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.I would like to thank everyone who came out to our Spring Open House fundraiser on May 2. From near and far you came to help make this event tremendously successful. Through your continued support, you enable Lynea and The Cat House to continue to care for its many residents. Thanks to your generosity, The Cat House is able to step up when unfortunate circumstances occur. Recently a small cat rescue went defunct and The Cat House took in nearly 50 cats that, until then, had a very uncertain future. In addition, the mild winter has resulted in hundreds of kittens coming through our doors. Each and every dollar that is raised or donated goes to help feed, house, and provide medical attention to The Cat House’s many furry charges.
I am pleased to report that Patsy and Pugsly, rescued from the mountains, were accepted into the Miss Winkles Adoption Center in Clovis. I am very grateful to Lynea and Tracy Jonas-Monge of the SNIP Team for facilitating this for me. I know that this is the best opportunity for Patsy and Pugsly to find their forever homes.
How Many Cats Can A Cat Trapper Catch?
Since my last column, I have been very busy with two TNR projects. The Cat House received a call from the SaveMart grocery store in Kingsburg, about 20 minutes from Reedley. They had a sick feral cat and they were looking to get it some help, as well as to fix all three feral cats that lived near the market. The caller was referred to me and I agreed to help. When I arrived, the sick cat was hunkered down underneath a water machine to the side of the store.
There was a huge pile of kibble dumped on the ground right in front of the machine. The employee who called said that customers would leave the food. I said that if they provided a container for the food to the side of the machine, people would use it and thus eliminate people getting water having to deal with a pile of cat food. The store agreed and containers for both food and water were provided.
I set a trap and, with the assurance that the night crew at the market would check the trap frequently, I left it overnight chained to a pole. The next day, I had trapped, not the sick cat, but one of the other ferals, a large dude the market employees called “Slim Shady.” Slim gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “spittin’ mad.” Slim was fixed and upon release he took off like a rocket towards the back of the store.
Meanwhile I had received another call for TNR from a school located in rural Kingsburg. They had four cats living at the school and they wanted to get them all fixed. The school was more than happy to let the cats remain; they earned their keep by providing much needed gopher control. However the school said they were weary of finding homes for the constant parade of kittens.
So I set up one trap at the market and two traps at the school with instructions for the traps to be checked frequently and to call me when they caught anything. The next morning I was in Squaw Valley at my line dance club rehearsal when I got a call from the school. Both traps had a cat. Then the market called; they had a cat as well. I was an hour away so I told them to keep the traps shaded and I would be there as soon as I could.
At the school I found, not the prolific mother cat, but one of her now-grown kittens, a small grey female and a very large, very upset orange cat. Poor Orange had evidently tried to ram his way out of the trap using his face as a battering ram. The market trap also had a female in it, but not the sick one we were trying to capture. I put two traps on the back seat of my car and stacked the third on top. I took them back to my house where I set them all up for the night. I loaded them up in the morning for the trip to The Cat House, picked them up that afternoon and took them back to my house to spend the night. The next afternoon I returned them to their respective “homes.”The following evening I reset the traps for the next round. I returned to the school early the next morning to find I had finally caught the mother cat and re-captured the evidently not-too-bright orange cat. Mom was fixed and returned. I have one more cat to trap at the school, a large tuxedo cat. The next day, the market called; the sick cat had been captured. Named by the market employees “Lucky,” he has spent almost a month in The Cat House clinic with a severe eye infection. He is much better and will soon be able to return to the market.
More Kittens in Selma
I was driving to my job at the gym in Selma, and was shocked to see kittens playing on the grass. It had been several weeks since I had seen any cats. I always leave food and someone repeatedly removes the food bowls. After my class I returned and the kittens were still playing, with the (fixed) female tortie watching over them. As I pulled up, the female, Lil’ Sister, ran over to my car. When I got out, I also saw her brother, Lil’ Boy, my favorite orange Manx, hovering nearby. No sign of the original mom or her two daughters; all three were still unfixed. Lil’ Boy seemed fearful, not coming out to me as he used to do. I put down food for them and got my net. The kittens were still playing, blissfully (for me) unaware of my presence. I very slowly sidled along the row of bushes, one step at a time. Finally close enough, I took a deep breath and leaped at them. The net went over all three kittens, but one managed to escape. I got to my car only to discover I didn’t have my carrier. Holding the wiggling net of kittens in one hand, I grabbed my ballet bag, dumped the contents in the trunk and used it to carry the kittens.
When I returned on Wednesday, there was kitten number three playing on the lawn. Same scenario. Snuck up with the net and in one fell swoop, I had the kitten. Now the strange thing is these cats look nothing like any of the cats that live there, and at approximately 6-7 weeks of age, they are not the least bit feral. In my experience feral kittens are feral right from the beginning. To be that age and not completely feral is just unheard of. It is entirely possible that heartless cretins dumped them there. They are now being fostered in my master bathroom. THEY WILL NEED HOMES! Put your dibs on the one you want now!
At the post office this week, I was handed a note left for me by a local mail carrier about a mom and her litter of kittens living in the bushes on a local mail route. Another lady sent me information about a colony of cats living near a small market in Selma. And several people have mentioned that the K-Mart in Kingsburg has a couple of dozen cats living behind the store. Looks like I might be pretty busy for a while. Just call me Jackie Dale, Cat Trapper.
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.