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 am going to start this column with the story of my hero cat, Big Fat Mannie. I live in the country on one and a third fenced-in acres. Despite the fence, we get the occasional critter coming through. On this particular day, I was in the backyard, filling the water bucket and refilling the hummingbird feeder. I left the house and about an hour later received a text from my husband that Big Fat Mannie (he weighs 18 sturdy pounds) had saved his life by warning him about an imminent danger. Then he sent me a picture of a four foot long diamondback rattlesnake.He said that as he was walking past the back door, which is glass with a wooden border, he noticed that Mannie was outside acting strangely. He was puffed up and every time one of the twins, Sebastian and Squishy, tried to get past him, Mannie would block their path. Finally my husband opened the door, thinking that Mannie just wanted to come in, and there it was. Stretched across the very first step out the door was the snake, head up and rattles a shakin’. My husband slammed the door, got a shovel and quickly dispatched the snake. I will be forever grateful to my Mannie for saving my husband (and the twins) from the bite of the poisonous snake. Mannie gets a lifetime of treats!
The Selma Sagas
I have been extremely frustrated with my attempts to trap the several females at my Selma colony. Driving 30 minutes to Selma, setting up the traps, and then watching them circle them for several hours became too much for me. I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and shell out the money for a drop trap. Drop traps are generally employed to catch those trap-wary cats that continue to elude us. It is like a big rabbit trap. It is propped up and when the cat goes to eat the food, you yank the rope, bringing down the cage. They are not cheap. The trap itself cost $125 and you must purchase the transfer cage ($85) because without it, you have no way to remove the cat. The cage fastens onto the door on the side of the trap, then both doors can be lifted and the cat can be ushered in. You lower the door on the cage and voila!
I posted my intention to purchase the trap on my Facebook page. My wonderful, sweet and generous friend, Karen Rae, sent me a message that the trap was purchased and it was on the way to my house. I was absolutely floored by her generosity. Karen, who is one of The Cat House on the Kings’s staunchest supporters, continuously supports the efforts of the people who donate their time and energy to do the TNR work. We most humbly thank you, Karen!
So the first day I used the trap, I caught one of the ladies in about five minutes. I was so thrilled! Really pumped up now, I went out the next day and again, wham, bam, thank you ma’am, another cat in less than 10 minutes. While I still have a few more to go, I am now equipped to get the job done much more efficiently.
I make a special trip to feed on Saturdays, and one day an older gentleman watched me go about my duties. Then he gets out of his truck and comes over. “So you are the one who feeds these cats?”
“Well, yes” I said, not really sure where this was going. He then pressed a $20 bill into my hand and said, “This is to help out a little.” I was surprised, but I thanked him. He said it was nothing, “You do all the hard part,” he said. I was touched. As we stood there chatting, a passing truck exploded and burst into flames right there in front of us. I thought a bomb had gone off. Not really cat-relevant, but exciting nonetheless.
I saw him again the following Saturday, he meets with friends weekly at a nearby restaurant, and he gave me another $20. The kitties are most grateful for his spontaneous contributions to their food fund!
The Anti-TNR Movement
Lynea received an email recently from a woman in Pennylvania asking if The Cat House on the Kings supported TNR. Lynea enthusiastically responded that we most certainly do. The woman then asked if we “contained” all the feral cats and colonies with escape-proof fencing. When she said no, we return them to where we trapped them, hence the “R” in TNR, the woman launched into attack mode. She said she wanted to use The Cat House as an example of responsible TNR and she was very disappointed that we were “allowing” cats to roam freely. We had been baited. She is a wildlife rescuer who feels that all cats on Earth must be kept confined and contained because they are responsible for killing off the wild birds of the planet.
Well, Lynea gave her two cents’ worth on the subject and invited me to comment as well. I politely responded and tried to explain the conditions we are dealing with here. I also explained that this is a rural area where cats are used for rodent control. She responded by ranting and raving, telling me to “go away,” that we are “so typically defensive as are all the TNR groups” she has contacted. Apparently she does this as a hobby, baiting and then attacking people who are only trying to help mitigate a growing problem.
She continued her tirade on Facebook. She insulted and slammed The Cat House on the Kings and the TNR we do, saying that cats are basically ruining the world and they should be regulated like dogs. She never answered my question (“where am I supposed to put these cats?”). She called us “nutcases” on her Facebook page; frankly I think it is she who is the nutcase here. Having no desire to engage in her circular maze of illogical thinking, I suggested that it would be best to mind her business on her own side of the country and we would do the same.
The Great Cat Rescue
We had another of our cats get stuck up in our cork oak tree. Cork oaks have thick branches that go straight up with no outward branches. Easy to get up, very difficult to get down. Not wanting to ask my friend for her boom truck, (again), we attempted the rescue ourselves. Our teen daughter volunteered to go up the tree. We tried to coax him down but he was too scared. So I got my net and my husband attached it to the end of a pool-cleaning pole. As we stood underneath, my daughter was finally able to get Mr. Squishy into the net, but on the way down he tried to get out and ended up hanging from outside the net. Frantically looking around, I see an old couch cushion the cats use for a bed. I grab it; throw it to my husband yelling, “Catch him!” He catches the cushion and holds it out as Mr. Squishy falls, landing square on the cushion. Whew! Never a dull moment!
Save the date: Our Fall Open House is Saturday, November 7. We need auction donations and volunteers. Contact Tammy Barker at Tammy@cathouseonthekings[dot]com.
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.