Thursday, April 30, 2009

TNR Adventures - #4 Peaches and Kittens

Well, this one sure didn't go as planned! Sorry for not updating for a while, but I've been pretty busy and have had a hard enough time trying to remember to post to my other blog, DogsDeserveFreedom. Unfortunately, this one has taken a back-burner. Sorry. I will try to remember to post more often (especially now we have kittens)

Peaches was #4. She was the first female we caught. Imagine my surprise when we found out she was not only quite friendly but also already pregnant!

Now, you can spay cats that are pregnant if they are at the beginning of their pregnancy and abort the kittens. This was not an option with Peaches. She was too far along. There's a point in every cat pregnancy where the kittens are so far developed that if you spay, then you would have to euthanize the kittens as they came out. We're not in this game to euthanize newborn kittens.

If we were, we'd just euthanize the cats we caught - that would be cheaper, right?

So, now we have this cat and her kittens living in a spare room at our house. She's orange and white. Her kittens are quite cute - two orange and white, one orange tabby, one calico, and two tortiseshells.

She's thin, you can see her bone structure, and she has tapeworms. You can see the tape segments as they're coming out - it's REALLY gross. We have been told that you can de-worm cats when they are lactating, but have found that if you do that then the milk dries up. Since we're not really interested in hand-feeding the kittens, we have opted to wait until the kittens are old enough to eat solids before deworming Peaches.

I'll post pictures as soon as I get them. When the kittens are old enough, we'll find them homes and donate the rehoming fee to the humane society.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rant - Cat Grooming

You know, there are all sorts of people out there and some are asshats. There is a groomer in my area who is one.

Most groomers I have met are great people and animal lovers. They do the job because of their love for animals - not because they want to "make-a-lotta-money". However, there are some who push animals through as fast as possible, and these are the ones to beware of.

The one I am thinking of will take your cat and make all pretenses to be nice to the animal. When you leave, however, her demeanor changes. She doesn't make enough time to work with the animal, so she will put the cat into a crate and dunk it into a soapy water bath. She then opens the crate and rubs the cat quickly to work in some of the soap, then closes it again and dunks it into a plain water bath to rinse off.

The cat is in and out of the crate throughout the appointment for drying and containment. She does brush the cat out ... but that is about it. The entire process takes around 1 hour.

Do you really want your cat to go through this?

Please, when you are looking for a groomer, do your research! Get some references. Do other people send their cats to that person? How do the cats react when they are brought in for grooming?

Use your common sense to choose and don't assume that just because the person is operating a business, they should be trusted with your beloved pet.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Trapping 101 - Don't leave the trap outside

So I'm new. Ok. I admit it. Haven't had much training trapping ferals and am sort of flying by the seat of my pants. I learned an important lesson this week; don't leave the trap outside unattended.

I haven't had any problems leaving it in barns, sheds or garages overnight, but do NOT leave it outside in plain view and open to the elements. There are a few reasons for this.

1. If it rains the cat doesn't have any shelter and it will get wet ... that sucks and is not fair for the cat. Do you know how ornery a wet cat is? A cat will go from a 3 on the scale to a 9 in 5 seconds flat.

2. Sometimes you will catch something OTHER than a cat ... that sucks even more than a wet cat. Then you have to figure out what to do about it! (please refer to my earlier entry about trapping the striped ones)

3. If the cat is super feral and it is strong enough to roll the cage itself, you may have a long search to find the trap ... a great waste of time. (Try at the bottom of the hill first.)

4. If some human comes along and finds the trap with a cat in it, you may find it missing the next day. (Call canine control - they may have received a call about this) This is where you will start panicking.

5. If a human finds the trap and you're lucky, the cat was released unharmed and the trap taken. Usually this results in a call to the humane society (or equivalent organization you're TNRing for) where you get to explain to them how this happened. This also sucks and may result in people looking down their nose at you; never a good thing.

6. If you're not lucky and a human finds the trap, the cat may be subject to any number of terrible things including kicking, rolling of the trap; drowning the cat; shooting the cat; etc. This is worst case scenario - I have been told about it but have never witnessed it myself.

In short - don't leave the trap outside unattended. There are too many possibilities and consequences.

Friday, April 3, 2009

What is it? Stray or Feral?

I don't know how many times I've heard about a "Feral" cat that needs to be trapped only to get there and find out that it is simply another stray. So, I thought I'd post a little entry about this.

Is the cat Stray or Feral?

A "Stray cat" generally means one that doesn't live in someone's home. It lives on the streets, fends for itself, often finding someone who will feed it or other food source and so returns to that person/source regularly.

Wikipedia defines a "Stray cat" as the following:
A stray cat (or alley cat), though unowned, still exhibits temperament similar to that of a pet

A "Feral cat" is defined as one that is not friendly to people and is "wild". Wikipedia defines it as the following:

A feral organism is one that has escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to its wild state. Feral cats are born in the wild and may take a long time to socialize or may be abandoned or lost pets that have become wild.


If you walk into an area where you know there are cats and you are able to walk up to one of those cats without it running away, it is a Stray.

If you set a live animal trap and catch a cat who tries to bolt away from you so quickly that the entire trap moves, it is probably Feral.


Stray cats can be Feral, but that doesn't mean that all Stray cats are.

Feral cats are mostly Strays but most Strays are not Feral.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TNR Adventures - #3 Pepper and ... Knight?

Another day another neuter, right? Here we go again. The following cat was the last one we did from our property.

Cat #3 came along ... a 12 lbs black and white DSH guy. The clinic named him Pepper (yeah, I know, not very original, but what can you do?). He was rated at a 6 on the feral scale. Another intact male. No microchip. He was easier to work with than cat #1 (Knight), but not by much. At least he didn't leave as many scratches as Knight did!

Note to self - make sure you always have long sleeves and gloves on when handling strays and ferals ...

He was neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. He stayed with us for two days post surgery to allow him time to recuperate. I know many people push that it's not "major surgery", but I really think it is.

I mean, come on, they're removing his testicles ... how can that NOT be major surgery? Those same people who say it's not a major surgery keep telling me that I really only have to keep the cat overnight (if at all) before rereleasing. I just can't bring myself to this. I continue to keep them for a few days to ensure they are eating and defecating ok before taking them back to the wild unknown.

Anyway, we tried for cat #4, but kept catching Knight (Cat #1)! We did have another cat in mind, but that one doesn't seem to want to cooperate. After the third night in a row finding Knight in the trap, we decided that if the other cat doesn't want to get caught, he won't be. We didn't do too poorly with the ones we have here. It will be time to do the process again in our barns soon enough.

Time to move on to the next colony. Adventure awaits!

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