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.
Well, I must say that 2015 has been a very busy year for Jackie Dale, Cat Trapper! I enjoy telling people I am a cat trapper, just to see the looks on their faces as they try to make sense of what I just told them. This usually leads into a spiel from me about TNR, as well as the benefits of spay and neuter. Occasionally it leads to a donation, which is always a good thing! Sometimes it leads to a debate because some people don’t understand what I do or why I do it.
Frankly, sometimes I don’t know why I do it, either. It is not a lot of fun. Sometimes you get bitten or scratched. There’s a lot of waiting for cats to enter traps and in all sorts of weather. Summer is very hot—but the days are longer, which is advantageous for me. Winter is cold and the days are short. Trapping at night is very tricky. I try to avoid it when possible: too many weirdos out there in the night. And sometimes in the daytime, too. I remember one man who began to harass me as I was setting up traps. He was roaring drunk at nine in the morning. Fortunately someone had observed him bothering me and called the police, who came and carted him away.
Then there are the well-meaning curious people. “What are you doing there?” inquired an elderly couple when I was trapping at the Kingsburg SaveMart. I explained what I was doing and the man replied, “Be careful, those wild cats will bite you.” What I was thinking was, “No shit, Sherlock! Not my first trip to the rodeo.” What I actually said was, “Yes, I know. That’s because they are wild.”
People are often shocked when they find out that I volunteer my services. “Why on earth would I do this for free?” is the question I frequently get. I do it because it needs to be done, and I believe that if everyone tried to make his or her own little piece of the world a better place, our society would not be swirling the drain of apathy. I love animals and don’t like to see them suffering. I have a saying taped above my desk that reads, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.” (Edmund Burke) You really can’t say it any better than that.
Animals are abused, neglected, and abandoned in record numbers in the San Joaquin Valley—and that is an embarrassment. We are supposed to be a civilized society, but the treatment of animals in this valley says otherwise. Slowly things are changing, but we must all do our part.
We can all start with making sure our animals are fixed. They must also be well cared for. If you don’t have the time and energy for a pet, don’t get one just to placate your children or your own selfish needs. I just want to scream every time I hear someone say, “My kids want a puppy/kitten.” That is not a good enough reason to acquire a new pet! A pet should be a well-thought-out addition to the family with the understanding that it will be a part of the family forever. People who abandon elderly/misbehaving/inconvenient pets are among the lowest forms of life. Watch how someone treats their pet, because it is a good indicator of how they also treat people.
I started keeping informal count of my trappings for 2015. I have trapped and/or fixed approximately 100 cats with a sprinkle of dogs added in there. My biggest project of the year was, of course, the lady with 34 cats. That alone took about a month to complete. I have rescued/rehomed several cats/kittens, dogs—and, as of now, some fish. Heck, I will rescue anything that moves! Once I jumped into a small canal to help a man rescue a calf that had fallen in the water. I have even stopped traffic to assist a very large gopher snake cross the road. All life has value, and we are obligated to help when we can.
My list of TNR projects for 2016 has already grown to about 65 cats. I know there will be more. Nearby Kingsburg seems to have a real problem. On my list are the Denny’s, Kmart, and the Best Western Inn, all in Kingsburg. These cats will bring my list of TNR cats to well over 100. I think I may need an assistant. This will be a lot of work. I can only fit four traps in my car at a time, so I may need to upgrade to a bigger vehicle in order to transport more at a time.
Even as I write this column, I received a call from an elderly couple that want me to trap and neuter some homeless cats. They apparently belong to her neighbor who decided she didn’t want her cat anymore so she just stopped feeding it. After the unfixed female had kittens and one got run over, the neighbors who had been feeding the cats decided they needed to get them all fixed. One of the kittens is disabled with some kind of leg deformity. This couple wishes to bring that one into their home and attempt to tame it so it can live indoors. I applaud those people who are stepping up to the plate. I told her that I was sorry she had such a terrible person for a neighbor.
Sometimes people or businesses pay for the spaying and neutering. Many times they can’t—or won’t. The “won’t” are usually businesses. They always want the cats gone but after my speech about how I have nowhere to put the cats, they accept the TNR solution … but rarely do they pay the bill. Reedley is progressive in that several businesses in town have paid to have the cats living outside their businesses fixed. Savemart in Kingsburg gathered donations from the employees to pay for fixing the feral cats there. Some people just can’t afford it and need some help.
After explaining that my services are free, I usually suggest that a donation to The Cat House on the Kings would be appreciated. If anyone would like to make a donation specifically for my TNR projects, just send your donation to The Cat House and include a note or email that your donation is to go toward my projects. I greatly appreciate your (tax-deductible) generosity!
Our winter newsletter is out and it is an excellent way of keeping up with the latest happenings at The Cat House on the Kings. I work hard on it so take a look-see and even sign up to receive it via email and be sure to check back here at KRL every month for my column.
Also remember to buy your Cat House on the Kings 2016 calendar before they run out!
One last thing, if you place an ad in Kings River Life Magazine, 10% of the ad fee is donated to The Cat House on the Kings.
Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section and remember that if you buy an ad in KRL you can designate 10% of the ad price to go to the Cat House.