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