I'll start simply.
Please, please, PLEASE get your pet cat neutered or spayed. If you are breeding them, then keep them indoors!! For NO REASON should you let them outside when it's -20 degrees. PLEASE, if you let them outdooors, put a collar and ID on them.
I have the cutest little fellow sleeping contently on my lap. Normally this gives me warm fuzzy feelings, but it brings me anxiety because I am looking for a home for this fellow.
I've watched him (I've named him Salem) and his (I think) sister (my husband named her Smudgie...why men can't give pets good names, I don't know) as they grew from kittens last summer. They often came around the yard hunting birds that hung around. They were both playful, chipper, and affectionate...enjoying their summer youth.
Winter came and I saw them less. This is good since it means (I hoped) that they had a home. But I began to see Salem more frequently as the winter progressed. He was not neutered. When I put food out for him, he gobbled it up like he'd never seen it. Driven by the hormones of an unneutered male, he ignores the safety of a warm home and food to find any pussy he can get. Yes, I mean that word both ways.
He had no collar and no way to find if he had a home. But his repeated arrival at my doorstep in the dark cold nights of winter told me I had to do something. Off to the vet for vaccinations, deflea, deworm, and neutering. He gained 5 pounds in 3 weeks because he still doesn't trust that there's food for him whenever he wants.
By the way, I'd keep him except for my allergies and the fact that I already have a cat and she won't allow it (aka sleepless nights)
He's the sweetest thing ever and I'll find a loving home. No bad ending.
His (possible) sister came around last week. I hadn't seen her since December. She was skin and bones...and clearly nursing kittens. I fed her. There was little else I could do since I don't know where the kittens are and can't risk their lives. Again, no collar. She's still young that I could find a home for her too if I could get her to the vet, but there's no way to know when she's weined the kittens completely.
Flashback to 2 years ago with an unneutered male cat (Rocky since he had 6 fingers on each paw) that lived 2 years (killed by a racoon) and another fellow (Romeo since he howled for my female cat every morning under the window) a year ago that had a home but disappeared because his hormones drove him wild and wandering.
At least I got Salem before the streets got him.
It's cold comfort to me, since yesterday's snowstorm (1 foot of snow) brought 'Thomas' to my door. He's an unneutered male homeless fellow with battle scars all over. I've seen him around for more than a year, but he's too untrusting of people to let me get close enough to help.
Thomas sat outside my door covered in enough snow to look like a yeti. The tips of his ears and tail are bleeding from frostbite. For the first time, he came indoors to eat, but didn't trust me enough to allow me to close the door, but had that 'thank-you' look in his scarred eyes for the chance to shake off the snow and eat some food before heading out again.
Salem has a chance of a good home since I got to him early enough. Thomas has little chance. Perky little young cats that purr and paly and snuggle find homes. Mangy, scarred, earless old tomcats get left behind.
I'll do my best to find a safe haven for Thomas, but I'm not hopeful. All that I'm hopeful for is that someone will read this and it will make a difference for another cat out there. I can only hope and pray.