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The Cat House on the Kings: TNR: A Heartbreaking & Thankless Job/Opening House

IN THE September 28 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andJackie Dale,
andPets
SECTIONS

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.

In case you somehow missed the announcement, I want to remind you that our big Holiday Open House fundraiser has been scheduled for November 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We only hold two fundraisers per year, so it is really important that everyone try and attend. Between our wide variety of vendors and the silent auction, you could really get a good jump-start on that Christmas shopping! Donations are being sought for the silent auction. Showcase your talent and advertise your business by a donation of goods or services. Think of it as a tax-deductible way to get your product into the public eye. We encourage you to look around and see what you might donate.

Kittens at the Cat House waiting to be adopted from Cat House

My daughter attends the Karate Academy in Reedley and I asked Shifu Longoria if he would donate some lessons. His donation of two months of lessons (up to three lessons per week) PLUS the uniform will be up for bid on November 2 and is sure to be snapped up quickly! If you have any questions about donating to the silent auction please call 638-0030.Vendors, or those who wish to volunteer can email Tammy Barker; tammy@cathouseonthekings[dot]com. Please include a clear subject line.

Trap-Neuter-Return

I have spent quite a bit of time this month helping out with TNR’s aka Trap-Neuter (or spay) and Return. I do most of my work in the Reedley area although I have an area in Selma as well. I have learned that I must be somewhat vague and subversive in my dealings with ferals and strays. The first concern is that if we tell people where these colonies are, they figure that they will also dump their unwanted cats there because someone is helping them. This is very much like grabbing a person out of their happy home, flying them to China and leaving them in the middle of a rice paddy, and thinking “Oh they will be just fine.”

Homeless tomcat will be part of in-progress TNR program

Another concern is that people will try to interfere. And interfere they do. They don’t want you to feed feral/stray because they think the cats will stay. Well, they are already established before we ever arrived on the scene. They will harass you, insisting you not bring the cats back. They don’t realize that if cats were there once, they will come again.

We try to explain that all we can do is spay and neuter them to prevent the colony from growing. We explain that there are no homes for nice friendly cats, much less feral cats. We tell them how cats will keep the mice away. I even tell them about how Disneyland maintains a colony of 200 semi-feral cats to keep the park from being overrun by mice and rats. They tried for years to get rid of the cats, but they kept returning. Disneyland made the situation work for them by letting the cats do what they do best.

People just don’t care. They want you to take care of the problem at no expense, time or trouble to them. I just smile and tell them “It doesn’t work that way.” These people repeatedly remove the food and water bowls. They stand and give you hard looks or make comments if they see us releasing cats. Because of this, much of our work takes place in the early morning and later evenings when there is no one around. It is sad that this is the way we must operate when all we are trying to do is make a bad situation a little less bad. I have had people tell me that they had covertly trapped and fixed the cats belonging to neighbors who, for whatever reason, had failed to spay or neuter their cats. People think it is no big deal, but unfixed cats just make life miserable for everyone else in the neighborhood.

This lovable cutie was dumped at a Reedley feral colony-He is up for adoption

Most of the colonies are small; an average group may consist of 3-7 cats. On the extreme end, there is a colony in Reedley that numbers approximately 40-50 cats and kittens. People simply drop off unwanted Tiger or Fluffy probably due to, ironically, problems associated with not fixing them. Left on their own they begin to multiply rapidly. I was told the number was closer to a hundred or better before people began to use the area as a sort of dog-park. There is one group of ladies that meets there regularly with their large dogs and they let the dogs run off-leash. They have been observed allowing their dogs to terrorize and kill many of these cats.

One little old disabled lady and I will begin the slow process of trying to spay and neuter the cats in this colony. The cats must be trapped, transported and then kept somewhere, usually overnight, until the anesthesia wears off completely. The ears will be tipped so that we can tell the fixed from the unfixed. It will be a long process but you have heard the saying; “A journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.”

If you would like to help out by donating towards the cost of spaying and neutering all these cats, we would be so appreciative! Donations may be sent to 7120 S. Kings River Road, Parlier, CA 93648 just put a note on the memo line “Reedley Spay and Neuter Program/Jackie Dale.

We encourage, beg and implore you to try and clean up your neighborhood by taking on the job of spaying and neutering any strays and ferals. If everyone fixed their animals and also picked up the slack for the lamebrains who do not, we would be taking a gigantic step towards the cat problem in Fresno County. The Humane Society in Fresno will only accept animals from city residents and the rural animal control agency does not take cats, which leaves virtually no options for unwanted cats.

Some of the avenues people have chosen have been horrific. Throwing blind cats over the Cat House fence, leaving them in boxes on doorsteps, abandoning them on the side of the road or the worst thing I have seen, dropping kittens out of moving vehicles. It just sickens me that psychopaths such as this are actually roaming our streets. Please contact the Cat House for information on low-cost spay and neuter services 638-0490.

Ferals arriving at the Cat House

The County of Fresno is giving the Cat House problems because the sheds that cover the food and litter are “not properly engineered.” They are sheds to cover food. No one lives under the sheds; they are not even sheds, more like a weather covering. Despite the fact that the Cat House on the Kings is taking up an awful lot of the slack in the unwanted cat department, the county chooses to hassle us over extremely minor issues. If someone would like to volunteer their engineering skills to bring our weather coverings up to code, it would be like a gift from heaven. We will be waiting for your call.

Capturing Moses

Moses

I spent almost three months trying to capture one elusive kitten. His litter mates had been trapped and removed in early June. He was living with adult cats so he was always at the end of the feeding line. At three months old, he still looked like a young kitten except that his head seemed very large. His head was growing but his poor little malnourished body could not keep up. I finally caught the little guy a couple of weeks ago and despite being on his own so long, he is extremely friendly. I was lucky enough to find him a wonderful home and Moses is now an inside only cat with a bright, happy future.

Please consider advertising with Kings River Life and you can designate 10% of the ad fee to be donated to the Cat House on the Kings.

Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section.

Jackie Dale is a freelance writer who lives in Reedley with her husband of 21 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.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca Gehres September 30, 2013 at 5:27am

Oh, Jackie, I am so sorry you are subjected to such horrible, low class, low IQ, people. My attempts at cat trap/spay/neuter broke my heart so many times that I had to move. Left the feeding up to a kind neighbor. No matter how many cats I fixed, ten more cats would appear. Then another neighbor would trap them and take to the pound.

I’m not as strong as you ladies. I help financially, adopt as many as we can handle, especially the former Ferals who take years to come around. And I pray for your health and strength to keep fighting the good fight. And maybe ask for an attorney to tell the county to back off, write a letter to Gov Brown also, how you all are doing the county’s work and getting harassed for it. Pro Bono… God bless you, sincerely, Rebecca

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2 Rose Coates September 30, 2013 at 5:57am

It is a never ending job as long as people have the attitude they do…My sister lives in Hanford and does a 4-5 places plus her own…She has had the same problem…She also works full-time….Idaho where I live is no different….Over the last 6 yrs. have TNR at least 70 cats/kittens in our little neighborhood….Finally seem to sorta have under control after fixing “neighbors” cats…This year was the worst in awhile…2 moms and 6 kittens…Wonder do people really think we love to spend our extra $ fixing animals much less the LARGE amount of food to feed them plus shelter from the snow and below freezing temps…Thank-you for what you do…

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3 Jackie September 30, 2013 at 7:19am

I am very grateful for anyone that helps animals, so TNR is not altogether thankless. I live in a rural community in the high Sierras so we don’t have the same problems of feral colonies, but we do have cases of animal abuse and neglect and abandonment. It breaks my heart to see animals suffer so I do my best to donate to organizations that have people brave enough to work the ‘front lines’. Thank you for your diligent efforts to help the cat community.

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4 joan September 30, 2013 at 7:22am

re your TNR I would recomment keeping female kittens at least 10 days so that they don’t pull out their stitches as one of my kitties did. Also, they need a week of not jumping or climbing to let their internal incisions heal.

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5 Linda Wiltshire September 30, 2013 at 8:20am

I sent a comment in the last letter. I live in England and two weeks ago a couple of kittens were dumped in our road. I managed to find a sanctuary for them after a number of phone calls. This has been happening the last three years or so, it’s not just cats but puppies as well. I could not keep them as I have got four cats already (three of those were dumped here) . Anyway the kittens ended up going to a very nice neighbour, in the end but it will happen again. Our sanctuarys are full. It’s world wide.

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6 virginia knauss
Twitter: @Mrs.
September 30, 2013 at 9:03am

excellent article that really points up what some TNR people are enduring. I am fortunate in that I have TNR fairly easy. yes, if it wasn’t for idiots that don’t spay/neuter their animals life would be better for all.

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7 Jim Rudai September 30, 2013 at 9:16am

Jackie, I love what you’re doing for the CHOTK and for the feral cats in your locale. I live in Anaheim, and face some of the same issues that you point out in your article with my feral feeding/maintenance. I try to make people realize that TNR is the best way to make the feral/stray situation better, and that these animals, “the throw-aways”, deserve the same kind of respect and a little TLC that we give to our own pets (dogs or cats). A good story: recently when I went to my feeding area, an envelope was placed between the fence and cover of feed station that I constructed between a cyclone fence and two buildings. I thought it was some kind of official notice to discontinue my feeding/care of the cats in this industrial area. When I opened the envelope, there was a hand written letter: “Thanks for feeding the cats”, with a hand-drawn cat face. Included in it was $8.00, which I put toward food for the cats. It warmed my heart to think that someone had noticed/cared about the cats besides me. Thanks for all you are doing for TCHOTK. Hug Lynea for us.

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8 Jackie Dale October 1, 2013 at 9:03am

Awe! Now that really warms my heart. I know there are many good people out there. And you are one of them. Thank You!

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9 Linda September 30, 2013 at 9:33am

Bless you, you are appreciated and loved for this thankless job. I know the cats would thank you if they could.
I live in Baja and we now have a couple of places here that are doing the best they can for the animals. Mx. treat their animals worse then they do in America, if you can believe there is a worse.

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10 Annie MacDonald September 30, 2013 at 11:57am

Thanks for this fascinating article. Unfortunate to hear that you have the same sort of problems there as here in the UK [Cats Protection] and in Orlando [FB friends in CARE feline TNR] You’re Marvellous to be carrying on regardless.
“All for the Cats”, eh?!!
You’re Stars Both of You.. in Reedley.. to be taking on that enormous Challenge.
Congratulations for getting little Moses in.. hope he gets to grow into that dear big head of his.
All the Best,
Annie, another disabled old lady, who used do a lot, but just does what she can, now.

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11 jacqueline September 30, 2013 at 4:24pm

My husband and I are planning a trip to the west coast and want to stop in visit the kitties and personally thank you and the team. Where exactly in Northern California are you located, looking up Parlier on internet maps shows it as an extensive county…are you north of SanFrancisco?

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12 Jackie Dale October 1, 2013 at 9:08am

We are 3 hours south of SF in Fresno County. We are about 30 mins southeast of the city of Fresno. (Reedley is the nearest town to Parlier) We will be looking forward to your visit.

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13 Dream15x October 1, 2013 at 11:15am

Jacqueline:
Parlier is in central California, approximately 150 east of the bay area.

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14 Laura Ravenscraft
Twitter: @lauraravens
October 1, 2013 at 12:18am

Thank you so much for all that you & The Cat House Team does on a daily basis. I come from a family that has rescued, spayed, neutered & provided a forever home for (feral included) over 100 cats. There is always room for one more. Now that my parents have passed, my sister, brother-in-law & myself will keep up what is the right thing to do.

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15 Jackie Dale October 1, 2013 at 9:04am

Mustachio has been adopted!!, and is now called “Poncho” by his loving new family! Yippee!!!

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16 Maria Ruiz
Twitter: @profile
October 5, 2013 at 7:56am

Wonderful to know there are caring people who help cats. When we traveled to Europe, the ruins of Italy are over run with feral cats. Caring women feed them everyday. Athens has hundreds of cats around the ruins. They keep the mice problem down as lazy tourists drop food and litter as they walk around. And the people of Thailand never throw away dinner scraps. They set them outside to feed any animals that are hungry. It isn’t a cat or dog balanced diet but it is food. I can’t wait to come and visit.
A recent post from Maria Ruiz: Marilyn MeredithMy Profile

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17 Donna Horwood October 5, 2013 at 11:07pm

I also do all I can for the drop offs and feral in our neighborhood…but have a neighbor who thinks it is wrong to release them again….I have tried to explain to no use. Thankfully most of the neighbors are behind me…..We have 7 now and have rehomed others and even some dogs….If people would only spay and neuter….They don’t understand that these animals cannot survive on their own out there ! God bless you for all you do.

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18 jackie jordan October 6, 2013 at 7:27pm

I recently lost a cat that I adopted from CHOTK’s to FIP. An untreatable fatal disease. “Pekoe” was a beautiful flame point manx about the size of a kitten. I have made a donation for her. I had her 3 years only. Her house mate Bubba will need a playmate in the future but not now. I will once again adopt from CHOTK’s. Keep up the good work.

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