by Jackie Dale
Jackie is a part of Cat House On The Kings in Parlier and does a monthly column on the Cat House here at KRL.
The open house is just around the corner and everyone is crazy busy trying to get ready. It is not too late to donate to the silent auction. Remember, no item is too small or insignificant. Items can be paired up with others to create an always-popular gift basket. Quilt raffle tickets ($1), are still available. Remember, Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kitten Season Has Arrived
The cold, wet winter meant the kitten season was slightly delayed, but it is now in full swing. Kittens are coming at us from all directions. The calls come in and Lynea gives my number to people in our area who need help. She leaves it up to me to decide if it is a project I can handle. A lot depends on the circumstances and urgency, but I almost always say “yes.” I evaluate the situation, formulate a plan and carry it out. This includes housing the cats in my home until any necessary surgery and recovery are complete.
I strongly believe we need spay and neuter educational programs starting with elementary-age kids, because the lack of knowledge is what stymies most people. This was never more evident than when I was reading a thread below a meme promoting spaying and neutering. A 23-year-old woman did not even know what spay and neuter was. I applaud her asking; you can’t learn if you don’t ask, but I was shocked that she did not know what spaying and neutering cats (and dogs) meant.
I decided that if I were to write a book about TNR (trap-neuter-return), I would call it “But It’s Not My Cat” because that is the most frequent response I get from people. People must realize that in order to initiate change, to make their small piece of the world a better place for all, they must be willing to do for more than just for themselves. Those are the people I love to help. Sometimes I have to convince people that TNR is their only option, but once they realize this, they usually are on board with the plan. They are smart enough to know that the only option is to mitigate the problem and keep it from, literally, multiplying.
The manager of a local chain drug store was a perfect example. I went in to speak to him about the three cats living in a storage area behind the store. He wanted them gone, of course. I told him I had already removed two other cats, and had just released a female that I had trapped. There are two more to go. He said he would call animal control. I told him: “Good luck, because no one takes cats, no one.” I gave him “the speech,” and by the end of my visit he was offering to donate any damaged bags of cat food to me. Damn, I’m good.
A local post office reached out to The Cat House on the Kings about their cat issue and I was asked to help out. They wanted to fix the eight feral cats living in a fenced lot behind the post office. The employees, along with a couple of the other businesses nearby, were going to share the cost. I arrived and set up four traps. Within an hour I had four cats. I left with my load of cats to go to a nearby Burger King to pick up two more cats to be spayed the next day. While I was waiting, the post office called and they had another cat in the trap I had left. They drove it out to me and it took me quite some time, with some amused looks from bystanders, to figure out how to fit five traps and two carriers into my Sonata sedan. I finally managed to squeeze everyone in, barely. I set two more traps the following day and caught the two stragglers. I elected not to go for cat number eight, as they described him as quite old, so surgery could be very risky.A Reedley man called The Cat House for help with kittens born in his overgrown yard. When I arrived at the home, I found the kittens on the ground under some debris; mom took off running. I tried to use the kittens to lure the mother but she wasn’t falling for it. I took the babies home to feed and left the trap set. I caught her late that night. She was spayed and returned to the neighborhood. I kept the kittens for about a week until they were eating on their own and then off to The Cat House they went.
I always explain that while my services are free, someone has to pay for the spaying. I asked the family if they could afford to pay the $42 and they said no. However when I came back, they had scraped together $20. I appreciate their effort to help defray the cost, some people really have nothing to spare. The Cat House can sometimes help with fees but there is only so much money to go around.
No Rest for the Weary
April has been busy to say the least. At one point I had eleven cats at my home. The last black kitten from the Fowler McDonald’s stayed here while his new owner visited his mother. The kitten turned out to be an absolute love bug. The other two siblings are thriving in their very own barn with a fenced-in outside play area. Two cats from a local restaurant spent two weeks here until their new owner picked them up. They are also doing very well. Everyone had finally been delivered or picked up. I breathed a sigh of relief, but my relief was short-lived.The lady from last summer, who had thirty-five cats, called me in a panic. A dog had got into her fenced yard and killed two of her cats, severely injuring a third. She has no money for a vet so I raced out to get the cat, BonneyBoy, and get him to our vet. His leg was badly broken and a pin had to be inserted. The vet suspects there may be nerve damage that may necessitate amputation of a portion of the leg. Catalina is an elderly lady living on a meager Social Security check. She cares for her 38-year-old son who is in end-stage heart failure. If you could find it in your hearts to donate a dollar or two to help cover this expense, I know Catalina would be most grateful.
Please include a notation that the donation is for “Catalina’s Cat.” If you use The Cat House Paypal option, you will need to send a separate email with your name and donation amount so the staff can apply it properly. Thank you so much!Next on my list of projects was a nearby Best Western hotel. A guest who had stayed there contacted Lynea about the cats in the area. I showed up and the owner immediately showed me four kittens. I scooped up the babies and returned shortly with a trap. I set the trap and caught mom within an hour. Mom and kittens spent a couple more days together before mom was spayed and released. The kittens went to The Cat House where another rescuer had agreed to take the bottle babies. The following Saturday the hotel called again; they had found four more kittens in a storage shed.
They didn’t even have their eyes open. They will be bottle fed, and the plan is to trap and fix the remainder of the three or four cats. Then I received a call from a friend. An unknown mama cat had her kittens in the tiny crawlspace of their home. I gave him some suggestions on how to get them down. They finally ventured onto the roof and removed the cap from the ventilation pipe. They found a small orange kitten, cold and motionless. I told them to call Lynea and rush it straight to The Cat House. Karla administered the necessary aid, including a bath for a severe flea infestation. My friend then elected to bring the kitten to me to foster. His condition has improved and I expect him to do just fine.
Until next month, encourage spay and neuter whenever possible. I would love to be put out of this job.
Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section and remember that if you buy an ad in KRL you can designate 10% of the ad price to go to the Cat House.