by Jackie Dale
RIP Leann Schmidt
One of my foster people, a lovely young woman with a heart the size of the moon, passed away recently from complications of Covid. We are devastated at the loss of such a vibrant life and this column is dedicated to you, Leann Schmidt. Your love of animals was clearly evident in your actions to help save and foster. You will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved you. You will always live on in our fond memories.
Although I normally try to whittle down the number of felines I take in during the holidays, you just can’t regulate how life happens. At this time, I have twelve kittens and two adults in-house. I currently have no kittens in outside foster. My bathroom is still occupied by Mr. Noodles and the kitten I got to keep him company, Klinger. They now have another roommate, Vivienne. I got a call from a friend that a relative of hers had found a tiny kitten on the side of the road. The tiny, orange female kitten was in pretty good health and very friendly. Named for the big “V” on her forehead, Vivienne has joined Mr. Noodles and Klinger. They spend the day playing in the nice warm room. At night they go into the very deep tub so the bathroom can be cleaned and they remain there until morning. TNR at the Mobile Home Park
I found out some disturbing news regarding the local mobile home park. I was initially told that trapped cats (trapping is usually requested by residents) were taken to a dairy and released. The real story has unfolded. The handyman is required to trap them as part of his job. However, he refused to take part in any sort of “disposal.” So apparently, an elderly man who lives in the park and who absolutely hates cats, takes the trapped cats up to the Pine Flat Dam and lets them go there. That is what we call “an absolute death sentence.” With all the dangers of a wilderness area, the chances of survival are incredibly slim. I’m not quite sure of what to do except try to intervene as much as possible so the cats don’t get transported to their certain death. If I make a stink, I could be banned from the park. At this point they are happy with my help and have even offered to donate some cat food. So we began by setting some traps for a stray female cat who had kittens under a vacant home. We caught three of her cute kittens. They are a bit “wild” but are coming around very nicely. I expect full conversion within a couple of weeks. I can already hold and pet them, and they are now purring when I do so. I was told there were five kittens, but no one has seen any more beyond the three already trapped. I was then told that someone else had trapped, fixed, and released the mother cat. I was not able to confirm this.
About a week after trapping the kittens, I received another call about a young cat that had been trapped. I was told it was friendly. We decided that the cat may belong to someone so it was released. The very next day the cat entered the trap again. When I arrived to pick up the cat, I discovered why. The young male cat was extremely thin, skin and bones. I determined then that the cat had no owner. If he did, he obviously wasn’t feeding him so he now belonged to me. Said and done, no discussion. The super friendly dude is currently awaiting his neuter so that can either go to rescue or be adopted.
My friend Janice and I formulated a plan for the next TNR project. This is a colony of eight or so cats and kittens living in a vacant lot where a home once stood. Some were left behind by the owner of the home. And, of course, the unfixed cats bred. A woman who worked at the school across the street began feeding them. She contacted me about getting a TNR started. We began by removing a friendly, adult tortoiseshell. She will be fixed and either adopted out or sent to rescue. Next to be removed were three of four, approximately four-month-old kittens. All had mild upper respiratory infections. One was very emaciated and lethargic. I surmised that for whatever reason, this kitten was not getting his fair share of the food. I bathed them and set them up in a warm and cozy spot. Unfortunately, the one kitten passed away during the night. The remaining two went off to the vet where they tested negative for feline HIV and leukemia. They are on medication and are doing very well. Hopefully the fourth kitten can be captured before the window between tame and feral closes. The feral cats will be taken to the local shelter who has agreed to fix them at their cost and release them on the shelter property. As I was writing this column, I was contacted by a young woman who had found a kitten. She lived in a huge apartment complex in Selma and she said the kitten just walked in one day. She said she had no time or money for a kitten. I picked up the friendly tuxedo kitty and since he was about four months old, he joined Callie and Otis Redding (he “sings” the song of his people, a lot) in the adult room. The other room is occupied by young kittens. I try not to co-mingle kittens until I am certain everyone is healthy and disease free. I also have one adult and one “teen” kitty on a wait list. One of my rescues is on lockdown again, and the other may possibly take my adults so I have my fingers crossed. Hopefully I will get a couple of Christmas adoptions.
As we move close to the end of the year, I can only hope that things improve for next year. This year has been difficult and trying, not just for me personally, but for everyone. The pandemic has affected our lives in every way and I truly hope for better times in 2021. I extend my deepest condolences to all who have lost a loved one this year and I hope for us all, a better New Year. One filled with hope, love and prosperity for all. People and animals alike!
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.