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.
The Selma Saga: It Never Ends
July has been a hot and busy month. As my Selma kitties have slowly returned, I noticed that they’re beginning to do some kind of construction on the adjacent vacant property. They are ripping out concrete and removing trees and brush. I’m worried that they will tear down the bushes where my cats live. I am already scouting out the area to the rear of the store. Should the bushes go, the cats would have to move.I really hope this doesn’t happen. The bushes have been home to my kitties for so long, they have developed a series of tunnels that serve as their escape from harm. They frolic on the lawn when it is cool and rest in the dense brush during the heat of the day. My favorite, Lil’Boy, always runs to greet me when I arrive. He knows my voice, even seeming to recognize the sound of my car. Sometimes he comes so close to me, I will stick out my finger toward him. He usually will smack it with his paw. Lately he has stopped smacking my finger and he allows to me briefly touch his face, though with “one finger only, please!”
I went to feed my feral brood a couple of weeks ago on Friday. I don’t work nearby on Friday but I make the one-hour round trip to feed and water my kitties for the weekend. I saw two new food bowls, one with water and the other had dog food in it. This is sometimes a bad sign. Sure enough I see a new adult, a small thin tabby. And suddenly a small furry blur flies by my ankles. It’s a kitten. It walks up to Lil’ Boy who proceeds to smack the tiny kitten. I go grab my net and got so very close to catching it, but the net hooked on something and the kitten escaped. I went home but returned that evening when it was cooler. I hung around for two sweaty hours before giving up and going home. I came back the following morning. Food and water were still good so I gave them some canned food. The kitten did not appear.I went into the nearby Wal-mart and bought a few items. As I drove by the cat’s area, I noticed a trucker walking to his truck, and he was looking toward the cat’s area. He looked down longer than I would have expected unless there was something to see. So I decided to swing by one last time before going home. I got out and I stood there looking around, seeing nothing. Then I looked down and there it was, crouched down under some foliage, about two feet in front of me. I swiftly ran through my options: no time to get the net, and I was certain that if I grabbed it, I would get bitten. I decided I would risk the bite, prepared myself for the pain, lunged and grabbed it. As my hand closed around the itty, bitty, kitty, it seemed surprised but it just hung there quietly as I held it by the scruff of the neck.
I put the kitten in the carrier and it only took a few minutes to realize that, as I suspected, this kitten was not feral. The two newcomers I’ve noticed, and this kitten, were all most likely dumped there by the same person. I have not seen any other kittens, so hopefully there are not any more. It was only a few minutes before it was in my lap purring. My son was eating chicken nuggets so I broke a couple of the nuggets into tiny pieces. The kitten ripped into that chicken like a monkey on a cupcake!
It was obvious that the other cats were not allowing the kitten to eat. This is a common occurrence when new cats are dumped into an existing colony. They don’t welcome them with open arms as many people think, they are shunned and picked on and not allowed to join the others to eat. They only get what is left over, and sometimes that is nothing. This kitten was so small that his chances of survival were slim.
Now he is at The Cat House on the Kings where he will be safe and well fed until he is adopted. I plan to contact the City of Selma about erecting a sign informing people that dumping/abandoning animals is in fact, against the law. It is sad to realize that there are people out there with so little compassion, ethics, or morals, and quite probably no soul.
The Lady With 30 Cats
First and foremost, I wish to say thank you very much to everyone who donated money to accomplish this major project! I am extremely touched and overwhelmed by your generosity. We exceeded the goal of $300, so each cat will also be able to get the four-in-one vaccination shot. This will help keep the colony healthy.
Phase One of the project was launched the second week in July. We decided it would be more orderly to do them in groups of the same sex. So I went over to Catalina’s house with four traps and three carriers. We got seven of the biggest studs and they were transported to my house for the night. I have a small travel trailer where I set up the rather pungent fellows. Two of the smaller ones spent the night in my bathroom. Fortunately it was not too hot that day, so fans were sufficient to keep the boys cool.
The next morning they were whisked off to The Cat House for their surgeries. One of the boys turned out to be a girl—but that’s okay! One of the kittens was a bobtail, highly adoptable, so Lynea said they would keep that one. The rest returned to my home to recuperate overnight. The next day I took the stinky boys back to Orange Cove. I explained to Catalina how the smell would subside as the hormones diminished over the next few weeks. I also told her how The Cat House had generously kept one of the cats. She seemed okay with that. However, a few days later, Catalina called me. Her daughter was very upset that the cat was not returned, claiming she had a home for it. The son subsequently told me that he wanted the cat because of the stumpy tail. Somewhat confused by the conflicting stories, I told them it was too late, a done deal, the cat was gone. I apologized but pointed out that they had many cats and should be glad to be rid of at least one.The following week was Phase Two. I scheduled one entire day of appointments for the cats. I enlisted the help of my friend who’d brought this situation to my attention, Andrea Luther, to help me transport. My car simply would not hold ten cats! We had two large pop-up crates in which we placed three cats each. Then one cat in each of the four traps for a total of ten, all females. I must say, the girls certainly smelled better than the boys did! Andrea took the six in the two crates and I took the four traps. It was too hot for the trailer so I set them up in a bedroom. I spread out waterproof pads and put the cages on top.
Then we had to load them up in the morning, transport them to The Cat House and reverse the whole process a few hours later. After the night in recovery, Andrea returned the whole lot on Saturday morning. Shortly after, I receive a call from Catalina. She claimed that one of her favorite females had not been returned. I assured her that we picked up and returned 10 cats. I told her the cat probably was sulking under a cool bush somewhere.
Phase 3 will take place in mid-August, as that is the soonest I could book another full day. Lots of folks are taking advantage of the $10 spay/neuter fee. That is a good thing! Thanks again for the donations. You guys rock!
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.