by Jackie Dale
The past few months have been so busy I didn’t even have the time or energy to write my columns for the past two months. The non-stop cat work combined with the holiday season just made for an extremely hectic time. In addition, the vet was leaving at the end of December, so I had to get as much done as I could before then. That included resuming trapping at the golf course. I had only been trapping there for a couple of weeks before the rains started.
I trapped and fixed a total of nine more cats. I actually trapped more than that, but some had already been fixed. I explained to the golf course people that it was typical to catch what I like to call, “repeat offenders”. Once I have trapped the majority of a colony, it’s quite common to catch already fixed cats. I did happen to catch an already fixed cat that for some reason did not have its ear tipped. That is why it is crucial to tip the ears. Without the tipped ear, there is no way to keep accurate track of that many cats simply by looking at them. That brought the total for the year to thirty-four cats trapped and fixed. Of that thirty-four, twenty-three were female and fifteen of those were pregnant. I know there are a couple that have eluded capture, but the golf course will let me know if they wish me to continue trapping.
With the vet out of the country till mid-February, this is my slow time. Well, there is never really a slow time. Mid-October brought me four bottle babies from the local shelter. Lady Luck was with me this time as, a couple of weeks later, the rescue had an experienced foster who had room to take the tiny babies. They just kept trickling in: one from a local apartment building, a few friendlies dumped at one of my colonies, (fixed and sent to rescue), and one lady who had four semi-ferals that I helped her get fixed. I do a lot of coordinating to help and guide people to getting their cats fixed. They don’t know where or how to start, or maybe they don’t have a car, or they need financial help. I always start with having them call The Cat House on the Kings to see if discount vouchers are available. If no vouchers are available, I will ask for donations or sometimes cover the cost myself if the need is dire or urgent. I tell them how to make appointments, and frequently transport these cats myself. That is part of what I do.This brings to mind a recent incident: a lady contacted me because she said that the local vet’s office was refusing to cut her cats nails. The woman was upset because not only did they intimate that cutting a cats nails was not worth their time, they actually scolded her for not doing it herself. Well, I have to say I’m shocked by the lack of empathy and professionalism. It turns out the lady has a neurological condition that causes some hand tremors so she could not do it herself. I told her I would drive over and trim her cat’s nails for free. He was not the most cooperative fellow, but the deed was done!
Then comes “Rudolph”, so cute, so personable, and one of the worst cases of ringworm I had ever seen. Every inch of his tiny body was infected. He endured a series of fungal baths, isolation from other cats, and three courses of ringworm medication. Now, three months later, Rudy will be going to his new family next week!
We also had one gentleman who thought that by throwing enough money at someone, they could perform magic. The magic in this case was a trap-wary cat. After feeding the cat for years, the man’s wife developed some health issues. The man decided the cat was too much trouble. It was clear as day to me that the wife did not agree but was acquiescing to her husband. The trouble was the cat was not cooperating. I explained that there isn’t much that can be done if the cat won’t go in. A drop-trap wasn’t realistic because the cat came and went as it pleased, and I could not sit around indefinitely waiting for it. The man got angry. Finally, I told him I could come over and set traps everywhere in his yard. He yelled at me over the phone and said he “was done!” “Fine by me!” said I.I did a TNR for a friend who sells real estate. He had just acquired a listing for a home in Selma. The previous tenants, (a letter carrier for the post office in Selma) had been evicted and had left behind three cats. He said he wasn’t going to ask me for help, but as usual, fate had other plans. It so happens that I have friends on that street who made sure the abandoned cats had food. We assessed the situation, made the appropriate plans, and commenced with the trapping. We were somewhat hampered by a large orange cat who was eager to eat the food in the traps. We did not have to wonder where he belonged because he was wearing a big plastic tag with his name and address (across the street) on it. We caught the three cats and off they went to be fixed. Two were returned to the property where they will probably find a home within the neighborhood. The third cat was a friendly female who was subsequently sent to rescue. Meanwhile, the trickle continued. A cat here, a cat there, and a couple of kittens from the vet’s office, a couple from the local shelter. I took in a FIV+ cat while he waited for a spot to open in the FIV room at the rescue. I took in a friend’s tuxedo when they were displaced by an electrical fire. I took in several kittens that were dumped at the front door of the vet’s office and one beautiful Persian with an upper respiratory infection. I mean, who abandons a Persian? I was lucky that Lynea at The Cat House had room for this beauty. There was another fire displaced cat who arrived in early December. This cat was the sole survivor of a terrible fire at a local senior mobile home park. Apparently, the resident fell asleep while smoking, and the fire then ignited something that caused a huge explosion. The resident and three cats inside perished. Ironically named Smokey, he was outside at the time. After wandering around for a few days, one of the neighbors called me, and I came and got Smokey. I took him directly to the vet where his initial exam showed no burns or smoke inhalation. He did, however, have a tumor in his ear. He was very rough looking so we had him groomed. He looked good for a few day before he started to look “rough” again. His hair was literally falling out. I was concerned not just with that, but constant drooling. I suspected stomatitis. A return trip to the vet revealed a devastating diagnosis: advanced tongue cancer. I kept him for another week and spoiled him terribly before taking him in for euthanasia. I stayed with him till he crossed the rainbow bridge, I made sure he knew he was loved.
I recently took in two injured cats from the shelter. They were living in cat carriers, and I could not allow that to continue. One had a leg broken in two places and a Manx with a tail stump that was horribly infected. I couldn’t handle both of these serious injuries so I asked Lynea if the Manx could be cared for in their hospital unit. (She said “Yes”) I could not provide the proper treatment for this kitten. The other kitten needed surgery, but it cost $900. Thanks to my wonderful, kind, and generous friends/supporters, the needed funds were quickly raised. The doctor felt that amputation wasn’t necessary and inserted pins into her leg. She has a long recovery but is doing very well.So, between my last column and now, I have transported to rescue, eight times. One trip I even included three dogs from the local shelter. The total number of cats sent to rescue in 2022 is [Drum Roll, please!] … 167!!!! I did a handful of private adoptions as well.
DONATIONS ARE ALWAYS GREATLY APPRECIATED!
I can’t operate without them. If you would like to make a donation, I have a PayPal account steamodale@gmail[dot]com. You can also send donations via good old snail mail to Jackie Dale, P O Box 1859, Reedley, CA 93654. Questions? jackiejoy@hotmail[dot]com.
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Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of the cats. I’m a volunteer for an animal rescue group too and know how hard it can be. (But rewarding.)
Thank you for doing this. It’s so important!
Without you the world would be a poorer sadder place. Thank you for being there for Smokey. THANK YOU.