enough people the world over start where they can, it adds up to a whole lot. That's my hope for my beloved next generation and wonderful kiddos the world over like your young nephews and Baili's three sons. I continue to have hope, because if I don't have hope, I've got nothing. What really slays me is the people who say, "Well, I'm not going to be here when climate change happens, so I'm not worrying about it," and they just go on changing nothing. I hope you have a great week, my friend!

      Delete
  18. Unrestrained domestic cats, and feral cats, are a huge problem for songbirds, and are responsible for the deaths of countless millions. It puzzles me why there are so many regulations pertaining to dog ownership but almost no licensing or other requirements for cats, and one may own as many as one wishes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You raised a point, David, that I hadn't thought of! Something else that could be changed that could make a big difference. There certainly should be a limit on how many cats you can own. Have a great week!

      Delete
  19. Indeed Louise, I agree with you. This probleme we saw in Greek too. There are to much cats and nobody is reponsible. I`m sad about this poor animals...

    ...by the way, we get every day a visit of a male cat like Rusty. He belongs to a neighbor and he is always coming to us. We didn`t feed him but he swallow the food of our cat Luzie.

    Thank you for your visit, your nice comment at least ... you are welcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Erica. Too many feral cats is a problem everywhere. Thanks for your visit, and you have a great week!

      Delete
  20. Wonderfully researched post on Rusty ~ so glad he lived so long despite being a feral cat ~ quite a tribute ~ I do know that there is a lot being done to deneuter ffera cats ~ but it is never ending and people are the problem not the cats ~ like any problem pet ~ sigh

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carol! I love orange tabby cats, and I couldn't resist finding out more about Rusty. Yes, we humans are at the root of many problems; but we can get educated and become the root of the solution too. Have a good week, my friend!

      Delete
  21. It makes me shudder to see all those feral cats on the loose. The unique life forms of Hawaii have been under severe stress since the first Polynesian arrived there, and it continues to this day, with so many species now extinct. The average tourist sipping a Mai-Tai has no idea, and probably couldn't care less anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's sad to think that someone aware of the problem couldn't care less, but I know there are people like that. One of the solutions to the problem is education. People can't help or change if they don't know what's going on. I knew about the feral chickens in Hawaii, but I didn't know about the cats. I hadn't seen many running around. Now I know, and that's why I couldn't write just a cute post about Rusty. Thanks for your heartfelt comment, David. Enjoy your week.

      Delete
  22. I've read about feral cats being a problem in other countries but I no idea just how bad it is until now. Rusty was a lucky kitty to have gotten such attention from locals and visitors from around the world. Thanks for sharing your discovery of the memorial and life of no doubtingly a friendly Maui repurresentative. Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cathy! My eyes have certainly been opened. Sometimes it feels like the world's problems are overwhelming. What keeps me going is the hope that people start somewhere and address a situation they feel passionate about. Enjoy your week, Cathy!

      Delete
  23. Thank you for telling us the touching story of Rusty. How gratifying that at least he - although in freedom - could also lead a form of sheltered and long life. (He reminds me a bit of our Maxwell ❤️ who died two years ago.)
    Unfortunately, it is really sad how many neglected animals there are, cats and also dogs, and yes, they obviously also cause damage to e.g. wild birds because they want to survive. Of course it's again up to the people who don't care about anything - don't castrate, don't supervise or abandon the animals right away because they don't want them anymore... :-(
    ALL THE BEST to you!
    Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2023/01/manchmal-kommt-es-anders.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Traude. I admire people who devote their lives to improving the lives of animals, especially those who rescue animals from cruel situations. People who get pets and dispose of them because they're too much bother really infuriate me. Having a pet is a serious commitment! All the best to you, Traude! xo

      Delete
  24. I visited Maui on my first trip to Hawaii. But that was looong ago. So don´t remember much of it. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand how that goes, Monica! Now that digital photography is so easy, I remember things better. My camera is like a visual diary. Enjoy your week!

      Delete
  25. When I lived on an island in Georgia, there were feral cats and people who protected them and fed them... Others wanted to get rid of them... but then came the coyotes and the problem went away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those darn coyotes turn up everywhere. They even made it across the ice to Newfoundland! Have a good week, Jeff!

      Delete
  26. Have a beautiful day. Regine
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Louise! ♥ Feral cat problems are very serious. I always feel so sad for those cats who have no homes, at least they have good weather in Hawaii so they don't freeze in the north. What a nice story about Rusty and how the community took care of him. When we were in Quebec, there was a similar feral cat problem and it all stemmed from one very irresponsible neighbour who refused to fix the cats and they just kept reproducing over and over and he banished them to outside. Whenever people had enough money, they would pick one up and bring them to get fixed and try to find them homes. Sad situation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It hurts my heart to hear about cats freezing to death, but of course they do in the north. What a sickening story about your former neighbor, Rain. I can only imagine how much it bothered an animal lover like you. You are a special animal angel in this world. Hugs to you, my friend!

      Delete
  28. Dear Louise I know you have an utterly sensitive heart that ache for all around you!
    Your concern, love and worry for feral cats is shining through your beautiful words.
    The story of friendly cat Rusty is heartbreaking and heartwarming my friend. He must have been a wonderful cat who inspired humans en to keep him alive in thoughts in times when it seems hard to remember close to heart people.
    I appreciate the effort you are going to make for the protection of street cats. This will surely be a great tribute to Rusty.
    My heartfelt best wishes for this great cause are with you.
    I hope you and Terry are doing great on this beautiful island. Sea image is cap!!!!
    Please keep taking good care of yourself! Hu and love

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, for your kind and understanding words, dear Baili! Rusty's story really impacted me. I love cats, and I would love to have one, but it doesn't work for us ~ especially since Terry doesn't like them and we travel.

      I was really sad to hear about the terrorist attack in Peshawar, so many innocent people injured and killed. I will never understand violence and hate. We experience it almost daily in the US, although not on the scale of the tragedy in Peshawar. If I could have any wish, I'd wish for all the guns and weapons of war to vanish from our planet.

      I love the view of West Maui Mountain and never tire of seeing it. Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I enjoy looking out at the ocean and mountains everyday, especially when I have my morning coffee.

      I've had infusion #7, and my eyes continue to improve. One more infusion to go. The people at the clinic in Hawaii were wonderful. I was noticing this morning how clearly I can see people 28 floors below and everything else without my glasses. I still have some double vision when I look up or out of the sides of my eyes, but I can live with that. I'll be able to drive again when I get home beyond the three mile radius I've been confined to.

      I've been spending at least an hour in the swimming pool at our condo almost every day. It has really helped my hip and limp. I can walk almost normally, and I can stand and balance on my left leg while my right leg is lifted off the floor. For months I couldn't trust my left leg because it wouldn't take my weight. It would fail on me, and I would fall. Now I have to work on stamina and increase the distance I can walk. normally. So you can see, Baili, I am really doing much better. And I am so grateful!

      Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and blessed weekend! Much love and hugs to you!

      Delete

Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.