Jackie Dale, The Cat Mother: Cat Rescue-Not for the Faint of Heart

Dec 21, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale, Reedley News

by Jackie Dale

Cat who went to rescue

December has turned into a brisk month for adoptions. September and October were absolutely dead. We hardly moved any cats at all. Between the shelters taking in animals from all the areas hit by the fires, two of the rescues we work with had to deal with major hoarding situations which filled all available spaces. Thanksgiving is approaching and we finally got the call. They needed cats and we had plenty to offer. There was a big adoption event being held the weekend of Thanksgiving. The criteria was that they must be super friendly and already fixed. We sent four older kittens and one adult that week and four more the following week. All of the cats we sent were adopted at the shelter’s event! Two weeks later we sent another three (older) kittens and one adult and six small kittens. Unfortunately this time three of the kittens (from the same group) had a very minor case of ringworm, so they were rejected. They are being treated and hopefully will be accepted at a later date.

Stray Kitty, Lost Kitty, Little Ball of Purr

Sweet Reedley kitty

I was called by a family here in Reedley about a stray cat that had taken up residence in their backyard. They were not sure what to do but one thing they did know was that it was female and they did not want to deal with kittens. They had tried to put her in a carrier to get her fixed but she apparently put up quite a fight. So I made an appointment to spay the cat, I brought over a trap and set it. I gave the usual instructions and left. I was maybe a mile away when they called and said that the cat had been caught. The vet had to cancel all appointments that day, so I let Kitty, who was not the least bit wild, spend two days in my spare bathroom. She calmly walked into the carrier on appointment day. Timing couldn’t have been better; Kitty was in heat. She was a very loving cat. She would crawl into my lap and just purr away! She was in fact so sweet and lovable, she was one of the cats that went to the rescue and has since been adopted.

The Maggot Kitten (Not for the faint of heart…I’m serious)

You would be hard pressed to find a sadder story than the story of this poor kitten. On Facebook, I saw a post about an injured kitten in a town not too far from my home. The woman claimed that the kitten had an injury and she could see maggots in the wound. I could see that the post had been up several hours and no one was doing anything. Just the usual excuses and cries for “someone do something!” I asked the woman to bring me the kitten, who looked to be about three months old. She didn’t have a car. So I got her address, loaded my 120-pound son into the car and drove to her.

It was an adventure trying to find her address. It was way far out in the country, and down a long, pot-hole-filled dirt road, where I found a bunch of ramshackle mobile homes. There were loose dogs and cats everywhere as in “future TNR going to happen here”. I found the woman who directed me to the cat. It’s lying in a box in the sun, absolutely covered in flies. It is a good thing I have a strong stomach. After shooing away the flies, I was—well— it was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. The woman didn’t know how the cat got injured but it clearly was not recent. Stop reading now if you don’t want to hear how bad it was. To put it as delicately as possible, I couldn’t even see the wound because it was so covered with the…you know. I’m literally sitting here, trying to type, crying a little, trying to get the picture out of my mind.

So I took the kitten, and much to my dismay, my vet, who is usually open on Saturdays, was closed. So I drove 45 minutes to a sort of urgent care for animals. Normally I would expect to pay about $50 to euthanize a small cat as I know it is based on size. A quick glance from the vet was all that was needed; we all knew this poor kitty was beyond help. I told them I was in cat rescue and that this was a stray cat. They said it would be $175 to put the cat down. Frankly, I was shocked. I felt that amount was outrageous but I was in a dilemma. Am I supposed to let this poor creature suffer while I try to find a better deal? I had previously administered pain medication to the kitten, but I knew it was suffering. So I paid the $175 but I was so mad. Although I was polite about it, never raising my voice, I let them know in no uncertain terms that I was not a happy camper. I heard later on that the vet, after hearing how upset I was, declined to come out until after I had left. That was probably a good call on his part.

“Aye Aye Matey”


I’m very sad to report that we lost our little Pirate. After the cherry eye necessitated the removal of his eye, Pirate was doing well, or so we thought. He was the smallest of the three polydactyl siblings, but he was active and happy. After his surgery we had decided to keep him so he had free roam of the house while his siblings remained in the kitten room. He didn’t seem to be growing as fast as the others and he looked very thin. So I took him to the vet for a checkup and bloodwork. The tests came back good and the vet felt there was nothing to worry about. Two days later he had a seizure. I rushed him to the vet and he spent the night. He seemed better, but a few days later he had a grand mal seizure and died. There is no way of knowing what happened but it was probably a neurological issue of some kind. Run free Pirate!

Motel Cats and Kittens

Motel kitten

I received a call from a man living in a motel. He adopted a female cat that was already on the premises and began feeding it and letting her sleep in his room. Then she had four kittens. He didn’t fix the cat. So she had four more kittens. Now the man has the mom, four three-month-old kittens and four seven-month-old teenagers. Of course by now I was mentally face-palming and thinking to myself, “why did you wait so long?” So I told him I would do what I could. He says the manager is not making an issue of the cats as long as they get fixed. So, right off the bat we got the mother cat fixed. Then we had planned to move the younger kittens to foster, but the ringworm thing came up so that was not an option. I thought we had some time to find other arrangements. Then the motel guy calls and says for whatever reason, the manager now wants all the cats gone in two weeks. So we are working on that as I type this column. I actually finalized the adoption of two of the younger kittens to a lovely family with a charming six-year-old girl who is going to be one very happy child! We hope to send the others to rescue but we will do whatever is necessary to ensure these cats have a safe place to go.

Recently trapped young boy

As I finish this column I plan to be setting traps at the local strip mall as I think there is a pregnant female there.

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. Questions? jackiejoy@hotmail[dot]com.

You can check out more animal rescue articles in KRL’s animal rescue section!

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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