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.
Spring Open House
I begin this column by offering our monumental thanks to Tammy Barker and her team of volunteers for once again producing a spectacular Spring Open House Fundraiser. Tammy’s tireless efforts and relentless attention to detail are the reasons we have such successful events.
The silent auction had many unique items, the bidding was strong and steady and there was a feverish last minute rush to place bids as the auction wound to a close. The raffle for Maxine Harris’s beautiful quilt raised a whopping $2,125! The winner was Samantha Dodd of Colorado. Kerry Bashir, author of The Little Marmalady, flew in from Boston to attend the open house and autograph copies of her book. One big surprise of the day was the appearance of valley historian, Bill Coate. Dressed out in full historical regalia, Bill sold autographed copies of his book, History’s Shocking Secrets, for $5 and donated the proceeds to the Crazy-Fur-Catz project.
As I mentioned in a previous column, a group of four girls from Century Elementary School started a service project to educate the public about the importance of spay and neuter, and to bring awareness to the work being done by the Cat House on the Kings. Kaylee Gunn and Bill’s granddaughter, Kristine, set up a booth displaying their project, including a video of a talking Casper, the cat Kaylee and her mom rescued. Their project won 1st place in the both regional and state finals. They are now trying to raise the money to send the team to the global finals to be held in Tennessee. The girls raised an astounding $1,000 dollars that day and are halfway to the needed $10,000. They are extremely well spoken when describing their project, and their incredible passion is quite evident in their enthusiastic presentation. Check out their page on Facebook!
Oceans of Kittens!
We are absolutely drowning in a tsunami of kittens. We have already taken in 550 kittens since January. Lynea continues to field between 30 and 50 calls A DAY from people with unwanted or abandoned kittens. The sad truth is we simply don’t have the resources to save them all. This means we are often put in the heartbreaking position of have to choose which cats we can save. Tammy Barker was at the funeral of Lynea’s mother when she received a frantic voicemail. A man said that his neighbor had killed a mother cat and left her three newborns without a mama. Tammy said she could hear the hungry kittens screaming in the background. The man had no money, car or food for the kittens. A volunteer picked up the kittens. They were starving, dehydrated and covered in fleas. One had a very severe hernia. Bubbles had successful surgery and joined his siblings, Binky and Blue, being fostered and handfed by Tammy.
I am continuously astounded as to the depths of depravity that people in our so-called civilized society will sink. Defenseless, innocent kittens (and puppies) dumped and abandoned in parking lots and fields. I have heard reports of cats/kittens tossed from car windows, incidents of horrific torture (cat covered in glue) and animals sealed up inside plastic bins and tossed in the garbage. We ourselves received a call from the local police. A mama cat had been suffocated inside a plastic bag. In another bag were the cat’s still alive newborn kittens. Unfortunately these kittens did not make it. Victims of yet another stupid, cruel and dare I say, sociopathic owner. Truly I ask, what sort of demented mind can justify this kind of behavior? This is not the sort of actions that a decent, normal person would do.
I realize that these stories are disturbing, but we must address these heinous actions if we are to make any headway in getting through to the people who think this is morally acceptable behavior. How a person treats other living creatures is a very telling testament of that person’s true character. Roll this little tidbit around in your head: virtually every serial killer started out by killing animals.
A Reedley Rescue
It always seems that I get called to assist in a rescue whenever I am writing this column. This time was no different. I received a call from a friend, Jan Schpansky, who found a small orange kitten in the alley behind her house. It was “blind” due to the fact that its eyes were crusted shut and were oozing bloody pus. I arrived at her house only to be reminded that rarely is there only one kitten. Jan returned to the alley only to discover five more kittens for a total of six, three tortoiseshells and three gingers. The feral mother cat had been living in the alley since my friend had moved into the house. Months long attempts to trap her have proved fruitless. At her own expense, Jan had already trapped, fixed and kept two of the kittens from her previous litter. Several neighbors with unaltered tomcats who were visiting her yard and doing a lot of territorial spraying only compounded the problem for Jan.
All but one of the kittens had severe eye infections. I took them to the Cat House for treatment and then returned the two healthiest to my friend. Jan would foster and socialize them for adoption. The plan is to also use the kittens to hopefully lure the mother into a trap so she can be spayed. She will then be returned to her home in the alley as she is too feral to ever be adopted, and Jan will continue to provide food for her.
Jan Schpansky is a perfect example of someone who is making the effort to fix her little section of the world. She trapped and fixed animals that technically were not hers. She chose to feed a homeless cat. She already has a potential adopter lined up for one, maybe even two of the kittens and she took on the responsibility of doing the right thing. I frequently hear people with complaints, but they always want someone else to do all the dirty work. Jan, you are a stand-up person, Kudos to You!!
Jackie on her Soapbox
If everyone would attempt to convince even one person to spay or neuter their pet, it would go a long towards solving the problem of too many unwanted animals. Hundreds of animals are euthanized monthly because there are simply no homes for them. With the low-cost options available now, there is really no excuse to allow your pet to breed. If you can’t be bothered to spay or neuter your pet, then I beg you to reconsider whether or not you really should have a pet at all. Become part of the solution, do not become part of the problem.
Our greatest wish is that someday we will be put out of business. We can dream, can’t we? But in the meantime we are working our behind’s off to save as many cats/kittens as we can. Can we count on your help? We always need donations, volunteers and advocates. We are seriously low on kitten food. Our wish list is on our website and Amazon will deliver it straight to the Cat House. Food donations can also be taken to the Cat House or the Petco @ Blackstone/Ashlan. Convince or persuade someone to fix his or her cat. (or dog) Be prepared with options, phone numbers and an offer of help, such as a ride to the spay appointment. Call 638-0490 for spays and neuter appointments at the Cat House. Remember we also fix small dogs!
Remember, if you advertise with Kings River Life, 10% of the ad fee can be denoted to the Cat House on the Kings. No donation amount is ever too small. Ever.
Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section.