Saturday, May 29, 2010

Conversation with the Caretaker

The bar/photo studio colony's caretaker called me back this morning. She's a very nice woman. If I happen to get any more kittens, I will be giving her a call. She said that she knows some people who've been interested in getting another cat. Let's hope that works out...

I tried to explain the importance of clean water to her, but she wasn't seeming to get it. She brings them milk, but not water. I didn't want to press the subject, because it wasn't about the bringing of the water - she just didn't understand the need for it. It makes perfect sense to me - cats need water just as every other animal does, including humans. I go by this place on my way to work, so I can stop by to refill their water - I just wonder why people don't understand the importance. You get thirsty on a hot day, right? So does a cat. And a dog. And a horse.

She expressed concern that the cats who've been sterilized don't fare as well as those who are still intact. Something about being calmer and not fighting for food as much? A few have been fixed over the years due to other organizations getting involved, and she says she hasn't seen any one of them since. Let's hope I can get more of them fixed and the colony will then stabilize.

She mentioned that if I happen to catch a certain black cat, who is very friendly with her, she wants to take her home. There is a grey cat who is also less skittish of people that her friend wants to take home? I did explain our program to her, how limited we are, so I hope she understands that if these cats are going to a home, we won't be able to sterilize them. I wish we could, but if I knowingly did so, when the program's rules state otherwise, I might lose my ability to bring cats in at all. And that would not be go good for anyone.

Also, if it were to happen (taking the cats into a home) I hope that they are truly comfortable being around humans. But though they may come up for some love in their home right now, they probably wouldn't want to be confined in some strange house. Ah, who knows. Not up to me, I suppose. = ) I would just rather the cats be sterilized and comfortable in familiar surroundings than freaked out in a house surrounded by things they've never even dreamed of...

Now I'm really regretting putting the kitten back down. She could have taken him in. Maybe I will be able to get him back next week. And then smuggle him home because he was soooo cute! Haha.

Well, I should go get ready for work! Have a wonderful day!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Female spayed today. She has beautiful eyes. She appeared to have been pregnant just recently, but didn't seem to be producing milk still. Fortunately for this little girl, she will not be having any more babies.

I took these pictures as we headed back over to their home.

Waiting in my car to get back home.

Male cat, neutered today. No more making babies!

After releasing the two cats, I saw this kitty come walking out. She was there last year - I looked back in my pictures, and though there are several black and white cats, I can identify her. I hope to catch her and the rest of her family to be sterilized.

As this cat walked away, black momma cat appeared. I believe there are three or more all black cats. One is a mom, whom I believe to be this one.

Possible momma cat.

Miss Kitty came around the dumpster and...

Flopped on the ground, started rolling around. Made me laugh.

She got herself thoroughly dirty.

But seemed to be enjoying her dust bath. = )

This is another slightly smaller black kitty. I waited a couple more minutes, but no more cats came out to visit.
I left a note for the woman that comes to feed them every day. She called me back, but we were only able to talk for a couple of minutes. I'm hoping she's able to call me before I head off to work tomorrow.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Glad I Went Back

After a few hours at home, I went back to the bar area to trap another cat. I was hoping that as the day got cooler, the cats would venture more out in the open. And that they would be more interested in the wet food as theirs was all gone.

This time, I set one of the regular traps in the grassy area between two fences - one to the photo studio, the other to an industrial site. The woman who has been feeding them for over six years has put several wooden and plastic shelters in this area. It just needs to be cleaned up a bit - there are food dishes and garbage EVERYWHERE. I wonder if she would mind if I cleaned it up. Owners sometimes don't mind shelters and feeding stations, but they do when it's messy. One woman mentioned that someone from the other side of the fence has removed a few of the shelters set up - probably because they were put up without permission.

Anyway, I saw another black and white cat who meowed at me when I told him to "come on, get in the trap so we can go." She didn't listen to me, but her friend did. Not expecting anyone to enter the trap soon, I went back to my car to wait a few minutes before checking again. As I was talking to my sister on the phone, I saw black momma cat startle then run away. I knew that someone had probably been trapped, so I ran over with a towel and covered the trap. I think it looks like a male, but just like baby ages, it's difficult for me to tell male/female sometimes. = )

I took the mostly white with some black cat over to the hospital, where s/he will spend the night with the older female black and white cat. (The woman I met today said that the older female has to be at least 5 or 6) In the bathroom. It's relatively quiet in there. They will be fixed tomorrow, then released in the evening when I go home.

I'm not sure how many cats are in this area, but last year, there had to have been around 15 that I saw. I know that there are at least 3 black cats, 4 kittens, 1 grey cat, and a bunch (at least 5?)of black and white cats. But, well, 3 down!

I had met the woman that feeds the cats once last year. She was nice, but showed no interest in helping with getting the cats spayed and neutered. I need to be able to talk to her about the feeding, though. And water. I went to the thrift store today (I love thrift stores!) to find a metal bowl for water, because all though there were several food containers and a bunch of smaller dishes, there was no clean water. The woman had left milk (?) in a little plastic container, but the little water they had in one of the small dishes was just nasty. I filled the metal bowl with water when I left the first time. When I came back around 3 hours later, most of it was gone. Not spilled, but gone. Those cats must be incredibly thirsty. Not good.

I filled it again when I left with the second cat, but will go each day on my way to work until I can talk to the woman about providing them with water. She goes every day to give them food, water shouldn't be a big deal.

So, I am glad I went back. But if anyone has any trapping tips - feel free to share! It seems more difficult because I don't know these cats' habits. Where they hang out, what times they're there, etc. I know I may not be able to get them all, but when I think of Strayer (hint hint) and how she gets all those cats trapped - I feel like maybe I'm missing out on some information here? = ) Is it just lots of traps and dedication?

Goodnight everyone!

So Hot Outside Today!

I got a little sunburnt today by the time I remembered to put some sunscreen on. I hope I remember earlier next time. = )
I went back to the bar for some more cat trapping. Well, the area next to the bar. It seems that the cats congregate behind a photo studio. Unfortunately, the woman that feeds them leaves out a ton of food, so they aren't as hungry as I would like them to be. (For trapping, anyway.)
I set up my drop trap and almost immediately caught a black and white (supposedly) female. She will be spayed and released tomorrow.
I waited for hours for another to walk underneath the trap, but no one was willing. I am thinking about going back tonight to try again. I need to be able to contact the woman feeding them, though, because I'm not going to be able to get these cats fixed if they're not hungry enough to enter a trap.
I met several nice people today, including the owners of the two buildings I was camped out between. We had gotten permisison to trap on the property of the one building, but I had never personally spoken to the owner. He saw me by the dumpsters, so I got up to talk to him, hoping he wasn't going to ask me to leave. (I didn't even know it was the owner) He was nice, though, so I explained what I was trying to do, and he thanked me.
The studio's owner came out to talk to me as well. He seemed very enthusiastic about the cats being sterilized - they have killed his frogs and turtles that they keep in the backyard for portraits.
That kitten in the photos is one of at least 4 at the bar/studio. But I have no where to take them! And they are not old enough for spay/neuter yet. I'm guessing this one is four/five weeks? (I'm bad at ages, though) A woman doing yard work at the studio caught the little one and handed him over to me, so I put him in a carrier (those are ice cubes, b/c of the heat). But I have no where to take him, no one I know that will foster, and I don't know if it is best for him to be with his siblings and mom for a little while longer. So I let him go. And that was so hard, but I just don't know what to do with the babies!
He was a little spitfire at first, but when I took him out to let him go, he was such a sweetie! He let me hold him without any problems. When I first set him down, I snatched him back up, because I just didn't know what to do. I still don't know what to do. I want the babies to have homes, but I can't take them in right now - and none of my friends have the money to do so either. Also, is it better to take them all at once? All the babies, so they'd at least have each other? That was another thing I was worried about...
And I don't know who the mom is, so I won't know if I trap her and take her away from her babies. They should be old enough to last one night, right? I know so little about kittens!
If any one has any suggestions, feel free to chime in!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Animal Cruelty of the More Insidious Kind

Most people who have a sense of empathy are able to take care of animals wonderfully. Can empathy be taught???
Those without empathy, however, should not be allowed to be caretakers.
When I think of animal cruelty, I think of kids setting fire to cats and men beating dogs with sticks and pigs forced to live in tiny cells for breeding purposes. I tend to forget about the insidious cruelty that animals routinely go through at the hands of unempathetic owners. The kind that doesn't make the news.
Outdoor dogs that get food and shelter, but no companionship. Dogs shut in a crate all day long because the caretakers are too busy with their own lives. Cats locked in the basement with no companionship or even a clean litter box. Bunnies bought for the kids because they are *oh so cute* but left in their cages because their needs are not properly understood.
How do we get through to the people who bring animals into their lives, but don't actually understand that they are not stuffed animals? I don't know. Can empathy be taught? Especially when these people are adults - the ones who should be aware of these things? How do we get past a person's defenses and show them that these animals are worthy of our compassion? That even a fish has needs and desires?
I find myself questioning these things because next week, I am driving an hour and a half away to try to take my mom's cat out of her house. I have explained to my mom over and over again that animals need companionship. Exercise. Clean areas to live in and eat in and go to the bathroom in. But something has been turned off in her brain. Or was never turned on. My sister went over to visit and found the cat shut in the basement, living in filth.
My sister has offered to take her in, but I have no idea how my visit will go. My mother cannot accept the fact that she is not a suitable caretaker. She refuses to let anyone even suggest that she may not be perfect. But she can't be allowed to have this cat locked in her basement. It's cruel.
How can people not understand compassion and empathy? They must be missing so much in life.

Finally, a cat from the bar

Today, I finally brought in a cat from the bar. Why have I neglected this situation for so long? Please don't ask. Maybe I felt "too busy" or "too drained" or something. Whatever it was, it wasn't for the right reasons.

A wonderful lady has offered to help out with the trapping at the bar, something I will be taking her up on very shortly.

Lots of things have been changing in my life lately, which is mostly why I haven't been writing. I started a new part time job (still working at the animal hospital, but now only part time). I am preparing to move out of my parents' house in July. My friend and I were not able to find a place together due to pets and bad credit, so I will be moving in with a vet tech that used to work with me at the hospital. I think it will be good. Her place is close to both of my jobs, there will be more room, and her dog is more afraid of cats than desiring to chase them. =)

We'll see...

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Gulf Oil Disaster

I'm not one to actually pay attention to the world's events. Well, maybe that was in the past, when I didn't really know how to care on such a large scale. Be gentle on the young - they aren't capable of actually understanding the magnitude of certain events at times.

I was 14 when 9/11 happened. I didn't get it. It all seemed like a crazy fuss for two buildings falling down.

I was 18 when Hurricane Katrina occured. I didn't understand how it was any worse than other hurricanes. Why people were so concerned.

I'm 22 now, and am *devastated* by the Gulf oil spill. Reading the articles on the massive impact this is having/will have on the birds, fish, dolphins, whales, shrimp, crabs - on all life in these waters - it's heartbreaking. One of the articles mentioned that the oil slick prevents the water from staying oxygenated, which compels the fish to rise to the surface of the water, seeking oxygen. When they reach the oil, their gills will become covered and they will die. I don't know about you, but I can see the fish in my mind as they swim to the surface. I can see them dying. And this will be happening to thousands of animals.

One of the articles seemed to focus on how the fishing industry will be affected, how they will lose so much money through this disaster. But enough about money for God's sake! Millions of animals are dying! They are not being erased like penciled in numbers on a sheet of notebook paper, they are dying individual, excruciating deaths.

Food chain interruptions, damage to reproductive systems, majorly affecting the mating/breeding/nesting season - this is really bad. And it is not just a spill. It is an ongoing oil leak (if you can even call it a leak) that may last for months. It is a nasty feeling to actually understand what is going on here - the birds, fish, turtles, whales, shellfish - individual beings - they are dying horrible, terrible deaths. Because of us.