Jackie Dale-The Cat Mother/Cat Trapper: Lots of Cats

Nov 21, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale, Reedley News

by Jackie Dale


I’m starting this column with some updates from last month. The starving cat TNR project was completed and the relocation of the cats was successful. F. Scott, who had to have his tail amputated after evil children lit a firecracker on it, went to rescue. I don’t usually ask for updates on the cats I send to rescue but F. Scott was a special cat. He was adopted almost immediately! I had no doubts; he had a stellar personality. Fatima, the fluffy mom cat from the local Catholic Church had complications from surgery and spent a month at the kitty hospital at Cat House on the Kings. Lynea was kind enough to let her recoup there; she needed more care than I was able to provide. Her kittens have all gone to rescue and Fatima, with no place else to go, lives at my place. Another lady cat, the one who was abandoned in front of the local veterinarian’s office, was just too shy to be accepted into rescue, so she too now lives with me. Both ladies are doing very well in their new environments.

The church called me about a week after I picked up Fatima. They said there was another kitten dumped on the church property. I went, and literally picked him up. He was friendly, clean and healthy. Named Gary, the rambunctious little boy proceeded to bully every other cat in the room. In addition, he pretty much managed to wreck the room.


A friend offered me five spots on a rescue bus heading to Oregon so I chose Gary, Bernadette, (one of the church fluffies), and Katya, a Russian Blue stray from Selma along with two from a older lady who rescued and raised a litter of seven kittens of a stray. I met her at the vet’s office where she was getting the mom fixed. I told her I could help her place at least some of the kittens. She also had all the kittens fixed and vaccinated! Gold Star for her! She adopted out two of the kittens to friends. For the transport I chose two brothers, identical brothers about 4½ months old. A couple of days later, the lady calls, she is very worried about the future welfare of the cats, she says she doesn’t think she can let them go. I begged her to reconsider. I reminded her that she had commented several times about the time, the money and the amount of effort these cats required. Not to mention the toll they were taking on her furniture. I convinced her that sending the cats to rescue was the best for all concerned. Two days later I get a text asking “Can I change my mind about sending the cats?” I told her; “No, you can’t. I’ve made arrangements and changing them now would damage my reputation.” The cats all made it to the bus on time and arrived safely in Oregon.


The mom cat who eluded our TNR by having her kittens was finally caught and fixed. Her four kittens went to foster at my house. One kitten, a fluffy Siamese, had maggots coming from his urethra. I have no idea how something like this could even happen and the veterinarian seemed equally stumped. I took Puff home, no meds or treatment plan was given. He seemed to improve but about 10 days later he took a turn for the worse and passed away.

I also lost a couple of bottle babies. A lady found the newborns but she worked all day and didn’t really know anything about caring for newborn kittens. I agreed to take to babies. I was quite surprised when they said that when the kittens could eat solid food, they would like to have them back. I guess I looked so surprised she asked me what was wrong. I said nothing was wrong, I just hardly ever get people asking for the kittens back. They usually just want to be rid of them. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. They were doing just fine. Then, with a matter of hours, they got cold despite being in a heated room, refused to eat, and then they were gone. Some call it Fading Kitten Syndrome, others dismiss this as an excuse. Often times there are underlying medical issues that we have no way of knowing about. All I know is that I did my best, as I always do.

The twin boys mentioned above

This month saw 15 cats and kittens either sent to rescue or adopted. One of my foster moms ended up keeping both of her foster kittens. The initial plan was for them to return one of the kittens. However, the charming little girls wormed their way into family’s hearts and they simply could not make the choice. So they kept both. A purrfect solution!

Noodles was a little lonely so I took in a little black, fluffy kitten, named Klinger, to keep him company.

ALWAYS Check the Closets!
A friend who works at the local college recently contacted me about the resident cat. He had gone missing and my friend was extremely worried that he somehow got out and had been taken, injured or lost. She was extremely concerned and I gave her tips on locating her cat. A few weeks later I saw a picture of the cat on social media. When I inquired how the cat returned she told me that they had discovered the cat who had accidentally been locked in a storage closet for SEVEN DAYS! The cat survived by eating the butter packets from the popcorn machine stored therein.

If You Can’t Afford Vet Care-You Can’t Afford to Have a Dog

My partner-in-cat-crime, Janice told me she was going to go to a home where some puppies were living in squalid conditions, to see what she could do. Our on-the-fly plan was to remove the puppies and arrange for the mom to be spayed. But when Janice arrived she found one of the puppies curled up in the dirt, dead. Another was in the back of a sorry excuse for a dog house, obviously ill. The third pup seemed okay at the time. Of course the first thing we think is parvo so we decided we had no choice but to call animal control.

One of the sick puppies

Animal Control came out, picked up the puppies and took them to a local vet for medical care. I was told that the vet thought it might not be parvo after all, and the dehydrated pups were receiving fluids and needed treatment. They may have had severe diarrhea, resulting in the dehydration. Dehydration causes sodium levels to rise to dangerous levels, enough to cause a stroke. That may have been why the one puppy died.

The owners said they couldn’t afford vet care. It seems so common sense to me. If you can’t afford vet care and food, what would possibly possess you to get a dog? If you don’t want to pick up poop, don’t get a dog. A dog doesn’t want to live surrounded by its own feces because the lazy owner won’t pick it up. If your plan is to just chain up your dog, you don’t deserve to have a dog. Rant over.

Lots of Cats Needing Help
I was contacted by someone regarding a colony of cats in the nearby town of Selma. There were about 10 cats of various sizes living in a vacant lot where a house once stood. The condemned house was torn down and the cats were left behind. Two have already been trapped and fixed. Two more, one boy and one girl, are friendly enough to eventually go to rescue or be adopted. The rest will be trapped and fixed and the feeder of the colony will be paying the fees.

Selma cats waiting for TNR

I was going to the CVS to pick up some detergent when while parking, I spotted a suspicious box on an island in the parking lot. Suspicious because I thought I saw something move. By the time I parked and walked over there, a mail lady had picked up the box and put it in her truck. I asked her if there were kittens in the box and she said there were. I peeked in the box to see three sets of eyes looking out at me. The kittens were at least three to four months old and the box was pretty small.

CVS kittens

The mail lady said a lot of people walked by, looked in the box and kept on walking. She said she had called animal control but was told they don’t pick up cats. I asked her what she planned to do with the kittens. She told me that someone walking by told her that there were cats behind the CVS and she should just put them back there so that is what she intended to do. “Oh no you are not!” I proclaimed. I encouraged her to call Lynea at The Cat House and they were able to take in the three orphans.

I received notice about another cat left in a box in the street. The finder noticed the box in the street and went to throw it away, but found a cat inside. The poor frightened kitty refused to leave the box. I made arrangements to receive the cat when someone closer stepped up and took in the poor abandoned kitty.

cat in a box

The Feral Refuge
Recently I received notice from a friend that someone had posted on Facebook about the feral refuge I manage. The person was encouraging people to go there and get a cat. She claimed there was even a pregnant cat there. Yes, there are a few who appear friendly but the majority of the cats are quite feral. ALL of the 40+ cats are fixed. Nonetheless, I immediately called the feeder who told me that as far as she knew there were no new/pregnant cats. Just some fat current residents.

Mia-Abandoned with kitten in front of Reedley vet on I street

I tried to contact the poster to remove the post, but ultimately had to get the admin of the page to remove it. Staying under the radar is a very important part of running a successful colony. We are managing a problem created by the citizens of the town so the town is cooperative as long as there are no problems. This cooperation has resulted in a huge downturn in the number of feline drop-offs at the refuge.

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 deeply appreciated. I use my husband’s PayPal account (steamodale@gmail[dot]com) and I have a GoFundMe account under my name. You can also send donations via snail mail to Jackie Dale, P O Box 1859, Reedley, CA 93654. Questions? jackiejoy@hotmail[dot]com.

You can check out more animal rescue articles in KRL’s animal rescue section! Join our Pets Facebook group to help keep up with our pet articles.

Jackie Dale is a freelance writer who lives in Reedley with her husband of 27 years, Frank, and their 2 children. A former ballerina, Jackie now teaches yoga and fitness classes privately and at local area gyms in addition to her cat related duties.


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