Jackie Dale-The Cat Mother/Cat Trapper: Lots of Kittens!

Aug 22, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale, Reedley News

by Jackie Dale

It has been a busy month. I still have 12 kittens and one adult cat at my house. One of the adults that I sent to rescue was returned because she wouldn’t stop hissing. She is a very nice cat but she just has this weird habit that is somewhat off-putting. She also doesn’t care for other cats so finding her a home is going to be a challenge. She is reported to be an excellent mouser and enjoys affection; she does not like to be picked up, though. Normally, I would return the cat to the original owner, but they are moving and don’t want her back. I get so many calls for cats left behind when the owners move away. One lady said her neighbor is moving and taking their two younger cats but intend to leave behind the two senior cats, ages 10 and 14. How absolutely black does your soul have to be to have an animal that long and then just abandon it? I truly feel sorry for any children that people such as this may be raising.

Another lady I know in rescue called to say she had a single kitten that had been found in a park. She said she came across a teenage boy who was sitting by the bushes, playing cat sounds on his phone. He said he had been there for an hour trying to lure the frightened kitten out. They finally got the kitten and I agreed to take it. I named him Parker and he turned out to be one of the friendliest, most personable kittens to cross my path in a while. Every now and then you run across one of these kittens that are just, special. I immediately had lots of interest in Parker, but the lady who said she wanted him kept stalling the pickup date so after a week of this I put him back up for adoption. A personal friend of mine adopted him for her daughter’s family and they are head over heels in love with Parker! A definite case of “you snooze, you lose.”


Always Up For A Rescue
I received a message from Lynea one afternoon about an injured kitten in a resident’s garage. It was only 10 minutes from my house and the people called me twice in those 10 minutes asking if I was coming. I assured them I was on my way. I arrived at the residence to be met by the owner and his little boy. I was a bit amused by the fact that they were obviously not cat people. They were completely freaked out by the kitten, It was like they had never seen a cat before. So, the kitten was behind a large piece of wood that had a weight bench at one end. I put on my leather gloves, laid across the weight bench and instructed the man to use a broom to block the other opening and gently usher the kitten towards me. The kitten was understandably scared out of its mind. One eye was crusted over so it had limited sight. I grabbed the kitten and it immediately bit me. I cursed and dropped it but grabbed it again and put it in a carrier. Once at home, I cleaned it up and it looked so much better. Along with the eye issue, the kitten appeared to have an injured rear leg. I took the kitten over to The Cat House on the Kings the next day where their staff took over care and treatment.

I received another call from The Cat House that week. A woman I knew from way back had called, looking for me, under the impression I worked there. She was told that I did not work there, I was an off-site volunteer. So I called the woman to see what she needed. Well, she had heard a cat crying all night in the alley behind her home and in the morning found a cat in trap in the alley. I went over right away. The woman suspects that the cat had been trapped by a neighbor who perhaps did not have good intentions. The Cat House was gracious enough to neuter the big fellow at no charge and he was released back into the neighborhood. I told the woman I would be confiscating the trap and was all gleeful thinking I had just scored a free trap. The trap turned out to be a rusty piece of you-know-what, so old I couldn’t believe it still worked! Darn it. The good news is the woman paid me for my time, gas and efforts. If only they all did that!

Cats In/Cats Out
Out: A rescue, which takes adult cats, said they had some room, so in a 10-day period we sent over eight adult cats. Although we had that one return, Minnie, the rest will now have a chance for wonderful new homes and families.

In: My partner in cat-crime, Janice, called to say someone had found a tiny kitten on their lawn. It was very late though so she went to get it the next morning. She came to find out the people left the little nubbin on the lawn all night! No box, no blanket, nothing. It was a miracle it was still alive. The little guy is still with me and doing absolutely amazing! Eats like a champ and is growing like a weed.

Flea ridden kitty

Out: I was contacted by a woman in Seattle who does cat rescue. She told me there is a shortage of cats in Oregon and Washington and the cats that are available are incredibly expensive. Why is there a shortage? Because everyone fixes their cats and dogs! Go figure! Anyway, she was interested in my trio of orange boys. We struck a deal and the preparations began. First of all I took one of the boys in for a SNAP test which tests for feline AIDS and leukemia.

Orange kittens and friends

Generally in a group of siblings, we only test one kitten. If it is negative we assume all the siblings are negative. In the meantime, arrangements were being made to FLY the kittens to Seattle. This of course took some time as there were several legs and several planes involved, but eventually a schedule was finalized. I told the woman that I had a fourth orange kitten, although smaller and unrelated to the others. She got back to me saying she would like that one too. All four kittens had eager adopters waiting for them! Not only were kittens themselves in short supply, but orange kittens in particular were quite scarce. On the appointed day I arrived at the Fresno Chandler air field to meet the plane. It was a quick process, greetings, hand over the kittens and off they went. They were on a schedule and were using the opportunity of proximity to pick up an injured puppy before meeting the next plane.

Bottle baby Gardner

So much respect and gratitude goes to the people who give of their time and their airplanes to help with animal rescue. You are quite the special breed.

In: Someone, or should I say, “yet another person” (and I use the term “person” lightly because frankly, defectives like this have to go UP three flights just to get to the gutter), dumped five, possibly six cats in my yard. The words I have to describe how I feel about people who do this to me would not be fit to print for the public. Now I have to pay for all these cats to be fixed and vaccinated. Only one is tame enough to come to me. A couple of the younger ones allow me to get pretty close. I really didn’t need this, but I rest assured that Karma will do its job. Karma will be a coming…just when you least expect it…life will sucker-punch you right in mouth.

Out: I have a flurry of appointments to get my kittens fixed so they can GET OUT! LOL.

Once they are fixed it will be off to the rescue or private adoption. I had a lady interested in a kitten and when I mentioned the fee, never heard from her again. I don’t know what people expect. “Fix and vaccinate it and then give it to me for free?” I don’t think so. It is the same thing I always tell people who are giving away kittens for free:
#1. People do not value that which they get for free.
#2. If they can’t afford a nominal fee for a kitten, they have no business getting a pet.

Aside from the money it costs, I put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to maintain the cats and kittens in my care. Every morning, before I even have coffee, I have to feed everyone and scoop boxes. That’s because there is no way you can enjoy morning coffee with assorted felines screaming for food and the smell of un-scooped boxes. Then I open up everything to enjoy the cool, fresh air before it starts to get hot.

Kitten Therapy/More Homeless Kittens
I had an unusual request from the lady who feeds a stray near her home by the airport. She wanted to know if she could “borrow” a couple of kittens for the weekend. She and her teen daughters lived in a small apartment and really wanted to have some “kitten therapy.” I didn’t see any real harm in it, a sort of very short term foster. Plus she gave me a donation, so I took her two playful kittens on a Friday and picked them up on Sunday. All went well and everyone had a good time!

I was quite dismayed, to say the least, to see a new litter of four or five kittens where I feed and where I just did TNR. No idea where they came from. This is getting overwhelming. Even more so as it gets harder and harder to find a vet who can/will do spays and neuters not to mention at a reasonable price. I feel fortunate to have found a vet with good pricing who is still performing surgeries. Many vets are only doing emergency surgeries, no spays or neuters.
That really makes it harder for people like me. But it won’t be like this forever. Until then we do the best we can with what we have!

If you would like to donate to help fund TNR projects, support the feral refuge, or any aspect of my cat-related work, it would be deeply appreciated. I use my husband’s PayPal account (steamodale@gmail[dot]com) and I have a GoFundMe account under my name. You can also send donations via 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.


  1. God will bless you for your work with the cats and kittens. Perhaps the ‘hissy’ cat could become a barn cat on a farm if she is a good mouser. I’ve heard some unadoptable cats are very happy in such cases. Just sent a donation to your GFM account. Keep up the good work. You will be rewarded in Heaven.

    • Thank you so much!! you’ll be happy to know that Minnie has found a nice home


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