by Jackie Dale
In terms of heat, the past month has been exceptionally brutally here in the Central Valley. When the temperatures started climbing up to as high as 114°, it became an issue for my cats in outside cages. I had to make room inside for as many of the cats as I could. At the hottest part of several days, I put four of the cats each in a carrier and lined them up on my couch. At least they stayed cool during the extreme heat of the afternoon. I kept up this routine of musical cats for several weeks. The outside feral cats would lounge in the bushes where we would water everything down for them to keep it cool as possible.
In the meantime, I returned to a local business to complete a TNR. I had previously removed a friendly mother cat, had her spayed, and sent her to rescue. Her four, six-month-old kittens still had to be dealt with now. I set traps and caught two fairly quickly. I had two open spay appointments that very day. The young woman who had been feeding the cats tried to give me a bag of food. This confused me and I said, Don’t you need this to feed them when they come back? The woman looked very surprised and said, You mean you’re bringing them back? I said, What do you think I’m supposed to do with them? She replied that she thought I would send them to rescue like the mother cat. Then we just stood there staring at each other. Finally I explained to her that the only reason the mother cat went to rescue was because she was friendly! I can’t send these wild kittens to rescue, I told her. And I also told her that these kittens are far too old to be brought back from the wild side. Nor am I in the business of cat “rehab.” I just don’t have that kind of time.
She looked very disappointed and then said the boss wants them gone. I have heard every excuse possible and every shifting story. However, I left with the cats, and I was pretty angry. It was clear to me that I couldn’t return the cats and neither did I want to get stuck with them. I posted an urgent plea on Facebook and an angel in disguise came to my rescue. A friend of a friend agreed to take the two siblings to a Fresno business where several other feral cats resided and were well cared for daily. I was very pleased with the location and the business. It was clean and shady, and there was plenty of room. I couldn’t ask for a better spot. Opportunities like this very rarely present themselves, and I am beyond grateful to the people who made this possible.
The same week I received a call from a Clovis business that I had helped with TNR in the past. Someone had dumped an adult Siamese and four kittens: three Siamese and one tabby. I went out on a Sunday night to set the traps since my usual vet day is Mondays. It was really hot, and although a nice industrial park, it was dark and scary. First I drove around for a bit with the A/C on. I returned to find one kitten in the trap. Finally I had enough of sweating in the dark and getting nervous every time a car drove by and decided to just leave the other traps and return early in the morning. I figured if someone stole the traps, oh well.
So I got up at 5 a.m. to return to the business where I had trapped the adult and two more kittens, all three kittens were Siamese. I was pretty sure the adult was a male simply due to his size. The ten-pound cat was in fact, a male. He was neutered and released back at the business. I elected to keep the kittens in the hopes I can calm them down. Siamese kittens are highly desirable, and these kittens are quite beautiful, with gorgeous blue eyes. I believe they are still young enough, and they are already showing vast improvements. The tabby kitten was captured about a week later, and I have my doubts about this one. He seems to have already fully embraced the feral life. I will attempt to bring him around, but should my efforts prove to be futile, he/she, will be fixed and returned to the Clovis business.
One Sunday, I received a call from a nice lady who had a stray cat appear at her home. She lived very near a school. Sometimes people think that a school is a good place to dump a cat. So I arranged to have the cat spayed right away and asked the woman if she could foster the cat for one week. She agreed. Then, thanks to my awesome partner in cat crime, Janice, a transport was arranged! Janice is my liaison so to speak. She is relentless in contacting rescues, not just for me, but for the local dog shelter too! One rescue agreed to take seven and their other facility could take four. I choose two cats from one of my foster people, (both Siamese!), five from my house, and the stray, now named Carmen. I was also transporting another friendly stray as well as two cats from an elderly lady who could no longer care for them. The two rescues are associated so we first dropped off the four and then continued on to the other site to drop off the rest. One cat had a tiny spot of ringworm on one whisker so he was rejected, but the rest were accepted and I was super happy!!
A Flurry of Tinys
A lady in a town named Traver got my number from someone and called me about a kitten she found in her backyard. She has been feeding some feral cats and one of them had kittens. The mom cat moved the kittens and never returned for the last one. The lady agreed to drive the cat to Reedley, and I met her at the McD’s. The tiny little thing seemed healthy except for an apparent broken tail. The bottle baby was taken to the vet, but the tail issue is not something that needs to be addressed at this time. The woman doesn’t know how to trap, and so as soon as my vet returns from vacation, I will be helping this lady TNR her little bunch of cats.
The next day I get a call from a couple of lovely ladies who care for a small colony near their home. They have paid for the fixing of all but one elusive orange male cat. The call was regarding a kitten that had appeared. They were very concerned because the orange male was either trying to mate with the tiny kitten or trying to kill it. The kitten was subsequently trapped and is now in a cage in my kitten room. She is a sweet little dilute calico with only half a tail. It suffered some sort of trauma, and there will need to be some level of amputation. I will have it done when she is big enough to get fixed. Until then the tail is medically stable.
Then I get a call from the golf course where I have the ongoing TNR project. They found a tiny little kitten all by itself. A worker in the kitchen took the baby home for the night, and I picked it up the next day. All the tinys are residing in cages in my living room. This is an incredible messy age, lol. Pooping everywhere but the box, stepping in it, spilling their food and water, and constantly hungry. They keep you on your toes for sure!
Then comes the text I am always happy to get…the rescue is asking if I have any fixed adult cats. Of course I do! Many of my cats are close to six months old which is not quite an adult, but certainly not a kitten either. I elected to send four more from my foster. She took on this group for me because they were about to be euthanized and I had no room. She is trying to move to Idaho near family, but she can’t until she is empty of cats. That left only two spots. I submitted photos, the usual procedure. They chose two of the cats that had been dumped in my yard. I was truly hoping they would choose the ones that had already been here months, but there is always next time. Like the little old ant who tried to move the rubber tree plant, I always have high hopes!
The past month has been good for donations. Almost every cat or kitten that arrived this month came with a donation. Donations Are Greatly Appreciated!! I can’t operate without them. If you would like to make a donation, I have a PayPal account steamodale@gmail[dot]com. You can also send donations via good old snail mail to Jackie Dale, P O Box 1859, Reedley, CA 93654. Questions? jackiejoy@hotmail[dot]com.
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People dum Siamese cats WTF is it with people? These are beautiful pedigrees. I am so glad I am far away or I would be tempte to start shortening some lives and they would not be kitty lives * sigh * What do you do eh?