The Cat House on the Kings: My Hero Cat, Selma Sagas, TNR Debate, Amazing Cat Rescue

Aug 29, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale

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. snake


Big Fat Mannie

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! cats

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. WP_20150823_09_15_40_Pro

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

catWe 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.

Jackie Dale is a freelance writer who lives in Reedley with her husband of 24 years, Frank, and their 2 children. Jackie currently writes for Traffic Magazine and for The Cat House on the Kings Feline Rescue. A former ballerina, Jackie now teaches yoga and fitness classes privately and at local area gyms. Jackie and her family have 6 dogs and 12 cats, all rescues.


  1. I am no expert on TNR, but I think it is a good solution. While I imagine that wild birds are killed by cats, I don’t think that cats are going to lead to the extinction of a species. Birds and other animals are probably more threatened by humans moving into their habitats and all the chaos that brings.

    We had quite a few cats (stray/feral or just outside cats) living in our neighborhood more than 10 years ago, but we rarely see a cat anymore. I think one of my neighbors is very active in the TNR community.

    • not sure why my reply to you is farther down, hmmm

  2. I love the story about the cat and couch cushion. We had strays we fed. One Sunday morning I looked out and there was the male in a tree crying ( we think he was afraid of heights). He was only about 6 feet off the ground but would not budge. my husband had some wood left from a diy project and made make shift ramp for him. He flew down! We haven’t seen him since Jan. and we miss Stretch. The female still comes to eat and visit.
    I just adopted a stray 10 days ago. She was waiting in my parking space at work that morning as if to say ” Here I am waiting for you”! I like to think Stretch set my way.

    • thanks Marsha, love your story about the ramp! And the parking lot kitty. Heartwarming!

  3. Thanks for your comments Beth. In our area, TNR is currently the only solution to problem of stray and feral cats. Allowing them to multiply unchecked would undoubtedly cause the death of even more birds, hence her illogical argument.
    Thanks again.

  4. What an amazing story about Big Fat Mannie! Brave cat! Where did he originally come from?
    I agree, it’s wonderful when people support your TNR work and give you an unexpected donation. We feed and care for
    a small group of feral cats; and have some very generous and caring donors – which helps a great deal!
    Keep up the great work!

    • I gave $20 to a homeless lady for Mannie and his brother Moe. Amazing boys! Thanks for your comments and keep up the good work as well!

  5. I agree 100% – if people were responsible about having their pets neutered or spayed we would probably not have any issues with overfilled shelters, strays, roamers. I always find it amazing that people who are against the TNR don’t have another alternative to help solve the issue. I am forever grateful for people like Lynea who have been willing to run a great shelter like she does. I continue to support “The Cat House on the Kings” – and hope that someday we won’t need any “kill-shelters” for unwanted animals.

    • Thanks Lorraine!

  6. My cats warned me about a timber rattler several weeks ago. I noticed Joe Bob kept looking under the car on the carport and I suspected one of the other cats was hiding under there. But then I noticed Sammy would not come on the carport, even though I was calling him for supper. I went ahead and fed everyone and I noticed an unusual noise but it didn’t register what it was. I finally looked where Joe Bob was looking and saw the coiled up rattler. So, a big shout out to my cats for being on guard duty.

    • Good kitty! And some people think they don’t have any value. Shows what they know.

  7. Thank you for all the work you do. I really enjoyed the newsletter and keeping up with your life at the Kings!

    • Thank You Melissa!

  8. As a cat rescuer and practitioner of TNR I remind folks who like to blame cats for bird predation that by for the greatest killer of birds is human disruption/destruction of their habitat and perhaps these people need to focus on the bigger problem and stop scapegoating cats.
    TNR means fewer free roaming cats which means it is a positive for the cats, the birds and communities.

    • Exactly my friend! Thank you

  9. If a hose is available and the spray can reach the cat, a treed cat will brave a descent. Some years ago we obtained a pregnant in that way.

    • yeah, lol, a last resort. The previous incident we got a friend with a boom truck to come over, he was 35 feet up

  10. Great article (as usual) Jackie. We fully support TNR for ALL the reasons mentioned above. Kudos to Cat House on the Kings and all of their volunteers for jobs very well done. And a personal thank you to YOU for your continued dedication to saving cats.

    • Thanks so much.

  11. Great story about Big Fat Mannie and the rattlesnake. You’re lucky as the only thing my 2 cats (one feral and another a neighbor was starving) warn me about is their food bowl being empty 🙂
    Great article. Never miss reading it!

    • lol, that is funny. Thanks so much

  12. My sister had a rattlesnake encounter. He was on her back patio right at her back door! The cats alerted her too!
    She called the fire dept. who came out and chopped his head off with a shovel. Turned out he was 10′ long with 8 rattles that made him 8 yrs. old. Fireman made a belt and hat band out of the snake!

    • wow another great story! Thanks!

  13. I hate to disappoint the bird lovers…( as I am too and support the Oasis Sanctuary in Benson, AZ) but cats do so little damage to the birds….do you know that wind turbines kill over 150,000 birds a year …and that is not an exact number…could be more.. and all the natural energy lovers would not like you to know that….Also birds of prey, hawks especially kill birds daily for food…my hawks near my yard get at least two a day…so multiply that times all the hawks in America….Some people just want to blame something. Wonder if she has ever killed a bird with her car….we haven’t counted all the cars in America and all the poor birds who fly into them….Plus all the fires we have each year and all the wild life that suffers we certainly have baby birds that get killed in those…and of course the hurricanes and tornadoes… Yep…I’d say the cats verdict is not guilty…I rest my case

    • I like birds, I save birds when needed. All living creatures have value. Except maybe roaches, lol. Cats are part of the natural ecosystem and disrupting that would have consequences.
      i.e. Europes Black Plague People were so superstitious they killed off all the cats and look what happened!
      Thanks for your support Denise.

  14. Jackie, I’m glad you got the nieghborhood drop trap system. I belong to a cat rescue group in Anaheim, CA. and we have been using the drop trap for several years and have managed to get over one hundred cats/kittens for TNR or to be socialized and adopted. It’s a great system, but I’ve made a few modifications that might help you. We found that the metal drop post attached to the trap would catch sometimes on rough surfaces and could only be pulled from a head-on position at the front of the trap, or it might get bent and stick. For the drop post I use a 2″ x 2″ piece of wood (about 14″ tall) with an eyehook near the base with the pull-string attached to it. I also use a 4″ square piece of slick masonite under the wood piece so it slips out very easily on grass, rocks, or any surface (even rough concrete). This wood stand-up piece sitting on the thin masonite slip-plate allows you to pull the string from almost any angle (180 degrees) from the front or side of the trap. Using this wood piece keeps it separate from the trap (we tuck the attached trip rod up under the edge of the top of the drop trap so it’s out of the way during trapping operations). It has worked great for us. I hope this helps you in your great TNR work for TCHOTK.

  15. Sorry for the delay in reply, Jim. I stay pretty busy. lol
    Thanks so much for the helpful tips. I am very happy with the drop trap system too. Thank YOU for helping rescue our feline friends. You are awesome!


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