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Archive for the ‘Rescue-Feral-Spay Issues’ Category

Thought I’d take a peek around at what life is like in China for felines. In doing so, I discovered the horror stories about cat culling to rid the city of its strays before the Olympics. I am doing some further investigations into this horrifying situation before going to ‘print’ here at the Newsroom.

Along the way, during my search, I discovered Scarlett Zhang who founded Beijing Cats in 2001 and has rescued and re-homed over 100 cats since starting her work.

Her website, Beijing Cat has videos and slide shows of the cats up for adoption. She makes it easy to become a Guardian Angel and sponser one of her cats. Or you can adopt while you’re at the Olympics and rescue one of Beijing Cats to bring back home with you. Her link to PetTravel, provides a wealth of information about traveling anywhere in the world, by car, train, or air, with your pet.

Scarlett’s cats seeking adoption are healthy, dewormed, neutered and vaccinated. They are also friendly, with sweet personalities, and suitable for adoption. She says:

If you are kind and responsible, have a stable income and can make a long-term commitment to bringing a new member into your family forever (including bringing him or her back to your home country if/when you leave China), then there are many wonderful cats here waiting for your love!

The grim reality of the government sponsored cat shelters, which was posted on her video page from what looks like a cell phone, provides a wakeup call to help Scarlett, however you are able, in her efforts with Beijing Cats.

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This posting is in response to reader’s comment made this morning about how I dealt with a dangerous feral cat.

“I appreciate your taking the time to write your comments in regards to the feral cat. You are obviously passionate about this issue. However, please note several things here. This is not a decision that I made lightly. Indeed, I spent several months feeding this cat and trying to talk to him. In every way I tried to deal with this cat in a compassionate manner. If you read my series of blog postings, you can see that I was very concerned about doing this right. It did not turn out the way I wanted, but I was honest enough to post the real outcome when I could have easily avoided it.

I have had many, many cats over my lifetime (60 years) and have fed, and yes, spay-neutered many strays and ferals. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am not a cat murderer, as you have labelled me. This cat defied all my previous experience with cats. I’ve never encountered anything like this gray cat.

I truly believe in the TNR approach and will continue my efforts in this way. However, these are the issues I had to consider in making my decision:

  1. Feral, gray cat attacked my two tabbies in such an agressive manner that they had deep puncture wounds on their legs and face. These were infected and required antibiotics. This happened three times.
  2. Each of these attacks were more vicious than the previous one. It reached point where I could no longer let my own cats outside, because I was in fear for their lives.
  3. I had to consider that the behavior of this cat might due to more than hormones and that he could be rabid, making him a serious threat to the welfare of my family and the other cats in our area, some of which are ferals which I am taking care of.
  4. One of these ferals on our property has new kittens, which I was also trying to protect.

These issues weighed more in the balance of things when I made my decision. I admitted to calling Animal Control right here on my blog where I’ve been chronicling the story about this cat. If you take a moment to read these postings, you would realize that I’m not a heartless person.

As much as I love cats and will do everything I can to help all cats, ferals, strays, etc. I will not endanger the lives of my own cats or my family by harboring a dangerous animal.

Addendum: I did not go to Best Friends site to ask what to do about this cat, because obviously I had made my decision. I went there in hopes of having a rational dialogue with others who had maybe encountered a similiar situation.

The keyword here is rational dialogue. Emotional attacks on others, not knowing all the circumstances, does not help create an atmosphere of learning and growth. If we are to learn from our experiences, then we must learn to listen to each other before judging.”

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NOT 'my' mean feral. This is a cute black feral from the JFK airport cats. Click on image to read about the situation at JFK. I have been dealing with a mean feral cat now for almost a month. In researching all I could find on feral cats, Trap-Neuter-Release programs, rescue cats, I truly believed that if I could just trap him and get him fixed, he’d calm down and learn to co-exist with my beautiful orange tabbies.

But after the third puncture wound and almost $200 at the vet for both of my pets (see My Mewsers) I was losing heart. When I took Marco in last Saturday for his rabies shot, the vet examined his wound and took his temperature. He had a fever and she said to wait on his shot. She’s treated my cats for all three of these incidents now, so I asked her frankly. “If this was your situation, what would you do with the feral?” Her reply both stunned and relieved me. She told me that he was too dangerous to let roam freely and if it was hers, she’d have him ‘taken care of’.  This is from a woman who is a cat lover and a wonderful vet.

I took Marco and Polo home, gave Marco his antibiotics and told them they had to stay inside until this was over. I went out and bought my own trapping cage.  That night my husband set it and in 30 minutes had the black feral female trapped. We let her out because I think she has kittens hidden somewhere.

An hour later–this would be about midnight–I heard noises on the porch and lo! and behold, the gray cat had taken the meat and escaped! Hubby was already asleep, so I took a look at the cage instructions and reset the trap. I was not going to give up. I opened a can of tuna and hoped that his stomach would override his increased skittishness from his narrow escape. I didn’t know if I would have more than one chance with this guy. He was wily and cunning.

I went to bed. The next morning when I looked on the porch, there he was–trapped inside the cage, staring at me with those yellow eyes. I called the County Animal Control and they  came to get him. He was transferred into one of their cages where he went kicking and screaming and peeing on the Officer.

It’s a horrible story and certainly not the way I wanted this to turn out. I wanted a happy ending, a successful rescue. It because a matter of self-preservation. I had to protect my own cats and my children and I wonder why it took me so long to ‘turn him in’.

But I do know why. It’s the ‘cynical optimist’ in me. I always have hope for even the most hopeless. The black feral female is letting me stroke her head now when I put food out for her. I’m hoping that she will let me find her kittens soon. I expect that some of them will have a bit of gray in them.

To bring up the previous postings about trapping this cat, click here: ‘Feral Cat’.

Comments welcomed.

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Marco, NOT feral, recovering from encounter with mean kitty.If I wasn’t so determined to become a responsible cat person, I’d have given up trying to trap this mean cat. See previous postings which chronicle this fascinating saga  🙂  

But Marco (at left) is now limping again. I heard the cat fighting noises last night and hoped that it wouldn’t result in yet another trip to the vet. I can’t find any injury or swelling, but he’s not putting any weight on his right front foot and he simply refuses to tell me what happened. Male pride.

I have yet to connect with the two groups in my area that can provide trapping cages. These groups are dedicated volunteers who are mainly providing spay/neuter services and they are simply overwhelmed and overloaded. There is not really a separate trap-neuter-release program here and certainly not enough cages.

The people at the local SPCA weren’t really sure what I meant when I asked them about TNR programs. They also told me there was a two month waiting list for getting an appointment for spay/neutering your own cat. They weren’t very interested in my feral problems, probably because they have enough to deal with.

So where do I go from here? I can’t get close to this cat. He’s coming up to the porch for food every day. But if I open the door, he bolts.  If I do trap him, then what?

What do I do with this feral cat? Marco, my beautiful orange tabby is curled up sleeping it off. (actual photo at top) The Mewsers are going in for their rabies shots tomorrow, so Marco will be getting proper medical attention.

Now to complicate things further, there’s a small black cat who I haven’t really talked about yet. She hasn’t been a problem. She’s been coming up to eat from the feral cat feeding station (a bowl of food and fresh water on the porch) every day and she’s letting me pet her head. I figured she would be an easy catch. I was able to scratch her belly this morning. Guess what? She pregnant!

It’s obvious we need more services here. There are few resources in my area for trapping cats except the volunteer people who are backed up. Then there’s Animal Control. Somehow I just can’t go there. I guess I feel like if he were ‘fixed’ maybe he’d be less likely to pick a fight all the time. I’m not looking for ‘tame’, just less hostile.

I’m reading about all kinds of feral and rescue programs elsewhere in the U.S. There’s a lot that could be done, but it takes a community effort. Where does one start?This looks exactly like 'mean kitty'..foul mood, yellow eyes and all! Please share your stories of feral cats and how your community deals with this problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gray Cat with yellow eyesI’m on Day 5 of feeding ‘Mean Kitty’. I put the food where I can watch him from the window when he decides to come out of his hiding place to eat. He won’t let me come out on the porch while he’s there. As stealthily as I try to open the door and tiptoe out, he turns to leave, checking me out over his shoulder in hopes I’ll go away and let him eat in peace.

I still don’t have a name for him although I’ve had two suggestions. ‘Rambo’, from a blog friend and ‘Fuzzy’ from my granddaughter. I’ve been contemplating Benjamin Moore paint color names for shades of gray since they always have such creative descriptions. Not only is his color gray, his very presence is ‘gray’. He’s not handsome or likeable and fights with my cats (who are very handsome and likeable) which makes this naming job even harder.

Should I name him something that fits him as he is….or find a name he could live up to?

A little gray paint color research turned up these results: Benjamin Moore: Carolina Gull, Heather Gray, Silver Marlin and Cashmere. I don’t think so.

On to Sherwin Williams gray paint names: Mystical Shade, Soulmate, Gibralter and Outerspace. More creative, but I certainly don’t envision this cat as my Soulmate although he might be from Outerspace.

There was an Laura Ashley gray called Chimney Sweep. I can’t even imagine painting a room that color! More designer colors turned up Ralph Lauren’s Pewter, Sweatshirt, Basalt and Storm. Hmmm. Maybe Storm.

Lowes/Valspar paint colors looked more promising. Although Cement, Overcast, Asteroid and Meterorite didn’t work for me, but there were three others that might work.  Jasper , Slate and Legend.

So I’m taking a poll with my new polldaddy widgety thing here to test it out. Pick a name you think would fit this feral cat — the color of a dark storm cloud in a perpetual bad mood.

I can’t post a photo of ‘mean kitty’ because he won’t let me get anywhere near him yet, so you have to use your imagination. He’s solid gray, no other markings as far as I can tell. On an RGB color scale, he’d be a 38.3, 38.3, 38.3.

 

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This is an update. To follow this story, start at “What do I do with this mean ol’ cat?”

Feral cat at the poolI was supposed to meet MaryAnn (not her real name) in the parking lot of our local megaPet store last night to pick up the cat trapping cage. It was getting dark and she hadn’t arrived. It felt kinda’ wierd hanging out in a parking lot at night, but I noticed a nice looking couple in a truck next to me also waiting. I struck up a conversation with them. They were there to pick up some kittens MaryAnn had taken to the clinic (60 miles away) to be neutered and innoculated. They foster feral kittens. They took their commitment seriously. Wow, I didn’t know anyone even did that for ferals.

We got to talking about how to trap a feral cat. I’ve caught some strays (read: dropped off) before but they were younger, less skittish and easily tempted into a normal cat carrier. This Mean ol’ cat was going to require strategy. One that would fit into my lifestyle. I don’t have the time or patience to sit in a ‘cat blind’ waiting for it be cooperative so I could slam the cage door.

The feral-foster-kitten-couple-in-the-truck had lots of experience with the trapping cages and described the process. The cage is open wire so that the cat isn’t so intimidated about going in. There’s a metal plate on the floor which the cat has to step on. The door slams shut. Perfect. That’s just what I will need. But when MaryAnn showed up with her daily kindle of drowsy kittens, she said the cage was still in use by someone else. No problem.

I realized that I had work to do first. I wasn’t going to get more than one chance with this cat. I just feel that in my bones. So I plan to get him used to coming to my trapping location, but first without a cage in sight.

I haven’t been feeding this Mean ol’ Cat (or the other feral that lives here); mostly because I want them to catch mice and rats and they seem to do fine without Meow Mix. But now things are changing around here. Now I’m planning on putting food outside every day (while the Mewsers are inside having their morning nap).

Of course, this morning when I opened the can of tuna, Marco and Polo immediately  woke up. So I split it between them and put a small portion in a bowl on the front porch, calling “Here kitty, kitty” towards the bushes and woodpile. Who knows where this cat might be? He might be sleeping or he might have wandered across the road into the peach orchard, or down the block to find some sweet young thing.

When I checked the bowl about 5 minutes later, it was licked clean. Feels kinda’ devious, knowing that I’m doing this to trap him, but I know it’s for his own good.

Now I’m feeling like Mean Kitty needs a name.  Got any suggestions?

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www.zoomimages.comHe doesn’t start a fight with my cats every day, so I forget about him sometimes, but last night I heard that screechy cat noise that makes you realize all cats aren’t far removed from the jungle, even my adorable mewsers. The amplified ‘fingernails on the chalkboard’ sound came from the front porch. When I opened the door, the mean ol’ cat scooted away, glancing back over his shoulder. Nervous, I think.

I’ve been contemplating the ‘cat whisperer’ approach. You know, try to communicate with him….let him feel that we could be friends–if he would let us. So lately, whenever I encountered him, I tried the same voice as I use with my cats. The voice that makes me sound like a cartoon character. Silly, but effective. My cats seem to lap it up.

When MeanKitty hears my ‘silly kitty’ voice, he stops and peers (glares?) at me with those creepy yellow eyes. I don’t want to get too friendly with any creature with wierd yellow eyes. My philosophy is that it could help him mellow out. Couldn’t hurt, could it?

But my approach is two-fold. I’ve also taken a step towards trapping him. I found someone here in town who does a Trap/Neuter/Release program. She takes them to a clinic to get neutered, get shots and Frontlined, all for only the cost of the surgery. I’ve got an appointment to pick up the cage and get instructions this evening.

The woman who does this is basically a one-woman show in this area.  She been doing transport services to deliver and pickup cats to a clinic 60 miles away–for 12 years. I’ve used her in the past for my own cats. When I realized she was the same person that handles the TNR program I began to ask questions about why she has to go 60 miles away to get the cats taken care of.

Her answer? That’ll be for the next posting. Also stay tuned for updates to “Mean ol’ cat.”

 

 

 

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