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.
It has been about a year now that I have been writing this column on behalf of the Cat House on the Kings. The reason I do this is to further the cause of bringing the Cat House into the public eye and encourage donations. It costs quite a bit of money to take care of 1,000 cats. I also strive to promote our mission to provide low-cost spay and neuter services and most importantly, the education of the public on the importance of spay and neuter.
The importance of the education portion of our mission was never made clearer than with a recent incident. There was a post on Facebook from someone looking for a specific breed of dog with the stipulation that the dog not have been fixed. I replied with a comment that breeding dogs for the sake of making money was socially irresponsible in a society that was already overwhelmed with homeless animals. I was told, in so many words, to mind my own business. I responded that this is exactly my business and threw out some facts and figures on the dismal state of animal welfare in this valley. Their response was a new one for me. I have never in all my years heard this particular reason to not spay or neuter your pet. Are you ready? This person stated: “It is immoral to spay and neuter animals because they are unable to give their consent.” Really? Surely you jest! My response was to state that I saw very little satisfaction in having a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. This person is the winner of this month’s “You Can’t Fix Stupid” award.
Second place goes to the lady who has a never-ending stream of free kittens posted on Facebook. A polite comment about our low-cost spay services was met with a reply to “Keep my offensive remarks to myself” and a lame excuse about how “accidents happen”. To claim your prizes, please call us and repeat these words: “Yes, I am that stupid”.
My family and I are currently fostering four orphaned, Lynx Point Siamese kittens. Their mother was killed and they were so young they needed to be bottle-fed. They have now progressed to swimming through their meals in a pie pan in the bathtub. I found that feeding them in the tub made for easy cleanup. My husband is being a very good sport about sharing the bathroom with them, even when they try to climb his legs. They are cute and rambunctious kittens that will grow into gorgeous cats. When they reach 2 pounds they will be spayed and up for adoption.
I recently received a call from a teacher at an elementary school here in Reedley. He said there was a mother cat and some newborn kittens living under a shed behind the cafeteria. I went to the school where the cafeteria workers had caught two of the black and white kittens, which turned out to be about four weeks old. I took the kittens to the Cat House where we were fortunate enough to have a lactating mama cat who happily took on the job of feeding and grooming the tiny kittens. That still left the mother cat, at least two more kittens and strangely, one orange kitten that seemed about 10-12 weeks old. The age demographic seemed so wrong compared to the others and I suspect someone dumped the kitten when they noticed the other cats there. This kitten has a severe eye infection and that eye is sealed shut. I was not able to get any more kittens. The space is very small and I had to squeeze my way between the building and the wall.
It became quickly apparent to me that the school workers just wanted me to come in and remove the cats. They did not want to help in any fashion. I told them that we could fix and return the mom. No response. I asked if anyone would be willing to provide sustenance for the cat over the summer. People looking at the ground, hemming and hawing was my answer. I tried to talk to the principal and my calls and messages were not returned. I contacted the teacher who originally called me and asked him to speak to the principal. He said that the principal was aware of the situation and would get back to me regarding permission for me to go onto school grounds to attend to these cats.
School has since closed and this cat and her kittens are now without any source of food or water. The mom needs to be trapped and spayed and the kittens need to be removed. One of our Reedley foster moms, Jan Schpansky, has offered to assist me in this endeavor. The kittens will not likely survive without intervention. We just need the permission and access to the locked area where these kittens are located. I am trying to get the school to understand that if something is not done, this mama cat will only have more babies and their problem will only multiply, literally.
My teenage daughter and I spent some time playing with kittens on a trip to Cat House. It was so much fun. Don’t you think it might be fun to come out and play with our kittens? They need stimulation and socialization as they wait for their fur-ever homes. Now that summer vacation is here, my daughter will be volunteering some of her time at the Cat House. She enjoys playing with the kittens, but she also pitches in with the not so fun but necessary duties such as scooping the litter boxes. Our adult kitties need and want lots of petting too. There is no shortage of cute, furry heads looking for a scratch behind the ears! If you are interested in coming out to visit or volunteer just give us a call at 638-0490.
Our adoption rate has certainly picked up since the opening of our center at the Fresno Petco, but the kittens are coming in faster than we can adopt them out. Petco is open seven days a week, so please come by and take a gander at some of the cuties we have waiting to be chosen. We also have lots of kittens at the Cat House and you can view many of these on our website. It is always a joyful moment when one of our cats or dogs is picked for adoption. Please consider an adult or senior cat if you are not up for the high energy of a kitten. We have many awesome adult cats that would be perfect companions for any household.
Lynea continues to receive between 30-50 calls every day from people with kittens they want us to take. If people would just get their cats fixed, poor Lynea’s ear might get a rest. Some calls are for cats/kittens in need of immediate rescue. Most are from people who simply failed to get their cat fixed and just want to be rid of the result of their inaction.
I personally get weary of people who tell me that they have a boy cat so they don’t bother to neuter it. Yeah, so they just travel around fighting, spraying, yowling and making more kittens. I have a hard time believing that some people can be so shortsighted and irresponsible. Unfortunately this is a prevalent attitude in the valley. I had one gentleman overhear that I was from the Cat House and he proceeded to tell me how Lynea had given him the business when he called for help. “What was his problem?” I asked? He said that he lived in a local senior mobile home park and a stray cat had been walking on his truck.
I laughingly told him that I was not surprised by Lynea’s response to his problem. I added that we have much bigger issues than a stray cat walking on his truck. I asked him what he did about the cat and he said; “I got rid of it.” With a stern look of consternation on my face I asked him just exactly how he “got rid of the cat.” He said he took it to a friend of his who owns a dairy and needed some rat control. Well, that is all well and good, but I advised him that he should have got the cat fixed first. He didn’t care. Like so many others he simply wanted his problem to go away with absolutely no effort on his part whatsoever. It is exactly this attitude that will ensure the Cat House on the Kings will have no shortage of work anytime in the near future.
The Cat House on the Kings Summer newsletter is out. If you have not signed up to receive our newsletter you can do so by going to our website. Until then you can click on the link to read the current issue.
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Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section.