by Jackie Dale
The past month has been very stressful. Adoptions have been slow, and the rescues have not been accepting cats because, big surprise, they are full to the rafters. My son’s medical condition has been in serious decline, and I have had to focus most of my attention on him and his needs. That means I have often been forced to say “no” when I would normally say “yes.” I’m trying to focus on clearing out my foster ladies before the cats get too much older. I’m still accepting the occasional bottle baby or two, but that’s about all I can handle at present.
So let’s start with the updates. I completed the TNR at the local auto mall. Four cats total, three females and one male. It was a real pleasure doing a TNR where everything went smooth as silk. They only wanted the TNR, and they paid me! Paid me for my time (One hour round trip to the auto mall x six trips) paid me for gas in addition to paying for the surgeries. They got in literally under the wire, two days before The Cat House announced that the funds for the $10 spay/neuter had run out. The low cost spay and neuter funds running out put the pressure on to find other means to get my cats fixed. Fortunately, I have an awesome friend who helped hook me up with a bunch of appointments for low-cost spays and neuters enabling me to get the bulk of the remaining cats fixed.
Maya, the anti-social cat, has now become and inside/outside cat. I never thought she would come so far after spending the first six months here hiding behind the couch. She has a little cubby in a high spot in the carport right outside the door where she observes the other cats but doesn’t interact with them.
The dog I found is still here, although I am still pursuing rescue opportunities. She appears to be a German Shepard mix, so I gave her a German name, “Ilsa.” I don’t have the time to give her the attention she needs and deserves. She is a sweet, “gentle giant” who sits and shakes. She walks well on a leash. Gets along well with other dogs and cats, too. I know there is a perfect home out there for her. Should that not happen, she will continue to live here, I will never turn her over to animal control.I had a cat come through my place this past summer named “Hawaii.” The cat was very messed up: starving, missing chunks of hair, just a mess. The finders begged me to take her, promised to pay me back for her care, and so I said okay. I took the cat to the vet to the tune of $350 dollars, and cared for the cat for two months. They were very anxious to get Hawaii home, and I thought all was well. They thanked me profusely, hugging me, and promising to pay me back. Apparently Hawaii was having a hard time adjusting. They wanted me to take her back. I said I could not. I said to give her more time. I told them about Maya and her hiding for so long. I mean it’s not the worst thing in the world to have a cat you hardly ever see. A couple months go by and I get another message that they really don’t want Hawaii anymore. I realize she is not meeting their expectations for a cat. However, I simply can’t take the cat. I don’t have room for an adult cat. I also realized that I will never see a dime of that money. I’m such a sucker, sigh. I can only pray that they do not take the cat to the pound. I know full well that I can’t save them all, but it is still painful to say no when you know there is even a remote possibility that the outcome could be less than what you hope for. My one adult space available is currently occupied by a cat I call “Egypt.” I saw a post on Facebook about a friendly cat who was hanging out by the front doors of a local Denny’s restaurant. Now because it is a restaurant and the cat was friendly, it was a perfect recipe for disaster. It was only a matter of time before the cat would be removed due to health codes or injured by less than sympathetic patrons. A lady named Laura and I got together to take action. I told her I was willing to take the cat but only if it was healthy. I could not risk the health of the other cats. She was more than willing to take the cat to the vet and paid for a check-up, an Fiv/Felv test and some medicine for a minor inflammation in one eye. Egypt is a part Abyssinian cat who is very affectionate. She was just fixed this past week (Laura paid for that too!), and I expect to find her a loving home soon.
I currently only have one bottle baby, Chubby Cubby, and he is happy and healthy. He was found alone outside of the nearby Orange Cove animal shelter, and I was asked to take him in. The worker said she was overwhelmed with injured dogs, and I was happy to be able to help her out.
My polydactyl kittens have been a challenge. Frisky and playful, they stay in a large enclosure in the kitten room. They are separated from the older cats who don’t always play nice. Besides, it’s just good medical protocol to keep them separate. The poly kittens were named Peter, Paulette, and Pirate. Pirate was having trouble with an eye infection and developed a condition known as “cherry eye.” Cherry eye is often caused by a congenital defect of the third eyelid or as in this case, inflammation of the gland in the third eyelid. Despite treatment, the eye ruptured, and it was necessary to remove the eye completely. As is so happens, we had planned to keep one of the poly kittens, and Pirate was the one we had intended to keep. So I now currently have two cats with one eye, (Winky and Pirate) one cat with no eyes, (Fabio), and a dog with one eye. Curious indeed.
I thought I had another cat with an eye problem. My nine-year old cat Kilroy had a weepy eye. I treated him with drops, but a few days later there was a huge swelling below his eye and I suspected a foxtail in his eye. I took him directly to the vet and got quite the surprise when I arrived later to pick him up. I would have bet money it was a foxtail but nothing could prepare me for the surprise awaiting me. “You won’t believe it” was what they told me.
My cat had somehow got ahold of something with bones. He had a large piece of bone wedged between his teeth, in the roof of his mouth. Now thinking back I had noticed that the past week his breath was pretty bad and made a mental note to get his teeth checked out. Now I realized why. The marrow in the bone was rotting and that was the smell. The vet was amazed to learn that the cat had still been eating. The bone was so tightly wedged in the vet had to use a tooth extractor to remove it. Kilroy is doing well.
Before I get any comments about keeping cats indoors only, we live in a rural area. If I lived in town, I would not let my cats roam. Between cars, dogs and cat-haters, I would be constantly worried. In the country, animals are often considered working pets. Dogs herd cattle and keep out intruders, etc, cats keep us free of vermin. My cat, Big Fat Mannie, once saved my husband by alerting him to a rattlesnake directly below where he was about to step! I remember him saying “I wondered why Mannie was acting so strange.” Then he looked down and spotted the snake stretched across our doorstep. Just as an FYI, we have only had two rattlers in the twenty years at this house.
We have an acre and a third, completely fenced to keep out coyotes and such. Our cats are free to choose to come in or out. In fact I spend a spectacular amount of time just letting cats in and out. My most frequent line “I’m not going to stand here all day while you try to decide whether or not to come in!” Cats are so frustratingly indecisive about what they want to do. I do worry about them and do mental head counts to keep track of the 15+ cats I own. That’s not counting a couple that were tossed over my fence or the feral who shows up at night to eat. Plus I’m apparently contributing to the obesity of my resident raccoon whom I sometimes spot munching down on my cat chow.
I need to begin trapping behind a local strip mall where I feed as there are a whole new group of cats. Not really sure what happened to the original group who seemed to have slowly disappeared. So there is now six, all young cats, two are kittens about three months. I was waiting for the kittens to get bigger because most of the vets won’t do early age spay. It is a real game of waiting to trap till they are big enough to spay but not so big they are already pregnant. Early age spay is safe and effective. With the incredible number of kittens being born and kittens giving birth at four and five months, I don’t believe we have any other choices. Now to be clear, I’m speaking of feral and wild cats. Household pets is another story because at that young age they should not be outdoors anyway and hopefully any current cats are already fixed. In addition, waiting so long significantly decreases chances of adoption as the cuteness factor wears off or people simply want a young kitten. But we can’t responsibly adopt out a cat without fixing it. So if the adopter doesn’t want to wait, they may look elsewhere, and we have lost an adoption. It’s a Catch-22 that is really affecting the bottom line, adoption wise.
But I digress. With the jump in spay and neuter prices, I can’t afford to pay for it all myself. When it was $10 and $20, I was able to pay for many out of my own pocket. Now a little help would be awesome. I want to get this colony fixed before they begin to reproduce so if you feel the urge to donate, I would be very grateful!
If you would like to donate to help fund TNR projects, support the feral refuge, or any aspect of my cat-related work, it would be greatly appreciated. I have a GoFundMe account under my name. Or you can send donations via mail to Jackie Dale, P O Box 1859, Reedley, CA 93654.
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