Jackie Dale–The CatMother/Cat Trapper: Orange Cats & Kittens

Apr 18, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale, Reedley News

by Jackie Dale

The month started out pretty brisk, rescue-wise. Until two weeks ago when our rescue had to cut us off until the Covid-19 crises is resolved. We made it in with the final transport by the skin of our teeth. The person we deal with had to literally beg the powers-that-be, to allow us to bring in the last batch of cats. They were out of cats and people were calling for cats, so they said “Ok” to the one last run.

We were all okay continuing the transports because there is minimal human contact. We drive the cats there, hand them over, and leave while the tests are conducted. We return later to retrieve carriers and any rejected cats.

It is somewhat odd that cat (and dog) adoptions have skyrocketed. I am desperately hoping that people just think that being home all day is a good time to introduce a new pet into the family. I pray that people do not get pets on a whim simply to amuse their children during a challenging time in our lives.

That being said, there is now a high demand for cats and somewhat of a short supply of adoptable, ready-to-go cats. Obviously, there will never be a shortage of cats/kittens anywhere in the near foreseeable future. But cats must be in adoptable condition and sadly many are not. Some people wanted my young kittens, but I told them in no uncertain terms that I do not adopt out kittens less than eight-weeks old. The law says they must be eight weeks, and that is a good rule.

I went to a home recently to evaluate five beautiful white cats. People like white cats and they are not always easy to find, so I was excited. I made an appointment and drove to the next town to see the cats. It was a place of business, and the woman had dragged the cats to work with her. But only two cats. Why? Because she neglected to inform me that her husband had already given away three of the cats to his coworkers, for free and unfixed. (Two were females) The remaining two were completely freaked out and hiding in a corner of the back room. The blue-eyed cats were beautiful, albeit a bit grimy, but extremely skittish. I knew they were not adoptable as pets without a lot of work, and I simply do not have the time, room or energy for cat-rehab. I told her I would look for a barn-type placement. I do have one person looking for barn cats so fingers crossed. The woman’s cat has yet another litter of kittens about two weeks old. I told her I would take the weaned kittens if she gets her cat fixed. Again, fingers crossed it goes according to plan.

Organized Chaos

Duches went out on a private adoption

And things frequently do not go according to plan. Our last transport was chaos. It takes a lot of planning and coordination to organize each transport. A lot depends on everyone doing what they say they will do. A fellow rescuer that I work with from time to time asked me to submit a cat of hers to my rescue. I did, and the cat was accepted. When I called to confirm the night before, she tells me she adopted out the cats three days previously. I was angry, she knew better and now I look bad to the rescue. She tried to call me the next day, but I was so upset I ignored her call. Then two of the cats came down with mild URI’s and had to be pulled from the list. We also had a cat who just needed a vet clearance. Unfortunately, the rescue had no available vets so now we are down to only three cats. Then we ran across a nice friendly stray cat at a small town dog pound, and the local vet was kind enough to rush him through for neuter. A friend had a black cat needing a home bringing us up to five. We do our absolute best to never let an available slot go empty. The morning of transport I loaded my cats to go to Selma. I arrived in Selma only to realize to my horror, I had forgotten to stop and pick up a cat. I rushed back to pick it up and transport left on time.


I was worried about one of the cats, Java. A beautiful cat, she was black and silver, like a tie-dyed pattern. She was one of the cats I had TNRed at the local Foster Freeze. The woman who feeds the cats had taken in two more of the cats, convinced she could bring them to an adoptable level.


Sure enough I received word that one of the tabby cats had been rejected for not passing the temperament test. I was convinced it was Java. The other tabby, Clover, I had held and petted so I assumed it was Java. I was so convinced that I called the foster and told her Java was coming home. The woman was upset and started to cry. She was so certain that Java would be fine. Turns out she was right. Java was just fine. It was Clover who was rejected. Her foster mom was shocked as I was. She took her back and said Clover would remain with her. Can’t win them all, and you just never know how a cat will react in a strange situation. Fortunately, due to our careful selection of cats, we rarely get a rejection due to temperament.

What Is It With All These Orange Cats?
I was tagged on Facebook about a young friendly cat that had been dumped at the refuge. We were able to locate the cat, a very friendly, fluffy orange and white male. Within one week we got it fixed and had it adopted out to a nice family.

A fellow rescuer asked if I had room for a friendly orange female that had been living in a tent with some homeless people. I said yes and my friend had her fixed before bringing her over. She was also adopted within a week!

A friend sends me a tiny video of a gorgeous orange and white female cat that had been trapped at a feral colony as part of a TNR project. It was plain as day that the cat was not feral. She had the cutest little face, and I said “yes.” She is currently in my cat room recuperating from surgery while she waits for a family.

THEN, I’m out at the grocery store when my husband sends me a text, “Do you know anything about this fluffy orange and white cat in our yard? It walked right up to me” I replied that I had no idea. But we live way out in the country, with few neighbors and those are space pretty far apart. So as has happened before, I’m pretty sure the cat was dumped at my house on purpose. I purposely avoid mentioning where I live because of this problem. The little guy was super thin and had a mild URI. I started him on antibiotics and fed him kitten food (more calories) to help fatten him up. He is in the kitten room and is doing well. “Buster” is over-the-top friendly and will no doubt find a loving home soon.

Also, of the ten or so kittens that have come in thus far, seven have been orange. Every year seems to focus on a different color, this must be the Year of the Orange. As Martha Stewart says “That’s a good thing.” Why? Because orange cats are the most popular color. Orange cats always get adopted quickly. I’m not really sure why, but as long as they get adopted, that is all that matters.

Miscellaneous News
I have had some kittens trickling in, mostly bottle babies. I was extremely fortunate to have a local woman volunteer to bottle feed. She lives alone and really needed something to do while she is sheltering in place. Having been raised on a farm she was experienced in feeding young animals. She has been a God send to me. She doesn’t mind getting up every few hours to feed, and I am truly grateful for her help. A few older kittens went to rescue.

One elderly couple asked for help with a pregnant feral they have been feeding. It comes inside their apartment and eats. I left them with a carrier to entice the cat into, but after two weeks were unable to secure the cat. They asked me to just come get the carrier, but the cat is ready to give birth so I am going to ask them if I can set a trap in their apartment.

Bad news at my feral refuge. The caretaker called to tell me that dogs had dug a hole under the fenced-off area and entered the refuge. The dogs killed one cat, wrecked the area, and ran off all the cats. Fortunately there are many trees and small places for the cats to escape. Most of the cats returned later. We expect the remainder to return eventually. We will need to replace the tarps, and of course, the hole was filled with rocks.

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 my husband has a Paypal account steamodale@gmail[dot]com. You can send also send donations via snail mail to Jackie Dale, P O Box 1859, Reedley, CA 93654. Questions? jackiejoy@hotmail[dot]com.

You can check out more animal rescue articles in KRL’s animal rescue section!

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.


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