Jackie Dale The Cat Mother/Cat Trapper: Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady

Apr 30, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale, Pets, Reedley News

by Jackie Dale

The past month has been a virtual whirlwind of cats and kittens. Almost every single day I receive a call or text regarding some cat-related issue. Around the middle of March, I took in two females: one adult and one about six months old. Both turned out to be pregnant. Just by looking at them, neither appeared to be pregnant, so I was surprised by the news.


I also agreed to keep a cat for a 30-day stray hold. The cat had been picked up as a stray in another county. They required a thirty-day holding period, and my friend asked if I could foster. He already had an adopter waiting. While in my care, I had the cat re-scanned for a microchip, determined he was already neutered, had him disease tested and vaccinated. “Ah-mie” eventually went to his new home where it took him about sixty seconds to win over his new owner’s heart!

And the cats kept coming and coming…

March 22, I accepted three small kittens from a friend who brought them along with very generous donation. Kittens go through a ton of formula!

Missing a foot and has ringworm

March 23, I took in a kitten who turned to not only have a fairly bad case of ringworm, but was missing one foot. Judging from the looks, it appears to be a birth defect. That kitten is currently in isolation and receiving treatment.

March 26, Two newborn kittens from the local shelter. I had two nursing moms and added the kittens to the mom who had kittens of a similar size.

Lots of mommy cats this year

March 28, Picked up two Siamese kittens at a local business. I got a call from a young lady and her mother who, while taking a walk, had heard the kittens crying inside a local business. They called the number on one of the trucks parked inside, reaching the corporate headquarters of a large plumbing supply company. They located the owner of the Reedley business who sent one of his workers down to open the gate. By now it was pouring rain and the kittens were soaked to the bone. The feral mom will eventually be trapped and fixed. I immediately took both kittens to the vet where it was determined one kitten was already blind and the other would likely lose sight in at least one eye, if it even survived. It was cold, limp and lethargic. However with some TLC and luck, the kitten began to recover.

March 30, Lynea at The Cat House on the Kings received a call from a local woman about kittens running around a parking lot. She asked if I could go check it out. I arrived to find the woman had four orange kittens in a box. Every single one had serious eye infections. A short time later that day, three more were found underneath vehicles in the parking lot. They were orange, too, and of course, had eye infections. Lynea said to bring the seven gingers to The Cat House along with the two Siamese. Lynea also was kind enough to also take EIGHT of my kittens. That significantly lightened my load and I am beyond grateful!

Year of the ginger

March 31, One of my husband’s employees called him regarding a feral cat they had been feeding. They had found it lying on the ground, seemingly unable to move. They had no idea what to do so they called him because they knew he was married to TheCatMother. My husband went and got the cat and I immediately examined it. It hissed at me, so I used leather gloves and a thick towel to pick it up. All the limbs were moving and I found absolutely no signs of trauma of any kind. However, I noticed that the cat’s pupils were fully dilated and its head was bobbing. The vet squeezed me in right away. Based on the neurological symptoms and complete lack of visible trauma, the vet said that in his opinion, rabies was a very real possibility. I was so shocked! The vet quizzed me about whether anyone had been bitten or scratched. His recommendation was to euthanize. This was a first for me.

As we move into April, the pace remained brisk…

April 6, A friend offers me two spots to get some ferals fixed for free. In the TNR world, we NEVER like to waste appointments. I got two of the not-friendly cats from one of the hoarders.

Tortie mom off to rescue

April 7, The next day, after putting two adult cats on a transport to rescue, I went back to the apartment complex where I got the seven orange kittens. I located the orange mother cat and got her into a carrier to get spayed the next day. I had also been told there was a cat there with some sort of injury. A resident helped me locate the cat, and we put it in a carrier. I was horrified to see that the cat had a severe rectal prolapse. At least six inches of the colon was outside the body. The vet confirmed this and the decision was made to euthanize.

April 8, A man brought me six ginger kittens found abandoned out in the country. The finder gave a nice donation to help pay for formula. Same day a man calls about a single kitten in his yard. I go over there, and the man says it got out of the box. He doesn’t want to touch the kitten because he has a new puppy. Say what?!

Golf course cat

April 10-14, I got the green light from a local golf course to commence with the TNR project. This is a massive undertaking with an estimated seventy-five cats. The first week has been completed with eleven cats trapped and fixed. Of the eleven cats, seven were female. The manager asked me what would happen if they didn’t allow feeding of the cats. I flat out told him that I would not TNR. He replied, “That’s what I thought.” I could tell that he was not a cat fan. However, he obviously understood the need to mitigate their current circumstances. Trapping will continue for at least eight weeks.

From fearful to friendly

April 14, After returning the cats to the golf course, I had to go pick up a mom and five kittens. The finder was pregnant and didn’t want cats around. She gave a cash donation, some cat food, and a big box of cleaning supplies.

April 15, A man called me about a kitten he found. We agreed to meet at a McDonald’s. As I waited by my car, the man pulls up and asks me if I am there for the kitten. I said I was and he just hands me a box and drives away. Not so much as a how-dee-do! Well! Some people are just extremely rude. They think they are just handing over one tiny kitten. What they are really giving me is aggravation, (kittens are loud!) work, (kittens are messy!) and expense, (kittens need stuff, like food, spaying, meds/vaccinations!)

Cutest kitten

April 16, Picked up a large, white male stray cat that had a burst abscess. He was neutered and his wound was cleaned and treated. He was returned to his home where his feeder reports his is doing well. Hopefully, getting neutered will reduce his desire to tussle with other cats.

April 18, Drove seven cats/kittens of assorted ages to rescue! It’s a 2-1/2 hour drive so that pretty much took the whole day.

April 19, Picked up a stray fellow who had taken up residence in the backyard of a nice couple. They said it had been there several weeks. They kindly held onto it for a few more days until a space became available. I got him neutered the next day and two days later, off he went to rescue.

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.

You can check out more animal rescue articles in KRL’s animal rescue section! Join our Pets Facebook group to help keep up with our pet articles.

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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