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The Cat House on the Kings: Caring For 1000 Cats

IN THE June 22 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
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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.

It has been about a year now that I have been writing this column on behalf of the Cat House on the Kings. The reason I do this is to further the cause of bringing the Cat House into the public eye and encourage donations. It costs quite a bit of money to take care of 1,000 cats. I also strive to promote our mission to provide low-cost spay and neuter services and most importantly, the education of the public on the importance of spay and neuter.

Kitten up for adoption

The importance of the education portion of our mission was never made clearer than with a recent incident. There was a post on Facebook from someone looking for a specific breed of dog with the stipulation that the dog not have been fixed. I replied with a comment that breeding dogs for the sake of making money was socially irresponsible in a society that was already overwhelmed with homeless animals. I was told, in so many words, to mind my own business. I responded that this is exactly my business and threw out some facts and figures on the dismal state of animal welfare in this valley. Their response was a new one for me. I have never in all my years heard this particular reason to not spay or neuter your pet. Are you ready? This person stated: “It is immoral to spay and neuter animals because they are unable to give their consent.” Really? Surely you jest! My response was to state that I saw very little satisfaction in having a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. This person is the winner of this month’s “You Can’t Fix Stupid” award.

Second place goes to the lady who has a never-ending stream of free kittens posted on Facebook. A polite comment about our low-cost spay services was met with a reply to “Keep my offensive remarks to myself” and a lame excuse about how “accidents happen”. To claim your prizes, please call us and repeat these words: “Yes, I am that stupid”.

My family and I are currently fostering four orphaned, Lynx Point Siamese kittens. Their mother was killed and they were so young they needed to be bottle-fed. They have now progressed to swimming through their meals in a pie pan in the bathtub. I found that feeding them in the tub made for easy cleanup. My husband is being a very good sport about sharing the bathroom with them, even when they try to climb his legs. They are cute and rambunctious kittens that will grow into gorgeous cats. When they reach 2 pounds they will be spayed and up for adoption.

Lynx Point kitten being fostered by Jackie

I recently received a call from a teacher at an elementary school here in Reedley. He said there was a mother cat and some newborn kittens living under a shed behind the cafeteria. I went to the school where the cafeteria workers had caught two of the black and white kittens, which turned out to be about four weeks old. I took the kittens to the Cat House where we were fortunate enough to have a lactating mama cat who happily took on the job of feeding and grooming the tiny kittens. That still left the mother cat, at least two more kittens and strangely, one orange kitten that seemed about 10-12 weeks old. The age demographic seemed so wrong compared to the others and I suspect someone dumped the kitten when they noticed the other cats there. This kitten has a severe eye infection and that eye is sealed shut. I was not able to get any more kittens. The space is very small and I had to squeeze my way between the building and the wall.

Another Lynx Point kitten being fostered by Jackie

It became quickly apparent to me that the school workers just wanted me to come in and remove the cats. They did not want to help in any fashion. I told them that we could fix and return the mom. No response. I asked if anyone would be willing to provide sustenance for the cat over the summer. People looking at the ground, hemming and hawing was my answer. I tried to talk to the principal and my calls and messages were not returned. I contacted the teacher who originally called me and asked him to speak to the principal. He said that the principal was aware of the situation and would get back to me regarding permission for me to go onto school grounds to attend to these cats.

School has since closed and this cat and her kittens are now without any source of food or water. The mom needs to be trapped and spayed and the kittens need to be removed. One of our Reedley foster moms, Jan Schpansky, has offered to assist me in this endeavor. The kittens will not likely survive without intervention. We just need the permission and access to the locked area where these kittens are located. I am trying to get the school to understand that if something is not done, this mama cat will only have more babies and their problem will only multiply, literally.

My teenage daughter and I spent some time playing with kittens on a trip to Cat House. It was so much fun. Don’t you think it might be fun to come out and play with our kittens? They need stimulation and socialization as they wait for their fur-ever homes. Now that summer vacation is here, my daughter will be volunteering some of her time at the Cat House. She enjoys playing with the kittens, but she also pitches in with the not so fun but necessary duties such as scooping the litter boxes. Our adult kitties need and want lots of petting too. There is no shortage of cute, furry heads looking for a scratch behind the ears! If you are interested in coming out to visit or volunteer just give us a call at 638-0490.

kittens up for adoption (that we played with that day)

Our adoption rate has certainly picked up since the opening of our center at the Fresno Petco, but the kittens are coming in faster than we can adopt them out. Petco is open seven days a week, so please come by and take a gander at some of the cuties we have waiting to be chosen. We also have lots of kittens at the Cat House and you can view many of these on our website. It is always a joyful moment when one of our cats or dogs is picked for adoption. Please consider an adult or senior cat if you are not up for the high energy of a kitten. We have many awesome adult cats that would be perfect companions for any household.

Lynea continues to receive between 30-50 calls every day from people with kittens they want us to take. If people would just get their cats fixed, poor Lynea’s ear might get a rest. Some calls are for cats/kittens in need of immediate rescue. Most are from people who simply failed to get their cat fixed and just want to be rid of the result of their inaction.

Santa Rosa couple adopts TWO kittens!

I personally get weary of people who tell me that they have a boy cat so they don’t bother to neuter it. Yeah, so they just travel around fighting, spraying, yowling and making more kittens. I have a hard time believing that some people can be so shortsighted and irresponsible. Unfortunately this is a prevalent attitude in the valley. I had one gentleman overhear that I was from the Cat House and he proceeded to tell me how Lynea had given him the business when he called for help. “What was his problem?” I asked? He said that he lived in a local senior mobile home park and a stray cat had been walking on his truck.

I laughingly told him that I was not surprised by Lynea’s response to his problem. I added that we have much bigger issues than a stray cat walking on his truck. I asked him what he did about the cat and he said; “I got rid of it.” With a stern look of consternation on my face I asked him just exactly how he “got rid of the cat.” He said he took it to a friend of his who owns a dairy and needed some rat control. Well, that is all well and good, but I advised him that he should have got the cat fixed first. He didn’t care. Like so many others he simply wanted his problem to go away with absolutely no effort on his part whatsoever. It is exactly this attitude that will ensure the Cat House on the Kings will have no shortage of work anytime in the near future.

The Cat House on the Kings Summer newsletter is out. If you have not signed up to receive our newsletter you can do so by going to our website. Until then you can click on the link to read the current issue.

As always, if you advertise with Kings River Life, you can designate 10% of the ad money to go to the Cat House on the Kings.

Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section.

Jackie Dale is a freelance writer who lives in Reedley with her husband of 21 years, Frank, and their 2 children. Jackie currently writes for Traffic Magazine and for The Cat House on the Kings Feline Rescue. A former ballerina, Jackie now teaches yoga and fitness classes privately and at local area gyms.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Penny TuttleNo Gravatar June 23, 2013 at 8:06am

Great article – I raise foster kittens for the local shelter in Oregon – unfortunately “stupid” lives here as well and as many cats and kittens as we fix and adopt, there always seem to be more!

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2 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 24, 2013 at 3:28pm

Thanks Penny and thank you for being a foster mommy too. The fight seems endless but we still forge on!

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3 DG SifuentesNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 10:21am

People that ignorant and thoughtless to treat animals as ‘toys’ really infuriate me and at times I cannot help but to really hate them while I love the people that help address the problem of homeless animals. Kitty Sapphire is my adopted black rescue cat that I love so much and she rescued me right back.

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4 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:07pm

Thanks for your comment. And thank you for adopting the so oft over-looked black beauties. I have nine cats of whom 4 are black. Best Wishes!

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5 Randall RiceNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 7:51am

Thank you for the article, and there never seems to be a shortage of STUPID. We just had to take a cat thrown out by a upstairs neighbor to the Vet and checked out and unfortunately had gotten pregnant, aborted and spayed. But she will join our too many other rescues in a house full of love and cats !

It is an enormous and at times thankless task, but one cat at a time, it seems to work. I type this with one of our rescues firmly in my lap, blocking the keyboard ! :)

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6 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:09pm

Ah, as I so often write with one of my 9 kitties on my lap too. Usually the 18 pounder! Thank You for stepping up to help poor kitty. You are right about enormous and thankless but onward we trudge, one kitty at a time!

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7 Sami Swan ThompsonNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 8:24am

I applaud your efforts and cannot praise you enough. Here in Texas, stupid has two minions: ignorance & superstition. I’ve gotten so fed up that I’ve vowed to take my rescued cats (and there are many) and MOVE back to California, should I ever luck into a winning lottery ticket – and of course, Cat House on the Kings would get a big bucket of $$, too!

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8 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:53pm

Thanks Sami, As long as there are people like you, I have some hope. We would love to have you back in CA. We need lots of smart, kitty lovers. Super-duper good luck winning the lotto!

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9 JessieNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 9:31am

Lord, that principal is sadly under qualified. Please call the school board and report how “helpful” he has been maybe they can light a fire to get help to the kitties!

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10 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:59pm

Sadly Jessie, I am being “given the business” by persons who don’t appreciate my criticizing the school and its personnel. I am taking on this project myself (with help from a friend who also fosters for me and my teen daughter) We are providing food and water daily (temps approaching triple digits) and will trap one at a time. We have already done one, a male. Unfortunately we can’t get to the tiny kittens as they are behind a locked gate. :(

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11 Lynda WilsonNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 9:33am

My 86 yr old stepmother in St. Helens, OR, has only been able to trap one male to have neutered. The other two females just had a litter and I fear this will go on an on. She has been feeding them but can find no one to help her get the other cats to have fixed. She is willing to do this at her expense but due to her age she can’t do the “catching”. If anyone in this area can help her with the “catching”, she and I would be very appreciative. I’m in San Diego and unable to fly there to help. Can anyone help her? She’s called everybody as far as cat rescues are concerned but she’s “too far away” and they don’t care. The neighbors call her “the cat lady”, and it’s embarassing to her when all she’s trying to do is save them.

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12 DG SifuentesNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 10:28am

Lynda, your stepmother should not be embarrassed at all. She is a hero to animal lovers and advocates and she should be proud she is making a difference.
My coworkers and family think I am the borderline ‘cat lady’ as I am such an animal rights activist, but I don’t care as long as I help the animals.

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13 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:10pm

Hear Hear!!

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14 BevNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 11:31am

Lynda, go to the Alley Cat Allies “Feral Friends” website http://www.alleycat.org/feralfriends and towards the bottom of the page you will find a link to request info about TNR groups in your area. Hope this helps!

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15 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 4:00pm

good advice!

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16 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:15pm

First she will need to get a trap. All she has to do is set the trap and wait. Not to much physical effort required. Or try calling some service groups or maybe a high school or college service club. Ask if they can help her out as a community service project. The local FFA chapter maybe? Also Bev’s suggestion is good as well. Good luck with your endeavor. She is a wonderful woman to be so kind and caring.

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17 Laura RavenscraftNo Gravatar
Twitter: @lauraravens
June 28, 2013 at 9:46am

Hi Lynda, Harbor freight has traps at a reasonable price, Since Napa & Sonoma are close maybe someone in those towns can help.

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18 Karen MartinNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 11:28am

I adopted my first cat and her kitten when my cocker spaniel played with the mother at my vet’s office and would not leave without them. 4 years later and another kitten from the vet’s office. My cocker passed and the cats stopped eating and hid for 2 weeks in my walk-in closet. I wasn’t ready for another dog just yet so I adopted an entire litter of 3 kittens and would have taken the mother but the owner refused to surrender or spay her. My 2 original loves have crossed the Rainbow Bridge but not before meeting their Cavalier brother. My dogs are pure bred rescues who have medical problems which I have treated. My Cav had $10,00 worth of knee surgeries and sees a cardiologist along with my senior cat. My cocker had survived parvo but later got Cushing’s and also PRA causing blindness. My 2 cats that passed had chemo for cancer. I am now a retired RN so my income took a dump but I will rescue any future fur babies and adopt them in multiples as they make a great family unit for me.

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19 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:18pm

Karen, you are an angel to care so lovingly for your rescue babies. If only we had 10,000 of YOU!

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20 Laura RavenscraftNo Gravatar
Twitter: @lauraravens
June 27, 2013 at 3:33pm

Jackie, I wrote a email to the Kings county unified urging someone to help out at the Reedley elementary school. I hope that is helpful. Geeze, I like animals WAY more than most people for sure… I am sure I am not the only human to express that emotion..

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21 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar July 5, 2013 at 6:27am

Thank You!

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22 Laura RavenscraftNo Gravatar
Twitter: @lauraravens
June 27, 2013 at 11:53am

Wow Jackie,
if you need some help to rally the school district via email to do something let me know. I would be glad to help. I live in Sacramento now but I can write a good email without being too mean ! The more the merrier I say….

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23 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:33pm

Thanks so much Laura. The downside is that in this small town, if I shake things up too much, I could be run out of town on a rail. One of my employers has already raked me over the coals for “talking bad” about this school. I am feeding the cats daily and have already launched my own TNR project.

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24 Linda WiltshireNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 12:02pm

I live in England and it’s just as bad. I have just had a phone call from a lady who lives just around the corner. She advertised a cat that’s been living in her garden for a few weeks (no reply). She wants me to take him to our Cats Protection and of course I don’t want him to go I want him. I have got 3 of my own and 2 of them bully the other one. I will ring her tomorrow and proberbly take him in. 3 are expensive enough with medical treatment and yearly jabs. But I am too soft.

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25 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:40pm

Thanks for your comments Linda. You are not soft, you are kind hearted and caring! I have found that buying a good quality cat food will reduce the need for vet visits. i.e. urinary problems
There is a debate on whether there is a need to vaccinate yearly once the initial vaccinations are given. You may wish to research this. Thank you for being You!

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26 Peter MendhamNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 12:37pm

The attitude of ignorant people who believe that “animals should not be spayed, because they cannot give consent”, is a world wide problem. A fair percentage of Europeans take the same view and their attitude is if they are a problem then kill them or dump them in other areas – most of these folks are lazy and very ignorant. Fortunately, there are very active animal rescue organisations, but they also face the same thankless task of trying to educate those less caring.

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27 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:44pm

Really, this is a pervasive thought to so many? How ignorant can people be? Apparently far more so than I originally thought. Animals giving consent is just so ridiculous a concept that i find it hard to believe that so many people subscribe to this belief. We have the same problems here, uncaring, stupid idiots. I calls ’em like I see’s ’em!
Thank you for caring!

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28 Sky Y.No Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 1:46pm

Spaying and neutering seems logical to all of us, but some folks just don’t get it. You should have told that first woman that the cats don’t give their consent to be euthanized at the shelters either, but that’s exactly what happens anyway because of the overpopulation.

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29 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 3:49pm

That is exactly what i told her but she held firm in her stupidity. There is NO fixing the truly stupid. Now, in our county the shelters won’t even accept cats to KILL them. In Fresno County, cats are on their own. So now they dump, abandon and/or kill them. It is kind of like being surrounded my sociopaths. No empathy, No conscience. Scary.

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30 Nancy WNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 4:25pm

Sky! Fabulous answer about euthanasia consent. How true!

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31 Sami Swan ThompsonNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 4:52pm

Re: the cats locked in at the school property. I’ve been through a similar situation & discovered that all you have to do is bring a TV reporter into the mix & things will magically improve! My husband worked for Dallas school district for 34 years & my best friend worked for a public utility; the one thing both do NOT want is bad publicity. They don’t care if you threaten to (or actually) sue them; however, they absolutely do NOT want the public to see them as heartless monsters.

I used this technique myself when a local college president (and superstitious idiot) decided to exterminate the cats on campus. I tried to reason with him, but it was hopeless. So I called a reporter – in less than 24 hours, I was on the news, showing all of Dallas the pitiful kittens that our college president was trying TO KILL. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!! It worked.

You can look up the school district’s facilities mgmt number, & see if those guys will help you. If not, call the administration building & tell them they have two hours (however much time you like) to contact you before you go public with the story via the media – then DO IT.

I hope this works for you as well as it’s worked for me. I’m always polite until some jackass is cruel or dismissive to a cat or kittens; then I make him cry. (If I weren’t disabled, I could make him suffer, but alas – I’m gimpy.) It’s a good mission in life. People may let you down, but animals never do.

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32 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar July 5, 2013 at 6:28am

Thanks so much for your encouragement!

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33 GilNo Gravatar June 27, 2013 at 5:41pm

After reading these comments it makes me have a recurring thought. Maybe we should start with spaying and neutering some of these ignorant, insensitive people?

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34 DonnaNo Gravatar June 28, 2013 at 12:07am

I am so grateful for all the work that the cat house on the kings has done and continues to do….here in my little corner of the world I too care for ferals, strays and mostly dumps..My house is full of purrs and love and we even have outsiders who we have spayed and neutered…I wish I could do so much more but my funds are very limited….I live on disability. It breaks my heart the way people dispose of these dogs and cats instead of doing the right thing…most of their problems could have been avoided simply by spay/neutering and teaching their children how to properly handle kittens and puppies….but since so many continue to be irresponsible I will continue to care for those who find their way to my home….God Bless

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35 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar July 5, 2013 at 6:30am

Thank you for the kind words and more importantly, your kind actions in taking care of the most innocent creatures,

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36 Steve CarterNo Gravatar June 28, 2013 at 6:11pm

I visited Cat House in the summer of 2008. Cat Lover Disneyland!! If I didn’t live in Kansas, I would be a more frequent visitor.

Allow be to offer a local success story, albeit on a very small scale. The vet I go to accepts kittens and puts them up for adoption, including showcasing the ones that are old and well enough in their waiting room. A local cat lives in a nearby cemetery maintenance building, where she catches varmints and gets food and shelter as “payment”. She was not spayed, however, so the kittens kept coming, there being several litters before the one I took to the vet.

As I left the vet’s office after dropping off the kittens, the office manager called out to me in the parking lot. She let me know that there was a fund (set up for an abused puppy who died as a result) that would pay for spaying if I could catch her, which was easy because she was very friendly. She is now a very happy–and at a higher, and much healthier weight–retired kitten factory!

I was immediately forgiven upon her return home, despite being captured and taken to a strange place. I visit her regularly and she’s always happy to see me. It’s almost like she’s grateful for not being doomed to motherhood for the rest of her life.

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37 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar July 5, 2013 at 6:32am

What a great story! There are no small success stories. Thank you for being such a kind and caring person, if only we had more just like you.

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38 Virginia KnaussNo Gravatar
Twitter: @Mrs.
July 3, 2013 at 9:22am

Excellent article – thank you so much. Hard to believe how many stupid people there are out there!!!

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39 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar July 5, 2013 at 6:34am

Thank you for your comment, we continue our work of educating the chronically stupid.

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40 Todd EdwardsNo Gravatar July 4, 2013 at 8:23pm

There are lots of great, concerned people who outnumber the stupids. Last week I was made aware of a mother cat–a kitten herself–who had 5 kittens and taken up residence under the front steps of my recently deceased mother. A neighbor contacted a rescue woman from 50 miles away who trapped the mom and 3 kittens. I managed to grab one kitten on Friday, the last on Saturday and my wife’s cousin delightedly adopted them and had them to a vet on Sunday. Happy ending!!!

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41 Jackie DaleNo Gravatar July 5, 2013 at 6:38am

What a wonderful story! Thank you for assisting in this awesome endeavor. Unfortunately in the Central Valley of CA, the stupid are so many that our education efforts require immense amounts of time. Often to no avail.Thanks again for saving these kitties!

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