Archive for January, 2012

Ferals, we love ’em

Once a month, the Heartland SPCA holds a feral cat clinic. What this means is on the designated Sunday, their clinic is totally devoted to speutering feral and free roaming cats at a reduced rate. Everyone volunteers their time, from the trappers, to the vets, to the recovery room etc etc. It’s really an amazing operation where they are really committed to holding the stress level to as low as can be in this type of situation. They truly care about these feral cats, which is very important to us. We LOVE feral cats and we know how important it is to get them speutered to stop the breeding and influx of kittens into shelters and giving these feral cats a much better life without the constant “need to breed”

This past weekend was a feral cat “weekend” as we call it at HELP because we usually start at least on Friday night and go again on Saturday and transport to the clinic and pick up on Sunday, so it really is an entire weekend of helping ferals.

I prefer to not go into much detail but we used to have two outdoor ferals at the shelter that had gotten pretty tame with all the cat lovers visiting the shelter. Their safety was threatened so we brought them inside the shelter. The area we are located at is really a depressed part of town and cats are abandoned all the time but we have really managed to stay on top of it for more than 5 years. When we brought Freddie and Hobo in, we created what they call the “vacuum effect”. More ferals moved in, in fact, an entire family did, yikes!!

Freddie and Hobo 🙂 matching ear tips

So Friday night we trapped at the shelter outside. We had it set up to start at 7pm, however, the kitties arrived early, so we set out traps quickly. We pull the dry food that is always out there for them and Shannon and I almost cried because one of the younger male tabbies in the family actually came up and looked in the door like “I’m hungry and our bowls of food are not here”. They are fairly used to people being around, although you can only get so close and they are “outta here”. So I watched from outside and the other brother got trapped first. We covered him with a sheet, always do this, it calms them. The old “I can’t see her, so that means she can’t see me”. Matt, a new TNR volunteer showed just before 7pm and Kathy (the expert drop trapper) arrived shortly thereafter and Kathy was drop trapping like crazy, and Matt was helping and even Reese joined in, he was carrying them to the holding area once they were transferred from the drop trap to a regular one. They even got two in one!!! Now that is not an easy feat! The traffic stopped flowing and we had 6 with it looking like only one more left without an eartip, yikes!! More than I thought we had here! We packed up for the night.

On Saturday, Kathy and I met at a local restaurant that we had been hearing about for a couple of months and trying to get there. We finally made it on Saturday. I pulled in first and there were 10 cats right there staring at me! I started pulling up the food, it was crazy, besides the normal dry cat food, there were entire fish there, obviously to be thrown out but were given to the cats. I walked over to a couple of people dumping trash and told them what we would be doing. They were really excited we were there and going to help! Now, THAT is the way we LOVE it. I explained what we would be doing and then began to set traps. The mgmt came back out later and verified that we would be just speutering the cats and bringing them back, apparently a few of the employees were worried we were going to kill them. Verifying we were bringing them back, yup, we LOVE working these places where they truly care about the cats, they just really have no clue what to do!

It was obvious that these kitties knew that when someone came up to this area, it usually meant fresh food, they were not running from us, well, until we drop trapped the first one. It always scares them off, so we try to move fast to transfer them to the normal traps and get them covered and into the vehicle and set up again. Within just a couple of hours, we had 8 and we know there are at least 6 more there, but we were already two over our alloted appts and we don’t like to take advantage of the awesome clinic. Anyway, we were down to seeing only a couple and a big male came, ate, drank some water, ate some more (he was only barely walking into the traps and getting the lead in bait), then he looked at us, sprayed the trap and left, how rude!!! We pulled up for the night but we WILL be back to finish the colony, if you don’t, you can be right back where you started in a heartbeat!

I traveled over early to the clinic and had an awesome surprise waiting, one of our supporters was there waiting to help me unload all these traps! (I am getting way too old to drag in 14 traps, ugh, hate that!) So Anne (and an anonymous man) carried in traps as I unloaded the car. Anne also stuck around and helped me get all the traps marked and checked in. Both these colonies had similar looking kitties so we had to take care in making sure they are returned to their correct home!

Packed full vehicle (and kind of smelly, boy urine, ack!

Tara and Tiena offered to transport the kitties back from the clinic after all were speutered and vaccinated along with given worming and flea treatments (all for $25/each!!) We are very grateful to Heartland SPCA for providing such a needed service! Got them all settled in for overnight recovery, everyone got canned food in a bowl with some water slid into their trap. Tomorrow the boys will be released and the girls will recover another day to make sure they are doing well before release (spaying (girls) is a much more invasive surgery then neutering (boys)). And the results are 4 boys and 2 girls from the shelter. 4 boys and 4 girls from the restaurant! That is 14 cats taken out of the breeding pool this past weekend along with them given a much better life, that rocks!!

Will try to remember to snap a couple of pictures as we are releasing (hard to remember) releasing is my fave part!! I love to watch their faces as they realize I am letting them go, love it!!  So, thanks to Kathy (drop trap queen), Matt (new TNR volunteer), Reese, Anne, Natalie and Anonymous for donating towards the cost, Heartland SPCA, the awesome restaurant employees that care about the ferals, Tara and Tiena and all of the amazing volunteers and vets that make this monthly clinic a reality!

Leave a comment »