Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Cat Eyes" and Three Down! (Two to go, I think)

I have been reading the blog of "Strayer," a woman in Oregon, I believe, who traps and sterilizes cats by the hundreds. Her site: (Blog is called "Cat Eyes") It's truly amazing, the work she completes. I don't know how she has the emotional strength to continue as she does. Just reading her posts are often heartbreaking.

In one of her posts, she mentioned that she had told a woman a certain way of doing things, including lining the trap with newspaper. I wasn't sure if it helped with trapping the cats or was for their comfort while in the trap, but I decided to try it tonight. It seemed to me that the paper might help the cats to *not* distinguish between the floor and the trip plate. (They had kept stepping over the plate to get to the food and were not getting caught.)

I went over tonight and set the trap around 4 PM. At 6, no one was trapped, but the food was gone, of course. So I got out the paper, lined the trap, and when I came back, trapped cat! I noticed it was a tabby, so I made sure it was not the one we caught previously. It was the tabby and white cat, though, so I covered her up, and brought her over to the animal hospital. (Mrs. L had just finished telling me that the tabby and white cat has been missing, may have been the dead cat in the road. Could be a different one, of course, but here he/she is!)

After dropping the cat off at the hospital, I went back to Wendy's to meet Mrs. L. She had gone over to trap the black cat. She's the smart one, that little black kitty. Fortunately, Mrs. L can pet her a little, so she picked her up quickly and stuck her in a carrier. And then I took her over. So, three down, two to go! And a black kitten, I guess. I want no more kittens! Where did this little black kitten come from?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

KBs two kitties

These are KB's two kittens. I have taken them to the vet for upper respiratory meds (that shit is expensive), deworming, and testing for FIV and FeLV. I may get their shots, not sure yet if my budget can afford it. I also treated them with Frontline Plus. (Good thing for samples!) I'm really hoping to find them homes soon, because KB's had them for a while, and Mrs. L is not exactly helping.
Though there's nothing I can do now ('cept find them good homes), it still pisses me off that I was brought into this thinking that Mrs. L had homes already lined up. (She told me this) That KB would be "socializing" them, not "fostering" them. (She said they just need a couple of weeks in a home before being adopted out.) There's a difference. I was also under the impression that she would have them for three weeks, tops. She's had them for over two months now. I did not expect to have to take them to the vet, to have to pay for food, litter, etc for more than a couple of weeks. It doesn't help that Mrs. L is not calling me back, is not helping with trapping, is not giving out the right information, is not helping to pay for any of their vet bills.
Well, I know now. And I know that I really don't want to be involved right now in rescuing - I want to get animals sterilized - but other people can go ahead and do their rescuing to their hearts' content. I just can't afford it, honestly. I make almost minimum wage - which does not include paying for feral kittens' vet bills. Irritated that I got pulled into this with completely different intentions and expectations, but at least I know better now. Won't be doing this again.
Oh, but on a good note, I finally have my license! Yay! Fifth time's the charm! = ) Haha.


This is the little one that the boy from the cat-loving family picked out. I guess he was the only one in the family to not have his *own* cat. And he picked this girl - good choice, too. She's the sweetest, snuggliest of the bunch. I heard she's doing great in her new home, she sleeps with the boy in his room and is slowly being integrated into the household. Yay for happy endings! Let's hope we can find such good endings for the rest of them! = )

P.S. The boy named her Leah or Leia or something similar. *Cute*

The Kittens

So, the LV's had eight kittens total. P is in construction and can whip handy things up in seconds, so you should see the cages he's fixed and rigged up to become great housing units for the kittens. I should get some more recent pictures, because these cages have carpeted shelves, hammocks, and are now on wheels. It's wonderful. = )

For the first five, socialization was pretty easy. Petting them and picking them up was able to be done in a few days. All of the kittens went to the vet, were dewormed, tested negative for FIV/FeLV, had Frontline applied, and got their first shots. All behaved pretty well.

The next two, however, were a bit slower to come around. The torti is now doing great, but the little calico does not let herself be picked up. And the last one, that little grey ball of fluff - he's been nicknamed Cujo. Not sure about him. Can't even pet him. Can only touch him with the feather stick. If he doesn't come around in a month, I would definitely vote to have him sterilized and released somewhere safe. (These last three had all the vet goodies as well, but they were not as well-behaved as the first five.) Heard that they screamed bloody murder.

I've put up ads on Craigslist, Mrs. L has put ads in the paper, we've all put up flyers. So far, no takers on KB's two, unfortunately. But one little calico has a wonderful home now, the torti has a home lined up, and the little black and white one may have a home as well. The LV's daughter wants to take the little grey ball if he becomes socialized - if not, she'll either have him as an outdoor cat or we'll release him back behind Wendy's. So we've got four more calicos and the long-haired grey and white boy to find homes for.
And I thought I had found someone who really wanted the grey and white boy today, but it turns out they're the ones who love the little black and white one. Well, at least one of them's got a home, right?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pictures of Wendy's Kittens

Little torti. (all pictures can be clicked to view larger)

Group picture with one of the mamas and my foot. = )

Thirsty cats.

Look at the face on that little calico. (She's one of my favorites.)

More drinkage.
Black mama kitty.

Trying to get them to eat off her hand.

Kim and my foot again.

Eating off a paper bag.

Since we met the LV's, there has been a shelter put up for food and water. No more just laying it on the ground. I'll have to get some photos of it. Paul also anchored two plastic summer shelters for sleeping, which I put straw inside of. We're going to attempt to find a used dog house on craigslist that we can modify for the cats to use during the winter, though. It's unbearably cold here in the winter.
All the cats in these pictures are at the LV's house, being socialized. (Except for mama.) All need homes, except the more defined calico, who is already spoken for. I'll post more pictures and information on how they're doing in a bit. = ) I am just really hoping that we can find good homes for these guys! And get the rest of the moms/dads spayed and neutered before winter arrives!

The cats may be too smart...

I had really been hoping to trap two of the adult cats the next night, but though I stayed out there for hours, I only trapped one. Better than nothing, though. A young grey tabby female. Dr. R said she had been pregnant before, but not recently. She was spayed, ear-tipped, treated with a flea medication (can't remember which one), and given rabies and distemper vaccinations. She looked pretty healthy, was at a good weight, no cuts or abcesses, no noticeable fleas or flea dirt, and no earmites.

There was a stupid truck out there the whole night, and I believe that is why the cats were staying away. The man would turn his truck on and off throughout the evening, which scared everybody away. That and the fact I caught a skunk. Who fortunately didn't spray me, but ambled out nonchalantly when I opened the trap door. Cute little guy, he was. = )

The cats are entering the traps and eating the food, but somehow, they are not stepping on the trip plate and are therefore not being trapped. It's very frustrating, because I want this all done as soon as possible. There at least four more adults, who knows how many more kittens out there. They NEED to be sterilized and this is slow-going. Not to mention that my dad is currently irritated with how much I am "focusing" on cats and not on driving, getting a better-paying job, moving out, etc. So I'm not able to go out there every night as I would like to.

I went back a few nights later to trap again, and this time, I caught a little grey kitten. About the same age as the others, but so much more scared. The LV's agreed to take him in, as he's still little. But though I was out there for many hours that night as well, I caught no adults. It's especially frustrating when a car pulls in and you see that they were all there, in the shelter, even in the traps, but no one is being trapped. Makes me want to chase after them with nets. (I read in an article recently that they have a little machine that shoots a net out - I should look into this.)

The hours spent at Wendy's break picnic table have been interesting. T camped out with me on one night (we should bring s'mores next time), I called a college friend that I haven't talked to in over a year, and wrote a ridiculous, lengthy letter to a friend on a paper plate while listening for the trap door. I don't mind spending two or three hours out there, but more is a pain. Especially since the cats are smarter than the traps. Too many times have I seen them scurry out of the trap. I need a remote control that snaps the door shut or something. Anyone have any suggestions?

I haven't trapped since then because of the pressures at home. I've been letting Mrs. L know she can go ahead and trap anytime she wants, just call me and we'll take the cat(s) over, but her cat is missing, and she doesn't have the time to trap while she's searching for her cat. So. It's getting colder, I need to pass my driving test on Monday, and I need to get these cats sterilized. This not being able to drive myself around sucks and NEEDS TO CHANGE.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cats vs. Birds

I recently read an article in the latest issue of Animal Sheltering about the issue of cats vs. birds. (You can read their back issues of the magazine here: This is a subject that always confuses me: how can someone choose one species over another? How can one say that one animal is more important, more worthy of survival? I know that some feel native species are more important than those that are non-native - but why? Just because they were here first? How can any person be that simplistic?

Yes, cats kill birds. And yes, cats are a non-native species. But no, killing off populations of feral and stray cats is not the answer. Targeting cats is simply making them a scapegoat for the population decline of birds. We need to look at other, much more influential reasons that birds are dying. Killing may be an easy answer, but it is not humane and does not even "fix" anything.

So why are certain bird populations declining? Habitat loss and pollution have got to be the two of the main reasons. I'm not surprised that their populations are dwindling so much - there's hardly any room left for them any more! And pollution is so bad that I'm sure they have been and will continue to be affected majorly.

I can't say that I am some kind of expert, but we need to use our common sense here. We don't (read: we shouldn't) kill off one race/religion/color to benefit the other - why would it be okay to kill off one species to benefit another? There's always a better solution. To me, killing should never be an option.

This is actually something that connects to so many other issues out there, and because I don't have the time or education, I won't get into it now. In my opinion, yes, cats kill birds. And yes, the cat population is something that needs to be curtailed through sterilization and responsible pet ownership. BUT, it is not acceptable to kill cats to "save" birds, even if the cats WERE the main problem. Which they are not.

The National Audobon Society (let's hope this is a reputable source to use, haha) says that bird populations are "diving" because of the suburban sprawl, industrial development, and the intensification of farming in the last 50 years. Cats, anyone? No. Because although cats DO have an impact in areas, especially islands (so I've read), the results of farming, deforestation, pollution, industrial development, etc ARE SO MUCH GREATER. It's okay to "like" one species over another, but it is not okay to blame one animal species for the problems caused by humans. We need to look at the main causes of falling bird populations and attempt to improve *them.* And you know what? If we did that, there would be so many wonderful side effects. Less pollution for us, climate stability, less wasting of resources, etc. What does killing cats do? Well, it kills cats. Cruelly and unjustifiably.

Do you love birds? Yes? Well, personally, I think they're great, too. = ) Although I do not have indoor/outdoor cats, first, I would recommend having your cats wear collars with bells if you can. If they won't tolerate the collars or you have feral cats, I would then suggest making the popular bird places pretty inaccessible to the cats. (As much as possible, anyway) They make cat bibs that look kind of odd, but if your cat is killing a lot of birds and you want to curtail this a bit, check them out: Keeping your cat indoors, especially during dawn and dusk is supposed to help. Building an enclosed structure for your cat to spend time outside with safety is a good idea.

I have to say again, I hate the argument that "cats are not native to North America." We aren't either! And look at all the animals, all the people we've killed!!! Just because they weren't here before we brought them over does not mean we can kill them at will. We do not have the right to kill off whatever/whoever we want! We have the OBLIGATION to find a peaceful solution. A solution that makes everything a little better in the end, including the animals, the people, and the environment.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trapping Wendy's Cats

Mrs. L decided to try to trap the kittens with a cage. Lure them in with the food, when there's a bunch in, close the door. It worked to catch five of the kittens. But the last two (known) kittens were being a bit shy, so we knew we'd have to get out the big guns: Havahart traps. Mrs. L took our two traps over Monday night. She tied them open, and set food in the front, middle, and back. The cats ate all the food, so on Tuesday night, I went over and put food in the middle and back. All gone the next day as well, so to trap the kittens/cats, I untied the traps and rigged them up. This time, only food in the back so the trip plate is activated and *voila* trapped cat.

I was a bit worried that the trip plate wasn't going to be sensitive enough - these cats are on the small side. The kittens are about four pounds, I believe. The moms probably aren't more than eight. But I set them up in the food shelter (which works *great* as a disguise for the traps, by the way - they were already used to going in the shelter for food, so now they just walk in the traps) and hoped for the best. Went into Wendy's to wait at least a half hour - maybe I'll go over to that picnic table next time. It was a bit awkward pretending to be a patron.

After a half hour, I went to check. And of course, all the food was gone, no trapped cats. "Damn it," I thought. Knew the traps weren't going to be sensitive enough. I went back inside to get my stuff so that I could set the traps again because I had no other choice. Certainly am not going to be chasing the cats with nets.

Grabbed my backpack, hoping people would leave my book and tray alone. Got out the cat food, but lo and behold, the little calico was thrashing around in one of the traps! Yea! I covered her with the sheet and she immediately calmed down. I placed her on top of the shelter and set the other trap. I walked a few feet away, not sure if I wanted to wait outside or in the Wendy's. But as I stood there, I heard the second trap's door slam shut. It was the little torti! I placed her next to the calico and covered them both with the sheet. Then called T for a ride over to the LV's. She was babysitting, though, and her sister was late, so the LV's came to get me and the kittens. We deposited them at their house and they dropped me back off at Wendy's to try to get some of the adults. But T was tired, so I couldn't really stay long. (A bit irritating to me, but what can you do when you have to rely on everyone else?)

So I tied up the traps again and put all the food in the back for them. Fortunately, I am going back tonight to trap again. Dr. R will be working tomorrow and has time for surgery. Hopefully T doesn't bail on me again. She kept telling me I should trap during the day but doesn't understand that if the cats don't come out during the day, you're not going to be able to trap them during the day. She said, "you should start feeding them during the day." But, truthfully, it doesn't matter when we feed/trap. I can easily* drop them off at the animal hospital at night, so there's no need to change their schedule.

I really hope to get two of the adults tonight. Wish me luck! = )

*Well, not easily, but day is no more easy than night for me, anyway.

Wendy's Kittens Pt. 2

I have realized that I am not good at story-telling. In fact, I suck at it. I really only do well with "reporting" life. Non-fiction is where my comfort zone lies. So where we at before? Oh, at "no answer."

I had been feeling dismayed, because I always seem to have very few, very limited resources. I knew we'd have to figure something else out if I never got an answer, but in the meantime, the cats needed water and bowls. (They had been drinking out of some flimsy plastic container.) I took some metal bowls from the lost and found at work (They had been there for over a year and a half, so don't be judging me). Unfortunately, the bowls and water bottles did not fit in the bag that I usually carry on my back when I ride my bike. (I had only one bag that could be carried on my back.) So I took a shoulder bag, thinking I would be able to balance it on my shoulder while biking over there. I was wrong. So I put the bag on the handlebar, thinking I would be able to ride with it swinging gently. I was wrong. The bag caught in the wheel, stopped the wheel abruptly, and flipped me over the handlebars.

It was the most adventurous thing I've done recently. However, I think I should take a moment to say "Kids, wear your helmets." Because I was not, and I am very thankful that I did not hurt myself. And that no one ran me over. I now wear my helmet even if I'm going next door. (Well, maybe not... but you know what I mean.)

I made it the rest of the way without event, though I was horribly dismayed to see that I had smushed the bowls up in my crash to the pavement. The water bottles were still intact, thankfully. And I was able to form the bowls back into shape. = )

As I topped the hill, I noticed a large vehicle parked in the area where the cats congregate. "Oh no," I thought, because I have issues with talking to unknown people. But meeting this couple is the best thing to have happened for me, Mrs. L, and the cats. I told them about my desire to spay and neuter everyone and Mrs. L's desire to socialize and find homes for the kittens. And they expressed that they wanted to help, that they're big cat lovers, and want to see the situation resolved as well.

I told them that I needed permission from the land-owners to trap and return the cats. They were all, "Oh she won't care, you'd be doing her a favor." But they understood that Dr. R needed it for legal reasons, so they actually paid her a visit and got her written permission. Can you believe that? Here I am, writing and emailing with no answer - and they know her. Life can provide you with the right resources, I guess. = )

So now that we had permission, Mrs. L asked if we could have some sort of meeting. It was a bit awkward, but KB went with me, so it wasn't as uncomfortable as it could have been. We made a tentative plan to catch the kittens, socialize them, find them homes, etc. I didn't feel we talked about the adults enough, but that's another topic. Mrs. L and I were very happy to have people as wonderful as the LV's on board.


I forgot to mention that KB offered to take in two of the kittens to socialize them. I asked her to do this under the impression that Mrs. L already had homes for them. Because that is what she told KB and me. Except KB has had the kittens for three weeks now - and no sign of homes. Not only do I feel bad that I got KB into this, but I am the one paying for everything. Food, litter, toys, and now vet bills. I just hope that I can come up with enough money. We're just doing basic worming, meds for upper respiratory infections, and testing the male for FIV/FeLV. But still, at just above minimum wage, these things are expensive. But I'll figure it out.