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.March has roared in like the proverbial lion. First came the mountain dog rescue and I still have the two dogs I took in, had them both fixed and vaccinated through The Cat House and they are residing in one of my kennels. Everyday when they are let out for exercise, we work on improving their behavior. For Patsy, the mom, that includes learning not to jump up on people when she is excited. For little Pugsly, it is about how to walk on a leash. At first he really didn’t like it and thrashed around a lot. Caesar Milan, the dog whisperer, says to let them do the thrash until they are finally worn out. Lo and behold, it actually worked. Then he would just lie down and refuse to walk. With gentle, loving, encouragement Pugsly’s leash walking has improved by leaps and bounds. I am still searching for their forever homes so if you think you might be interested in Patsy or Pugsly, please take a moment to go to The Cat House website and check out their adoption pages. (Pugsly) (Patsy)
I received a call one morning from my friend Andrea, who volunteers for a dog rescue in Fresno called Bandits Buddies. Her mother, who lives in Reedley, had found a teeny kitten in her backyard woodpile. Andrea asked if I could go and get the kitten and of course I said yes. I went over and picked up the tiny little guy, his eyes were still closed and his umbilical stump still intact. The woman told me she had found him the previous day and had been feeding him. She told me she was up all night caring for the kitten and waiting for a mom cat to come around looking for her baby. Well, mom never came and the exhausted woman was happy to relinquish the squiggly little guy.
I named him “Spock” in honor of Leonard Nimoy who passed away that day and took him to The Cat House for a quick check-up and some formula before heading home to get him settled. Spock is one feisty kitten, vocal and active and a voracious eater who took to the bottle with ease. I trucked him around with me to yoga classes and errands, plugging in the heating pad wherever I found an outlet. I was somewhat chagrined to find that the heating pads of today all have automatic shut off switches. Now I know this is a safety feature but that meant that every two hours I had to remember to turn the pad back on which frankly got to be annoying.
Then the following week I get a call from The Cat House. A California rescue group, HALO, (Homeless Animals Lifeline Organization), which specializes in newborn kittens, was coming to take some kittens and they had agreed to take Spock. He is thriving and has been renamed “Panda.” I have no doubt he will find his perfect furever home.
About a month ago, I got a call from the lady who feeds the cats behind the McDonald’s here in Reedley. She wanted help trapping and fixing the small colony so we caught a fluffy female, had it fixed and the caretaker elected to keep her. I had some other things going on so I thought I would trap more later on. Well, she called me again a few weeks later. She said the females were in heat so I immediately made appointments and began to trap.
The first night I was so lucky, I caught both of the females. They were fixed and released and the following week I went back and despite the caretaker’s doubts that I could ever catch the males, I caught them both in one night. They were big, mean and fighting mad. The meanest one kept hissing, spitting and lunging for the trap door. I finally tied the door shut, afraid of what would happen if the cat escaped while in the car. He got me back by peeing in the back seat after managing to pull the water proof cover over enough to get it on the seat. The hormone infused urine smell literally made my eyes water. I was so happy when it was time to release them. I think there are a lot of people who don’t realize how bad the urine of unfixed cats, particularly male cats, can smell. Once they are fixed and the hormone levels drop, the urine smell becomes much less pungent.
So with the five “McKitties” now trapped, fixed and returned, I believe we have stabilized this small colony. While it may not seem like an ideal place to live, the cats seem to do fine. They have space, grass, bushes and regular meals. All considered, this was a successful project! The caretaker is very grateful and told me, “You are the only one who offered to help me.” All in a days work in the world of TNR!
The last of the kittens from the burned out apartment building in Fresno went to his forever home last week. He was a shy guy who never quite lost his touch of the feral. He likes to hang around people, but he just does not enjoy being picked up. I found him a “position” as a barn cat with a very nice lady in one of my yoga classes. She had been thinking of getting a cat for rodent control in her barn and “shy guy” seemed a perfect fit. She was happy that she was able to provide a nice home for an otherwise unadoptable cat. Now named “Barney” (get it?) he will have a nice home, a job and a couple of canine buds to hand out with.
Selma Feral Colony
I stopped to feed my Selma ferals after my yoga class only to find the police waiting for me. The officer said I had to take down the plastic I had placed over the bushes to protect the dry food pan from the rain. I told him why it was there and he told me that the property owner of the adjacent vacant property thought it looked like homeless people were living there and that it looked bad for potential buyers. I pointed out that the bushes actually were part of the shopping center property. He agreed that was true but asked that I take it down anyhow.
I said, “But it is raining, can I just leave it up until tomorrow?” He said “Yes, I will work with you on this, just make sure it comes down tomorrow.” I explained how I was trapping and fixing the cats. Then he suggested I take them all to The Cat House on the Kings. I told him I was a volunteer there and then gave him my speech about how The Cat House doesn’t take in feral cats. I call it a speech because I have given it so often, about how The Cat House on the Kings is a rescue/sanctuary, that it is not like the pound where people can just drop off their unwanted animals. The same exact speech I gave a woman on Facebook who was lamenting about how The Cat House couldn’t take in her pregnant cat and how they wanted so much money for a surrender. I politely explained that people who pay for surrenders are generally in some sort of dire situation such as terminal illness. They want absolute certainty that their beloved pets do not end up at the pound. Sadly this is an all too often occurrence. Family members will promise their loved one that they will care for their pet (s) when they are gone and in reality, they often just take them to the pound. It is a very sad state of affairs to be sure.
Many people now make arrangements in advance as to who will care for their pets. Cat House supporter and Fresno attorney Susan Moore helps people make legal arrangements for their pets. If you would like more information about making plans for your pets in the event something should happen to you, Susan can be reached at 559-227-1100 or you can send her an inquiry at spascuzzi@pascuzzi[dot]net.
One last thing, don’t forget that our Spring Open House Fundraiser is coming up on May 2 Please mark your calendars and look around for something to donate to our silent auction.
Thank you for your support.
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.