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.
As another year comes to a close, I reflect back on the year and I am pleased. It has been a very productive year of TNR, (Trap-Neuter-Return), rescues, rehomings and lots of spays and neuters.
In January of this year The Cat House on the Kings received a very large grant to pay for low-cost spays and neuters and vaccinations. The grant is almost exhausted but literally hundreds of animals were fixed, thus preventing thousands of unwanted animals from being born. Despite the encouraging numbers, it is still a small drop in a very large bucket. We must, and will, continue our mission of preaching the gospel of the benefits of spaying and neutering.February brought Dateline out for several days of filming. After months of anticipation everyone was disappointed that Lynea had about a 20 second spot near the end of the show. It is my personal opinion that this is because what Lynea does is in direct contrast to what the so-called expert on cats was saying. “Cats can’t live in large groups.” Well, Hello, one would only have to visit The Cat House to see for themselves that this is obviously not true. “Cats can’t be trained” Oh yes, they can. I have seen cats use the toilet; open doors and my own cat, Spike, will sit up like a dog and give a high five in return for a treat. As I watched the show, I began to wonder if this expert had ever even owned a cat.
In March Booth Ranches of Orange Cove asked for help in TNRing some cats at one of their packinghouses. The health department wanted the cats out of there. I trapped the first one, Gray, fixed it and moved it down the road to the owner’s horse stables. In the meantime I had noticed a beautiful white cat there. The horse trainer said the cat had been dumped. Since they named their barn cats by color, she called the cat White. Being a white cat in the country has the drawback of the animal being highly visible to predators. The Turkish Angora beauty was taken to The Cat House on the Kings and shortly thereafter was adopted by a woman from Florida.
I was then notified that Gray had made the mile-long trek back to the offices. Grey was retrapped along with another feral cat. They were relocated to a company ranch in Orosi. I personally dealt with the foreman who lives with his family on the property. He agreed to keep the cats confined for at least two weeks and he built a large catio for them. Once their kitty GPS was reset they would assume their new jobs of rodent controllers. The man also wanted two cats as house cats. That request could not have come at a better time. Lynea had asked me to assist an elderly woman with two cats that had appeared in her yard. I placed the siblings in foster care until they had their spay appointments and they were then taken to the Orosi ranch. When I last checked, everyone was doing great.
Two more cats were trapped that were not so much feral as stray. They were placed with the family of a packinghouse worker who wanted two indoor cats (Yay!) There was another kitten rescued who was severely injured, Dale Evans and her brother Roy Rogers. Dale went to The Cat House for treatment where she recovered nicely and Roy was fostered by me and then adopted out to a wonderful family.
Plenty of rescues took place this year during the relentless heat of the summer. There were kittens born in a tree, kittens trapped in sewer drains, kittens rescued from attempts to light them on fire, kittens rescued from the drive-up lane at a McDonald’s, kittens rescued from a burned out apartment building and even one Reedley cat who spent a couple of days on top of an electrical pole. These are just a few of the many incidents that came to mind.
The Cat House took in quite a few abandoned dogs this year too. Three little white dogs abandoned in an orchard were brought in covered with thousands of ticks. Lots of puppies were simply left on the sides of the road. Some of them made it and some of them did not. The rescue that stands out in my mind the most is that of little blind Homer. Born in the bushes to a feral mom, Homer was born with no eyes. He was eventually adopted by a lovely woman who renamed him Bumper. Bumper’s mom reports that he is happy, healthy and she is so happy to have him in her life.In April Milton came to us, an orphan at just about 10 days old. We initially tried to adopt him out, but my husband fell in love with him, calling him an “exceptional cat.” He is now the mischievous little miscreant who breaks all the rules and is always getting into trouble. Just this past week, I drove into Reedley to go to the gym and when I opened my trunk to get my gym bag, out popped Milton! I swiftly grabbed him and put him inside the car where he waited until I came out. Apparently he got in the trunk unnoticed when my husband was unloading, ironically, bags of cat food. We love Milton to the moon and back.
I was surprised to one day discover that I suddenly had two new cats. Someone had deposited two cats in my yard. They stayed around, coming out at night for food. Eventually they started coming out a bit more and I left food in accessible areas. Now they are eating on the back porch and I was shocked to see that one of the cats had a tipped ear. The mystery deepens but this information somewhat narrows down the suspect list.
Our very own carpenter angel Charles Schaeffer, has spent quite a bit of time this spring, refinishing the cupboards in the kitchen and helping with the installation of the new flooring. The Cat House is so grateful to Charles for all the time and effort he put into improving The Cat House on the Kings. He is currently helping out with the new “Catification” of the Kitten Quarters by building a new wall. The Cat House won first place in a contest and the Kitten Quarters will be getting a makeover with lots of cool shelves and perches for the kittens. We will keep you informed of the progress.This fall our awesome volunteers planted two acres of trees to provide shade and protection from the only predators who can access the property, owls and bald eagles. Cub Scouts and a Fresno State Fraternity were among the many people who showed up to help. You can read the whole story and see pictures in The Cat House on the Kings winter newsletter that is now out. (I write the newsletter too!)
While you are at it, take a moment to check out the PBS video that was made at our Fall Open House Fundraiser. Despite the drenching rain, the open house went very well and we are grateful that most people stayed. The rain eventually let up and the event was the usual success.
Many of us Cat House volunteers are slowing down or taking a break from trapping for the Christmas season. Things are a bit slower during the winter and we all need a little respite from TNR. Once the holidays are over it is back to work. I already have a list of TNR’s to be done and have already scheduled their January appointments. I want to thank Karen Rae for the generous donation of two new traps. This will be an immeasurable help to me in efficiently trapping the feral cats.
Please consider making an end of the year donation to The Cat House on the Kings. It is of course, tax-deductible and you will be supporting an extremely worthy cause.
I hope everyone had a very Meowy Christmas and wish you a Happy Mew Year too!!
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.