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 lack of a real winter here in the San Joaquin Valley has meant there was no winter “lull” this year. The kittens keep coming and, of course, some puppies, too. A Facebook plea, combined with a phone call to The Cat House, brought us volunteers to an apartment complex in Fresno. A feral mother cat was in distress, and during the attempts to trap her we discovered that the complex was overrun with (unfixed) cats. In our newsletter, due out next month, you can read all the details of the two mass spay days that Tammy Barker and her awesome crew of volunteers arranged and carried out. Ironically, the one mother cat we were originally called to the complex to help has eluded capture.
It is really heartwarming and restorative of my faith to see that there is goodness in so many people. They give of their time, their money and, most important of all, love and compassion for helpless creatures. It can be very demoralizing and depressing to constantly see how cruel and heartless people can be. There are people who do not care about our fellow creatures, who cannot see beyond their own wants and greed, or their own “(in) convenience” to take any responsibility for fixing their pets.
I am sometimes labeled as a troublemaker. I often see posts on Facebook offering free puppies and kittens. They frequently make comments like “need to get rid of asap,” “all these kittens are a lot of time/work,” or “It costs too much to feed all these puppies, need gone NOW!” I try not to be judgmental, but I will often make a comment that is not well received. For example, I commented to the complaining owner of the puppies that “there is this wonderful procedure available that will eliminate this kind of problem, it is called, spay your dog.” If it is a cat or small dog, I will mention that The Cat House has affordable spay and neuter prices and give the number for appointments. Sometimes they thank me and sometimes they tell me to mind my own business. One lady was so incensed that I deigned to comment on her post (she was giving away her adult dogs, they were too much work, she was pregnant) that she rallied all her friends and attempted (unsuccessfully) to get me banned from the page. All in a days work for the “troublemaker.”
The Cat House on the Kings received a call from a local woman who had been feeding some cats that she would pass as she went on her daily jog near Reedley College. After feeding the cats for two years, she was asked by the school not to feed the cats anymore. She continued to feed them until recently when she was again met by schools officials. They insisted that she be cited for trespassing, despite the fact that the school had always allowed public access to the river path for joggers and dog walkers. The woman was crushed and extremely upset that she could no longer feed “her babies.” The day before she was issued the ticket, the woman had trapped one of the cats and had it fixed at The Cat House. She elected to keep it rather than return it to school.
Disneyland that maintain a colony of about 200 (fixed) feral cats that come out every night to keep the rodents from taking over the park. They live in specially-built underground rooms where they stay during the day, emerging after the last visitors have gone. I spoke to an administrator at the school who said the school had absolutely no interest in a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) project. Citing “safety” issues for the cats and the students, I was told they simply wanted the cats gone. They did not seem interested in the rodent control services provided by the cats. While I was attempting to speak, this administrator allowed an employee to sit there smirking and laughing, which I found to be very unprofessional and disrespectful. I wanted to tell her about places like
Disneyland also tried to eradicate the feral population, but more cats would replace the ones who had been removed. They finally decided they were fighting a losing battle, and figured out a way to make the cats work for them. People do not realize that existing cat colonies keep out other cats. Remove them, and more will only replace them. In situations like these, the cats come because there is a steady source of rodents for food. Imagine what the “happiest place on Earth” would be like if rodents were running rampant in the park on a nightly basis. I should mention that the Disneyland cats are fed and their rodent control activities are more of a recreational pursuit for the cats.
After asking around, I had discovered that there are several small colonies located throughout the campus. I tried to explain that there are no options for cats in the valley and the only viable solution is to TNR and keep the colony from growing. I was asked to make an appointment if I wanted to pursue the matter. I will do this and attempt to present the TNR project to them again. All we want to do is help and we really hope that The Cat House on the Kings and Reedley College can work together to resolve this issue.
There are several progressive businesses in Reedley that have enlisted the help of The Cat House on the Kings in spaying and neutering the feral/stray cats that live in their respective areas. They provide food and water for these cats. We are very pleased to assist these businesses in that respect. In an interesting side note, I learned that in the city of Reedley, an unaltered cat is not supposed to be allowed outside. Realistically, however, I can see how this would be a difficult law to enforce. The City of Reedley hasn’t accepted cats for three years because, big surprise, no one would adopt them. The Fresno SPCA only takes cats if you live within the city limits, and Liberty Animal Control does not take cats. It really seems like a no-brainer that TNR is the only humane solution to this overwhelming problem.One day last week, as I was driving up the mountain to Squaw Valley, I was thinking about what I was going to write in my column, when I rounded a bend to see a truck suddenly pull onto the road in front of me. He was going really slowly, so I went around him noting that the gentlemen was elderly. When his truck failed to appear in my mirror, I turned around thinking the man might be in some distress. Then I saw that he had again pulled over, and was attempting to grab a small brown dog. I pulled over to help at the very moment that Joyce Brandon of the Animal Compassion Team (ACT) also showed up. Someone had stopped at her job site and told her about four dogs abandoned on the remote mountain road. The female dog was in heat and we had to “dislodge” her suitor. The man turned out to be the owner of the Squaw Valley Hardware Store. He offered to supply dog food and help in re-homing the dogs. Joyce took the two small Chihuahua types, and I took the mom dog and a boy puppy we believe to be hers. The as-yet-un-named dogs I have are already scheduled for their surgeries, and will be looking for homes. Both are extremely friendly, although the pup showed some signs of abuse such as cowering and trembling when approached. However, he is already beginning to come around, and he will make a very nice family pet. Mom is medium-sized and her pup will also be medium with short stocky legs. If you are interested in adopting one of these cuties, you may email me at jackiejoy@hotmail[dot]com. Please. I have six dogs already. All rescues of course.
Be sure to watch for our spring newsletter, due out next month. In addition, please mark your calendars for the Spring Open House on May 2nd. As always, we are looking for donations for our silent auction. If you have a question or something to donate, please call our office at 559-638-0030.
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.