Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken and sushi

Last week, I brought sushi over to the cats. My step-mom hadn't finished her plate, so instead of throwing it out, I asked if I could bring it over to the feral cats. (I had tried to see if my cats would attempt the raw fish, but they are babies. They didn't even try it.) I'm hoping now that there's nothing in sushi that could harm the cats. It's just rice and raw fish, right? Anyway, this kitty here cracked me up when I saw her go zooming past with a sushi roll in her mouth. I think she wanted to find a place to enjoy her treat by herself.

So today, I brought over some uncooked chicken. My parents weren't going to eat it (and I'm a vegetarian), so my step-mom asked me if I wanted to give it to the feral cats. I forgot a knife, so I just laid out the slabs of chicken breast on a plate for them to enjoy. It made me giggle when I saw the same kitty run past with a piece of chicken dangling from her little mouth. She probably wanted to make sure no one else laid dibs on her piece, so she left to enjoy it by herself.
It's hard knowing what these cats must survive through. But sometimes, they make me smile, like when they sprawl out on the pavement and roll around. And sometimes, they make me laugh, when they run off with special pieces of food so no one else can lay their paws on them. It's a hard life for them out here. But we're trying to make it a little better for them through TNR.

11th Cat from Tipsy's

This black and white cat from Tipsy's was trapped as well today. The kitty will be spayed/neutered tomorrow. Am not even going to guess on gender. = )

Petite cat. Looks thin, just like the rest of them. You know what I want? I want no more babies! Because we're not going to be able to find fosterers for them! So we just need to get these guys spayed and neutered!
I know I've said it before, but there are a lot more cats out here than I first estimated. Out of the 11 cats we've trapped, I've only seen 3 beforehand. Possibly 4, if one of the black cats that used to hang around is just hiding a bit before venturing back out into the open. But that means a lot of these kitties are too skittish to show their faces.
I'll let you know about this cat tomorrow after surgery!

3rd black kitten rescued

This little muffin was trapped today. His sibling didn't leave his side until I came back to get him. I wish I could have gotten him, too!
He went home with the woman who's been trying to get the kittens. She met me at the dumpsters in between the photo studio and the grey building. I showed her how to use the trap again, and let her borrow it so she can go back whenever to try to get the babies. I told her to rig it up so she can control who gets trapped (I don't want to have to keep an adult cat for more than one day). I also mentioned that she might be able to use the baby as bait for the other kittens...
I'm hoping we'll be more successful with removing these kittens from hard lives in this colony! There are still at least 3 kittens, most likely more.
I don't know if this guy is from the same litter as the other two black kittens, taken in by the woman in the grey building who's been helping me trap. Not sure about the ages. But I hope they can be socialized to humans without too much fuss. The woman taking them in hasn't socialized feral kittens before, so I just wrote her a lengthy email with my own and others' advice. If they cannot be socialized, we will have them spayed/neutered and released. I'll just need to keep up on their progress, because if they do not do well inside, I do not want anything else to happen to them...
I just wish the black and white one hadn't been released!!!


I've been moving stuff around, taking some things over to my new place... The Bergan lounger thing fell over during all this, and guess who thought it was meant to be?

I think they mentioned on the site that it could be used upside down. I like it because it's still very stable when flipped over. Mellie likes it, too!

This is a Bergan Pulp Scratch Lounger. I love it because it's only $8.99, and the cats do like to use it. Have not seen anyone use it as a scratching surface, but it's definitely a comfy place to sleep!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The 5th black cat is our 3rd black female

This is our over-heated kitty. I think she's okay - after an hour or two on a cool, wet towel, she seemed back to normal. No more panting.
She was spayed today. And six babies were prevented from entering this world. The doctor said that she was a couple weeks along but that they presented unevenly and would not have all survived.
It's hard, knowing that these babies never got a chance. But at the same time, they wouldn't have had much a chance even if they had lived past birth. We don't even seem to be able to find homes for the 4 or 5 kittens already present in the colony.
Ah, I don't have the answers. My heart is torn on this topic. A life is a life - but is a prevented life the same as an ended one? I'm not really sure, and believe me, I've had the opportunity to debate this issue before. With no conclusions, obviously. Maybe it's best to admit that we don't have all the answers. We just try to do what we feel is best.
I hope that this kitty will be able to live a healthier life now that she is spayed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fire and poison

While transferring the black cat over to my car today, I talked with the woman who's been helping me with the trapping. I asked her about the kittens she's taken in (betwen 5-8) over the years. She said none of them have tested positive for FIV/FeLV, so that's good. Maybe the cats here aren't actively sick, just not super healthy. I don't know. They look rough, though. And thin. BUT, maybe I'm just so used to seeing my plump cats that my opinion is skewed.

I asked her about the houses on the other side of the fence that have disappeared. She says there are teenage boys who like to skateboard over there - and destroy the houses. I guess she outted them for being over there and they retaliated by removing/breaking/setting fire to some of the houses. I just hope none of the cats were hurt. She says she doesn't believe they've touched any of the huts that are between the fences. I hope not, because the cats need places to go!

She also said that the owner of the photo studio poisoned some of the cats a few years ago and bragged about it after throwing their dead bodies over by the dumpsters. I don't even have words for that. People who are capable of such actions have this human/animal separation. Humans are supreme beings, animals "just animals." Pests. Like cutting trees down because they're in the way. And I don't know how to fight that belief with any bit of success. Most people I know are like that. They believe people take precedence over animals merely because they are human and "animals" are not.

Maybe I'll figure out how to combat these beliefs with time. I hope so. Because I hate not knowing what to say that might actually go through someone's defenses of "I am right, you can't touch me, EVER!!!"

Well, goodnight. = )

5th black cat from Tipsy's

I let the Caring Harts for RIT Cats group know that they can have two spots for tomorrow, but to let me know if they're not successful. If they're not, I like to try in the morning for a cat at one of the colonies I've been TNRing. This hasn't really worked so far (in my getting a cat in the morning), but it's worth a try to take adantage of the available spots.

The woman who's been trapping with me at the bar colony trapped an adult cat today, though. So I'm really hoping that RIT only gets one cat... I don't know if they'll have enough time to do more than two. Depends on the gender.

I got a call from the woman who does the landscaping at the photo studio about a feral cat trapped in a cage left out in the heat for over an hour. She actually called the hospital first. They called me, and I told them to give her my number. Not sure how long the cat was left out there, but it was hot. I thought the woman who had been trapping was going to call me, but I ended up having to call her. She said she was going to wait until tomorrow morning to see if we had time... don't know why. I just told her to give me a call as soon as possible - that's definitely helpful!

When I went to pick up the cat, she had him in the car. The windows were rolled down, but I fear that the cat had definitely gotten overheated. I brought him over to the hospital and put him in the cool bathroom over a wet towel. I also slid a small dish of water in there for him/her. Poor cat's tongue was sticking out when I got him, he was so hot! We had a meeting later that afternoon, so I checked on him again, and he seemed much better. I hope no lasting damage occured due to the heat!

Unfortunately, I found out today that the woman helping me had to release the black and white kitten! She was under the assumption that the caretaker was going to take him, but when that didn't work out, she had nowhere for him to go! Same as me, so I don't blame her - I just wish we had more options for these babies! I gave her another woman's number, but it seems that though the people want to be able to take them in, when it comes down to it, they find reasons that they can't. It's regrettable, though, because I think they are at least 8 weeks old now. And if I had known, I would have had the kitten fixed before release. I did let her know, though, that if she doesn't have a place for the kittens, I will have them fixed before we set them back out there. Saves us the trouble of trying to get them later on.

I wonder also if she released the kitten - and didn't hold on to him for a few days to try to find another option - because he is sick. I know that this is the kitten she wanted to bring in for an exam. And when I went to refresh the cats' water today, I saw the poor baby, eyes all gunked up and red. *sigh*

BUT, along with the adult cat, she also got the other black kitten. What she's going to do with that one, I'm not sure, since she couldn't keep the black and white one. Maybe it really was because he's sick?

I heard that the owners of the photo studio are irritated about the caretaker giving milk to the cats, as it's giving them diarrhea. And they're pottying in the studio's backyard. I don't understand the milk thing! Water is essential for cats, milk is detrimental. They do make safe-for-cats milk, though.

Someobody seems to be helping with the water, though. I hope the caretaker is! That would be great.

Anyway, I'll let you know the gender of this black cat tomorrow after surgery, b/c I've no clue! = )

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Return of the Muffin

I did not take any pictures of Stud in the trap. He was very angry. Very feral. He also stunk up the whole hospital. Male cat urine - blech. I'm glad I cautioned the techs about this guy - I guess he was very difficult to anesthetize. Poor guy. I know he must have been so freaked out, not knowing what we were doing to him. But at least he is now neutered.

When I drove over to return StudMuffin, I saw two of our fixed kitties hanging out. It's such a nice feeling to know these guys won't be contributing to any more babies. We've got anywhere between 5 and 10 more cats to TNR at this colony. But we're getting there!
Here's our super friendly male - not enough to be petted, but enough to follow me around! He was neutered less than a week ago. I'm glad to see that he's still around.
I made sure to arrive yesterday around the time the caregiver would be arriving with the food. I knew a bunch of the cats would come out to meet her, and I also wanted to give her a bag of cat food. I've had these two bags of cat food in my trunk for several months without anyone to give them to. I know how expensive it must be to provide for all these cats, though, so I wanted to be able to help, even if it's just two weeks worth of food! I gave the other big bag of food to the Wendy's colony caretaker on Monday night, but more about that later...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2 more from Wendy's

Matching grey female kitten with a small splotch of white on her chest, trapped last night, spayed today. Talked to the caretaker of this colony - she believe there are 3 more kittens. Glad we're getting these girls early - no more silly babies!

Remember that black and white male I talked about last week? This is him! I love his little goatee. He was neutered today.
When I released him, he ran across the field and then across the street - which is connected right to the highway. Very busy here. I literally gasped out loud when I saw which direction he was running. I was so afraid that a car would kill him, because he certainly wasn't looking! I'm glad I took them back late at night, when traffic isn't bad. And when it's dark.
He obviously hangs out at Wendy's at times, but I'm assuming his "home" is elsewhere. Except for a tabby last year, all have taken off into the field. I don't mind where they come from, as long as they get back in one piece!
I also saw a tabby and white cat the night I trapped these guys. The caretaker hasn't seen her before, so I'm assuming she was just visiting, but hopefully she'll visit some more when I'm trapping!
According to her calculations the regular colony has 3 more kittens and 2 adults needing to be trapped and altered. 1 more kitten belongs to the elusive grey and white momma and 2 kittens belong to a black momma. So, 5 more at this colony. And then all the extra visitors.
We'll get there! Hopefully!


I am watching the documentary "Earthlings" narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.

I have to pause it and take breaks as it is such heart-wrenching content. I have broken down in tears several times now.

No person should be allowed to eat animals or take a pet to the shelter without watching this documentary first.

No person should be allowed to go through life without facing the fact that they are the cause for these beings' tortured existences.

They all say "I don't want to think about it." "I don't want to hear about it." And I get that. I don't either. I want to hide in my closet and never think about it.

But I make myself watch this documentary because I know there is a reason I don't eat animals anymore. And I know there is a reason I want everyone to spay and neuter their pets. And this is why.

Until you see the cows and pigs and chickens resorting to cannabilism, their throats being slit as they are shackled upside down still alive and struggling to be free, being beaten by men who feel so manly and powerful exerting this kind of control - until you watch this documentary yourself, don't let me see you putting that chicken sandwich in your mouth. Until you see the dogs and cats being crammed into a gas chamber that takes 20 minutes of struggling and panic and fear to finally end their lives - don't let me hear of you taking a pet to the shelter.

NOTHING I SAY will ever change a person's view. It's sad, but I know it's true. But a book can. And a movie can. People don't listen to other's words. But they respond to videos. And books. If you don't have the time to read a book, rent a documentary. Rent "Earthlings." You will cry, want to hide, and feel like you'll scream at anyone who ever talks to you again because the content is so disturbing and traumatic. But I cannot take anyone seriously when they tell me I need to support my farmers, or get my calcium/protein, or THAT THEY DON'T EVEN LIKE PIGS. If you want to tell me that using animals for our benefit is okay, watch this documentary and then get back to me. Seriously. I don't want to hear it, because I don't have the right words to defend these animals. And they deserve more than my stumbling efforts. They deserve to have a proper chance at being defended.

So watch "Earthlings" and let me know.

I'm only halfway through it, because it's super late and I need my sleep. I think I will put Narnia or something in to calm me down. After watching the news and hearing about one baby being shot to death, another baby being stabbed to death, and now this documentary, I don't know if I can take the human race anymore. Maybe tomorrow I will be a little more hopeful, but tonight I just want to cry.

Here comes "Studmuffin"

Well, hey there! Who's this? Oh, is that Studmuffin?

I think so! Are you coming over here, sir?

Would you like to be neutered, Studmuffin? I think you've fathered enough babies!!!

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but the cats from this colony look rough. As you can tell in this picture, Stud does not look well-groomed. They've all looked pretty shaggy. And thin. Most of them just don't look healthy. It doesn't seem to be lack of food - the caretaker always leaves a lot of food out. The vet tech supervisor and I were speculating the possibility of FIV/FeLV. But unless a cat comes in looking very sick, we won't be testing. There's really no point, since all we can do to help is spay and neuter to stop the spread of disease, which we're already doing. Even if they did test positive, I wouldn't want them killed just because they have the disease.

So, Studmuffin seems to be quite the gentleman. Here he is waiting patiently as all the girls/younguns chow down.

My little trap with the sliding rear door was set behind the dumpster, awaiting a small kitty. But as everyone was eating, the trap snapped shut of its own accord. No one was even near it. Freaked me and all the cats out. Everyone scattered.

I will admit, I was sitting in my car being a sissy. I was watching them eat, and I didn't want to disturb them, thinking THEY ARE SO HUNGRY AND IT WOULD BE SO MEAN TO SCARE THEM AWAY. But I guess my little trap knew better, because when it snapped shut, it snapped me out of my sissy state. And I got out my drop trap.

After waiting a couple minutes, Stud came back and started eating under the drop trap. I hesitated, because my transfer trap is smaller than the other ones. I didn't want to trap him and have him escape. But I decided to go ahead, since you never know when another chance will come along. After almost escaping by lifting the drop trap up (even with my heavy anchor) and biting a small hole in the netting of the drop trap, I was able to transfer him to the regular trap. He was not happy, but I covered him quickly and took him over to spend the night in the bathroom. He will be neutered tomorrow.

I left a note for the techs - he seems quite feral. Very upset about being trapped. It's always hard to see these cats in the traps. I know they must be so panicked. That's why I don't like keeping them for more than one night. It's not fair if they are that freaked out. But being neutered will be a good thing, Studmuffin!

Two kittens I have seen

Little black kitten eating a piece of bread. The caregiver had just come with food. I knew I wanted to trap a cat today, but only had one trap, so I was debating on the usage of the drop trap, since a bunch of cats were out.

Tabby kitten and Momma appear.
Momma watches as the babies eat. There may be another black and white kitten - not sure if it's the same mom, though.

Family picture.

I had my trap out, hoping a curious kitten would enter so I could give them over to one of the three women who are willing to find them homes, but as I sat in my car watching, it snapped shut of it's own accord. And scared everyone off. So I got my drop trap out and waited for someone to come back.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tipsy kittens

A black and white kitten was trapped on last Friday at the Tipsy colony. We were trying to get one more adult before noon, but a wee one went in the trap instead. When it would be more convenient to get a kitten, we trap a cat. When I'd really like to get another cat, we get a kitten! Silly creatures. = )

I would like to set more traps, but I really can't afford to. If I trap more than we have time for, I would have to keep them for several days - and I don't know how to take care of them in a situation like that.

A woman went over on Saturday to try to get the remaining kittens. I don't believe she was trapping - I don't think she has a trap. But she feels bad for the babies, so I know she wanted to make some sort of attempt.

I have realized over the last couple of days that I won't be able to help the colonies that don't have caretakers who keep up on the cats needing to be altered. Since we can only spay and neuter a couple cats a week, we need to focus on the caregivers that do make an effort - otherwise, we're wasting time on a lost cause! In order to make a difference, we need to halt the reproduction of colonies. I'm fine with this taking time to complete - but since I am not the caretaker, I don't know the colony. And I don't know when there are cats that need to be trapped. So if one or two cats are left unaltered, and I am not aware of their status, I'm not going to be able to get them fixed. And that one cat will have babies, which obviously in a few months, leads to more babies. So it doesn't matter how many I got spayed and neutered - because the reproduction hasn't stopped!

I know that the surgery is a benefit to the cats - and I want to help them all. But I am mainly interested in stopping the breeding. I've realized that it's not the numbers that are important - it's the ending of the reproduction cycle of outdoor cats. And I can only do that when the caregivers work with me. Otherwise, there's really no end. And it's not worth the heartache.

For example, our colony at the hospital is finished. Eight males neutered (5 of which remain) - no newcomers in a long while. I'm sure there are other cats in the area, but they are not in our colony. But if we see a new cat, we will trap him/her.

Anyway. I just thought it was worth noting the decision I made. I fully intend on getting the Wendy's cats spayed and neutered, but after this, I can't work with someone who doesn't keep me up to date - or doesn't help with the trapping. Because there's no point. And I don't have a lot of time to waste - especially when I could be helping someone else.

OH, and the last b&w cat from the bar/photo studio colony? Was a male. Maybe over time I will get better at this. I hope to do some more trapping this week. And get that elusive female from Wendy's. Sans cops!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

1 more from the Tipsy colony

This is our first black and white female we spayed at the bar/photo studio colony. Glad to see she's doing all right after her surgery.

Same girl.

So I went over to check the traps. Found a woodchuck. Freed him and rebaited the traps. As I was doing this, these cats were just following me around, checking me out. I can't tell the difference between most of the black and white cats - there are so many of them! I saw at least three different b&w cats, two black cats, and the grey one from last year. Didn't get a picture of the others, though. The only one I've seen that we've already fixed was the first black and white girl. I'm keeping an eye out for the others, though!
This area is right behind the photo studio. The wooden fence belongs to them. Not sure who owns the land behind the chain-link fence. Several huts were set up for the cats back here between the fences. Some dog houses were put on the other side of the chain-link fence, but have been removed recently, possibly by the property owner. Always good to get permission, because otherwise, resources get wasted. It's sad to think their shelters were thrown away. I know one mom cat had been using one of the dog houses as her baby shelter. And now it's gone.

This cat was following me around the most. I was able to touch her twice briefly - just the tail, but she is obviously comfortable enough to get quite close. She was very interested in what I was doing. I think she wanted some of the food. But it was making me crazy, because these cats were just lounging around within an arm's length from me! I wish I had a net! I wish I knew how to use a net properly! I wish I could trap ten of them in one day to get more fixed at one time!!!

As I was setting up the other trap, missy here walked into the little one. I believe this is the one who kept following me like a pet cat. She appears to have the same markings as the cat above. Maybe she knows what's good for her! She will be spayed tomorrow. RIT may be bringing in a cat tomorrow morning as well, so just one for today. I will set a trap in the morning for another cat at this colony if they are not successful.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wendy's Colony

Both cats that I brought in last night were males. I am so bad at judging gender!

I returned them tonight at dusk. They shot straight into the tall grass. They usually only venture out at night, so I wanted to make sure it was dark when I returned them. Figured it was only fair. = )

There used to be a barn in this field. I forget if it burned down or if they tore it down. But this is where these cats come from, no doubt.

When I brought the two males back tonight, I saw a black and white cat. Appeared male, but we all know my track record on gender. He just sat there and watched me. He did not seem as skittish as the others. Could this be the cat Mrs. L. was talking about last year? I hope not. She said she had met a friendly black and white cat - one who gave love bites. This cat was comfortable enough to not run away, but didn't approach to my sweet-talking. First time I've seen him, but I know there's at least one more intact female here - he might have ventured over for the food or the girls... Actually... I think she said the cat was more black than white... I'll have to look through previous writings. (Edit: Just looked. It appears to have been a white on black cat. With a white-tipped tail. The cat I saw tonight was definitely black splotches on white.)

I checked the book today to see the sexes of the cats. In doing so, I found the pages for the two kittens - they did get their distemper vaccinations, which is good. Just no rabies.

I'm planning on trying for a bar cat tomorrow. But my father has to go in for another surgery, so we'll see if I have time...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Watcha gonna do when they come for you?

Laugh, I guess...

I decided to pull in to the empty building's parking lot next to the Wendy's (the one we have written consent to be on the property of) instead of parking at Wendy's. I knew I was going to be there longer than a half hour, and I didn't want to use up a spot for paying customers. I figured it would be easier, anyway.

So as I'm setting all my cat-trapping stuff up, I'm waving at the people walking by or riding by on their bikes, because I know they're wondering what I'm doing. Better to be openly friendly than suspiciously creepy, I figure... And then this silver car pulls into the parking lot, slowly turning around (getting my license plate number) and stalls near the road for several minutes (calling 911).

Knowing the people in the silver car don't know what's going on, I start walking towards them, hand up like "hey, how are you" but they just speed off. I go back to my business, certain that I'll have visitors soon...

As I'm talking to this older man on his bike about what I'm doing (I actually take care of his cats when they stay at our boarding facility), the cops pull in. 2 cop cars for this girl here. At least they didn't pull in with the sirens going. Haha.

"Suspicious female in green carrying cages into the field." Yep, that's me. Suspicious female. Definitely wearing green. And carrying cages. Oh, goodness.

Only one of them got out of the car to see what was going on. But since I already knew why they were there, I told him about the car, that I was expecting them, and *all* about what I was doing. As the older man rode away on his bike to get home before dark, the officer got out and asked to see how the traps worked. I showed him the drop trap, why I was using it, and how I transfer the cats. He laughed when he realized that I pull the string to drop the trap - said it reminded him of something in a cartoon. Guess it kind of does...

So, it wasn't all that awkward to have to the cops called on me. But that's because the officer was incredibly nice. Not an asshole. He also reminded me of my godfather. Who is a police officer. Or sherriff. Deputy? I don't know.

I guess they have a feral cat population behind the station. Of course, BECAUSE THEY ARE EVERYWHERE OH MY GOD!!! He told me I should come over there and help them out. After Wendy's and the bar/photo studio area are stabilized, I think I probably will. Who doesn't need to know a nice officer every now and then? Haha.

Well don't you look a bit familiar?!

Girls spayed this morning, returned tonight. Seemed to be doing okay.

Little man from last year. My friend fostered/socialized him, and I finally found him a home. It took over three months. It was hard. And expensive. I wish I could do it again, because it's hard putting the little ones back out there.

And who's this? Looks familiar, huh? I actually think this is an older sibling. Grey and white Momma kitty has a similar white marking, but I don't believe this is the original Momma. There is at least one more adult grey and white cat out there, at least two more kittens, and most likely a black adult. I know we spayed a black female last year, so if I trap a black cat, I will just have to make sure she hasn't already been spayed.
I trapped this kitty with the drop trap and transferred her over to the havahart trap. After a while, though, the cats were just not coming out, and it was getting too dark to see the trap clearly, so I packed up and put the regular traps out in hopes of getting one more.

And I was lucky. This one may be a male... But I've been wrong, often, so who knows. I haven't trapped any males here yet, though... Except for two of last year's kittens, but the males go off roaming while the females stay and have their babies. Maybe this is the one making all the babies! Well, male or female, no more babies for this cat!

Picture from last year

I love this picture. Just found it the other day. All their paws are sticking out in such a nice line. = )

I wonder how they're doing? Maybe I should email them...

Stranger & Company, minus 1

Feeding time: Stranger (black cat), Jehzar (orange), and Torrini (black and white). These are three of our five feral cats behind the hospital. All neutered, ear-tipped, vaccinated. Fed every day at noon. They will run up to greet us, but no touching is allowed. = )

Busy in the bowls. I was noticing today that Jehzar's coat looks quite beautiful. Very silky and clean. He does a good job grooming himself. = )

Jehzar and his mutilated ear. Someone got a little chop happy...

This is Snuggle. I haven't seen his brother Pickle in a couple days. Pickle wanders more than the other four. Pickle and Snuggle were neutered a while ago as well. I hope Pickle is okay! I always worry that he will get into trouble when he leaves.

Two of their houses. The little one is a Feral Villa. I believe the cats use it when it is super cold, as the house is insulated. Otherwise, they tend to use the larger shelters. The big white one was made by a Boy Scout. They seem to like it. I looked in the houses today and all have been "nested." We have three more that he made in the back yard that should be taken to colonies that need them. Such as the bar/photo studio colony. The cats at Wendy's have a large dog house surrounded by straw. I'll try to get some pictures of that, tonight.
And here are the two igloos. Covered by a tarp and stuffed with straw (which wants to escape, obviously). Rocks on the sides keep the tarps down. All the houses have loads of straw in them as well.

And a picture of all the houses. I will admit, four houses for five cats is a bit much. But I really don't know which ones they prefer. I should have spaced them out, maybe? But, though they may not be perfect, they help the cats get through the winters. And come on, it's NY. It's cold here in the winter. = )
If you need houses, look on your local Craigslist (or something similar) for igloos or doghouses you can modify. I bought the little igloo for $20 and the big igloo for $25. The Feral Villa was $80 - it's a great house, but small. When you have a lot of cats to house, it may not be the best option. However, for one or two small cats, it's wonderful. The big white bird-looking houses were made by a local Boy Scout, and the cats seem to like them. I think that's another great way to get houses - have them donated or made by a young man/woman who enjoys building. Who needs to do some charity work. = ) Or just likes being nice.
Straw is pretty cheap, and the cats like it. So far, I have not seen the straw in the houses get damp, moldy, or smelly. I changed it a couple months ago - besides being dusty and getting bitten by some hungry mosquitoes, there were no issues. Straw is good as an insulator and *very* good for making nests to keep warm. You can't really do that with blankets.
So there's our colony of kitties. Hope you're all having a pleasant day! It's been beautiful here so far!

Oh, kittens

I got such cute pictures of these guys - without my picture card in the camera. And I lost my USB cord, so I had to take more pictures today to be able to transfer them on to the computer. See that face? Looks exactly like his momma. HIS MOMMA THAT I AM DETERMINED TO TRAP.

Well, I don't know the gender of either kitty yet. But both will be fixed today. And then, unfortunately, released. Mrs. L is not answering her phone. (Called her yesterday, told her that I will be trapping, asked if she was still trying to get the kittens into homes. She told me to give her a call if I got any babies.) But since she isn't answering, I have to figure something else out. And I know no one, *no one* that could foster or wants a kitten. It is SO hard trying to find homes for kittens. We all know that.
These guys might be happier with the rest of their family. I know I'm trying to make myself feel better about this, because I have no other options. I would keep them for a couple of days at the hospital to try to get a hold of Mrs. L, but I don't even know if that's the best idea. All I know is that I don't have anyone else to take them, and I can't reach her. But it's hard, because they are SO cute. And young. The vet thinks around ten weeks old. But I'll know more later when they have been altered.
*Just got a call - they are both females. The vet doesn't feel comfortable vaccinating them yet, so they will just be spayed and ear-tipped. If I trap them again in a couple of weeks, I will bring them in to be vaccinated. I guess the most important thing is that they have been fixed, so I won't fret about that...
I went over last night to try to trap these guys, hoping for some adults, but they are too smart, just like last year. Ate all the food, didn't get trapped. Except for the kittens. I will be going back tonight - when it's light out still - to use the drop trap. There are two identical grey and white cats, one black cat, and possibly some others I didn't see, including kitties. *sigh*

Sunday, June 13, 2010


As I was driving past the Wendy's last night to get on to the highway, guess what I saw? Cats. A few kittens. A couple teenage kitties. And it made me very frustrated. Disappointed.

When I stopped trapping there (4 females spayed, over 10 kittens removed and rehomed), one grey and white female was left to be spayed. The woman feeding them said that she would call me when she trapped her, as she was more difficult. (This is the cat that she had trapped in a cage and then RELEASED, because she *might* have had babies. Listen, I don't want babies to go without their mom for a night or two and be responsible for anything bad that happens to them, but *might* is not good enough for me. I just want the cats sterilized. I'm sorry if that makes me sound like a cold hard *you-know-what,* but had she been spayed, we could be helping other cats out and not her offspring.) That one female has turned that place back into a breeding ground. Where the males are roaming, I've no clue, but I am so disappointed that the caretaker did not fulfill her promise. Why has she not trapped the teenage cats either?

Another issue that frustrates me is the kittens. I can't help her again - I have no money for kittens. I wouldn't even want to help her with them if I did have the money. I feel that she may focus too much on getting the kittens socialized and into homes when she should be worrying about the cats having babies in the first place. She knows that I would get them the first available appointment, yet she doesn't try to trap them - and she hasn't called me for any help.

It bothers me, because she knows I am right here to help her out. Not a lot of caretakers have such an available and immediate option! I understand when those who care for these cats don't have the resources to get the cats fixed, but she does. Yet she continues to feed the cats every night and let them breed. Disappointed, yes. Frustrated, yes. And angry, a little.

I will call her tomorrow to let her know that I will go over there as soon as I can to try to trap the unneutered cats, but I am angry that she has not taken the responsibility. I will also have to let her know that no, I can't do anything with any kittens. Because that's the first thing she will ask me. Easy to write down, hard to verbalize, because truly, I'm a nice person and don't like to alienate people.

Maybe there's a legitimate reason for not getting these cats trapped, but she has my phone number and could have called me. That's what really gets me - she has somebody who has made it clear that she will help, just call. But no call.

In order to make some headway, we have to KEEP ON TOP of the leftover cats. The ones that still need to be trapped and fixed. And if we can't get them, we have to get their babies ASAP. If we just leave them, and feed them, then we've made NO DIFFERENCE!!! They will continue to breed because the food just doesn't run out! Aahhhhhh!!! Also, these cats are in such a public place! I want their numbers to stay very very small, because someone is bound to call animal control and cite some crap about "public nuisance" and "safety/health hazards." I do NOT want that. I want to be able to say that we are keeping the population in check. That we are making TNR the best option out there!!!

Okay, I will stop my ranting and give her a call tomorrow. Night, everyone!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I was wrong...

This black kitty is a female! = ) Guess I'm not that good at telling yet... The vet tech said the area around the eyes looks like fight wounds? Poor kitties.

I set another trap this morning since RIT wasn't successful, but no luck. So this is the 7th kitty from this area - and the third female to have no more babies! Did you hear that kitties??? No more babies! Stop it!
I'm really grateful that the woman that works in the grey building is helping me out. I would definitely not be able to do this without her. It'd be going a lot slower.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Enough with the black cats already!

Black cat, appears to be male, from the bar/photo studio colony. As I've mentioned, there are a lot of black cats here.

And what's with the area around the eyes on some of these cats? Can't be burns, but then what?
This guy will be neutered tomorrow. He was trapped by the woman in the grey building. She has taken seven or eight kittens over the years from this colony. She is so excited to be helping them get spayed and neutered. Since she has her own trap, she's just going to keep trying to get those kittens and call me when an adult inevitably steps in. She has seen at least two black and white kittens, and I know there is another black kitty and a tabby kitty out there as well. So, 4 more kittens at the least.
I may be setting another trap early tomorrow morning if RIT isn't successful with their trapping. I believe they have been trying to get a couple certain cats for a while now - and it's proving to be difficult.
I'm pretty sure this is the cat the woman from the grey building calls "Stud-Muffin." He's a large boy. Look at that head! I guess he's been around for several years and has likely fathered many babies. This picture is actually from last year, but when she mentioned a "stud-muffin," I knew immediately who she was talking about.

I really don't see any of the males until they are trapped. This is the only one I've had the pleasure of photographing in his natural elements. If he's still around, I hope very much to trap him!
I just went through my pictures, and there are definitely at least 3 more black and white females and 2 black females to be trapped. And who knows about the males... There could be 20 more of them for all I know! (Let's hope not!)