Jackie Dale: The Cat Mother

Apr 13, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale, Reedley News

by Jackie Dale

A Flood of Felines
Kitten season has arrived like a virtual tsunami. Pregnant cats and kittens are coming out of the woodwork at every turn. In one bathroom is my cat with her two kittens and an additional four. Two kittens came from a local shelter and two were rescued by my foster’s husband. He had to dismantle the front end of a car to get the kittens trapped inside. The two kittens rescued had apparently taken a long ride up to the mountains and back. Unfortunately there were three others who did not survive. One of the surviving kittens is a Manx/Polydactyl. I am seriously considering keeping this kitten. My twelve-year-old poly cat died last year. I still miss him so much. He did tricks like sitting on his hind legs to beg for treats and giving high fives.

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Poly Manx baby

In my other bathroom is a mom and her five, three-week-old kittens. I was asked by an acquaintance to find a place for a cat that had been left behind by the previous tenants. I picked up the friendly lady cat and took her home. I was surprised to see she had signs of having been nursing. I was then not at all surprised to get another phone call stating they had heard, and could see, a kitten under their house. I told them to look again, rarely is there only one kitten. As I drove there, I was trying to gear myself up to crawl underneath a house. I was very relieved to arrive and discover the young man had already crawled under the house. But he had not only the one kitten, but an additional four. I could hear them screaming as they hadn’t eaten in nearly two days. I rushed them to their jubilant mother who is taking very good care of them.

A and W cat

A and W cat

In one of the bedrooms is pregnant cat that I trapped at my recent TNR at the A & W. (#’s seventeen & eighteen of 30ish!) I also trapped a young male who was fixed and released. Unfortunately, for me, the vet said mommy cat was due to deliver any minute so I brought her back home to have her babies. For several reasons, I’m just not comfortable with spaying a full term queen. The other bedroom is the designated cat room, and it contains one seven-month-old tuxedo girl and a four-month-old gray male. Hopefully they will be leaving soon. It also has a new resident, sigh, another pregnant female. She was wandering an apartment complex that is scheduled for a TNR. I asked them to bring her to me, but they had “other things to do.” It just astounds me that people ask you for these enormous favors, and then can’t even be bothered to bring you the cat. All the time, effort, and money I will be laying out and you can’t do this one thing? It makes me angry.

This cage was also earmarked for the SEVEN, five-week-old kittens coming in this weekend. Those kittens will go into a large puppy pen in the middle of my living room. The inn is officially CLOSED!

Each of my two fosters also have a mother cat and five to seven kittens each. Friendly moms as well as the kittens will be spayed and put up for adoption or sent to rescue.

City is No Place for Blind Cat

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Blind Maple

I drove several cats on a three-hour drive to a wonderful organization I work with on a regular basis. Normally I have volunteers to do the driving, but on this occasion there was no one else available to go. I was bringing two cats pulled from a hoarding situation and a blind cat that had been abandoned. Yes, that’s right, someone was cold and callous enough to dump a blind cat on a busy Fresno street. Someone had posted about how someone had dumped a pile of trash on the street in front of their house and that “trash” included the long-haired tuxedo cat. The homeowner said the cat was panic-stricken frantically running around and bumping into everything. For an undetermined reason, the resident didn’t bring the cat inside, making a box for him on the porch. Everyone was saying “someone help this poor kitten,” but no one was stepping up. I said I would take this poor baby and a volunteer agreed to drive him to me. I named him Maple because that is the street where he was dumped. I took him to the vet and had tests run. I thought Maple was about six months. Turns out he is about two years, just a very tiny cat. Maple was with me about two weeks before he was accepted by the organization. They renamed him “Stevie” as in Stevie Wonder. I give them temporary names that help me remember where they came from. It gets really confusing and hard to remember where everyone came from when there are so many!

White Cats are Rare

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Kitten found at raceway

Due to their scarcity, white cats and kittens are extremely popular with adopters. I once found a beautiful white Turkish Angora out in the middle of nowhere. A lady flew out from Florida to adopt her. So, I get a call about a white kitten found in the middle of a huge dirt parking lot at the Famosa raceway in Bakersfield. The finders reached out to a friend who then called me asking for bottle feeders. I had one available, and the finders drove the kitten from Bakersfield and delivered her to one of my foster people. The finders checked on the kitten regularly and have decided to adopt her when she is old enough.

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Me holding Elle Woods and Brunhilde

I also had another white kitten come through when a friend asked if I had room for two healthy kittens. The kittens were indeed healthy, chunky, and cute-as-buttons. A friend then asked if she could take a couple of kittens from me to keep a single kitten she had company. So I sent her “Snowball” and her sister, “Brunhilde.” Now, this particular friend of mine had previously adopted out a beautiful white kitten to a friend of hers who lives in Chicago. The friend hired a courier to fly the cat to her in Illinois. So, now the friend sees Snowball’s photo and falls in love with her. She says that her cat needs a friend. So, Snowball’s name has already been changed to “Elle Woods.” I was surprised and amused, and of course, I asked why that name. It turns out the adopter is just finishing up law school! It was also funny that just the day before I had watched the movie Legally Blonde.

That crazy white cat “Maya” is finally going to be given a chance at adoption. I explained all the weird quirks this cat has, for example, she doesn’t like to be picked up or petted below the waist. They still are willing to give her a chance. Keeping my fingers crossed that is works out. Her owner moved away and left the inside-only cat standing outside wondering “what in the world just happened?”

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Sad News
With a heavy heart I must report that “Oreo” took a sudden and unexpected turn for the worse and had to be euthanized. Oreo was a friendly cat, but the “owner” had downplayed a wound on his hind quarters. The rescue said he could not come until it healed. There was a nice scab, and he seemed to be improving. However, one day he could barely walk and seemed to be in extreme pain. There was probably an unapparent, underlying infection, possibly an immune issue and the cat went septic. It was very sad. I take comfort knowing he was happy, warm, and comfortable here.

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Unfortunately, cat (or dog) rescue is not for the faint of heart. There will be deaths, we have already lost several kittens this month. Not all of them will make it, and that’s just the stark reality of life in the world of rescue. We signed up a new foster, but we can already see that it is not going to work out. One kitten dies, and she falls apart. You have to keep the focus on the ones you can still save. It is heart wrenching at times, yes, but you have to “keep your eye on the prize” so to speak. The prize being as many cats fixed as possible, keeping all those kittens healthy and finding them all places to go.

Can’t Please Everyone
My award for Unhappy Customer goes to a lady I know who now lives out of state but still owns property in a nearby town. She called me asking for help with stray cats living nearby a building that she owned in the downtown area. I told her “sure, no problem.” She was very happy and said she would give a big donation. I gave her information to a local TNR group who contacted her and informed her that TNR had already been done on the cats in question. BUT, apparently the woman thought that the “R” in TNR meant “remove,” and when she found out the cats had been released back to the same spot, she was FURIOUS! She was very, very upset and needless to say, there will be NO DONATION. Wow, you’d think she could at least be grateful that they won’t be multiplying. But noooo…again, they just want you to take the cats to that magical place where all the unwanted cats go.

Cat Brokering
As I finish up this column, I receive a call from my SoCal cat broker looking for cats. She places cats in specialized situations. She gives me the particulars, and I find what the adopter is looking for. This time one adopter requested a mom cat and two older kittens. They have a large rural property that needs rodent control both inside and outside, and they prefer to adopt a bonded group. She also requested a friendly, adult male as a companion for a single man. No, he did not want one of her available girls, has to be a boy. You may be thinking “Don’t they have cats in SoCal?” People are always happy with the cats I deliver which is why they call me. I have developed a reputation for sending healthy cats that are exactly as described. Plus I have a 100% return policy.

Funny Anecdote
A friend message me that she was cat sitting for a couple of friends who also rescue cats. As they were introducing their cats, my friend was surprised to hear that one of the cats was named “Jackie Dale.” Apparently they have heard of me and admire my work so much they named one of their cats after me. I can’t even explain how honored I feel by this tribute.

Rescue is Expensive
If you would like to donate to help fund TNR projects, support the feral refuge, or any aspect of my cat-related work, it would be greatly appreciated. I have a GoFundMe account under my name. Or you can send donations via mail to Jackie Dale, P O Box 1859, Reedley, CA 93654. Questions? jackiejoy@hotmail[dot]com

Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles and 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 one of several animal rescues or to Jackie’s TNR and rescue efforts. Join our Pets Facebook group to keep up with all of our pet articles.

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Jackie Dale is a freelance writer who lives in Reedley with her husband of 27 years, Frank, and their 2 children. A former ballerina, Jackie now teaches yoga and fitness classes privately and at local area gyms in addition to her cat related duties.

1 Comment

  1. Ok some people are just stuPid with a capital Peee OK.

    The callousness of people is horrifying and totally breathtaking. Poor Maple! I would take him in a heartbeat but NZ is a long walk. The POS who dumped him needs a visit and a slap around the face when Karma visits. I just wish I could be there.

    I can’t remember where I heard it or if I dreamed it but there is a story I hope os true. That when people pass away, abusers stand to be judged and every animal they abuse sits there and watches their punishment and sees justice done from their side of the Bridge.


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