TNR

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Hi efurryone! I’m Sky! I would like to tell you about National Feral Cat Day (October 16). I will tell you about it, by telling you my story, and the story of my parents, Mama Rose and Daddy.

Last year, my brothers and sister and I were born to Mama Rose. We don’t know exactly when, but it was probably in July 2010. When we got big enough, Mama started bringing us to visit the back yard at Casa de Furry Bambinos. Mama was young, probably less than a year old herself. Our Human Mom and Dad began feeding us in a special cafeteria.

One day, the cafeteria door closed behind us while we were eating! We were trapped! That’s my brother Rusty and sister Marigold (now Mia).

Our Humans kept us in cages in the garage at first. Every day they fed us, scooped our boxes, and tried to cuddle and hold us. They gave us Baby Food as a reward for cuddling with them. That’s Sunny and me (Sky) huddling and trying to hide in our cage. Back then, Sunny was known as Mr. Wild Child, and I was Mr. Hissy.

Then one day we were all put into PTU’s, and taken to the Cleveland APL for our hoohaectomies and ladygardenectomies.

This is Woody, Hunter, and Sunny in the PTU. (Note the airplane ears and scared little faces.)

Soon after that, my sister and brothers and I moved into the Dormitory at Furry Bambino Foster Academy (Kitten Foster Room). That’s me on the right, hissing at Woody and Hunter. I was kind of crabiliated back then.

Mama was released to the Outside.

Our Human Mom and Dad feed her every day.

Recently, Mama has started TALKING to our Human Dad!!!  For those of you who know something about feral cats, you know that this is HUGE!!! And yesterday, for the First Time Ever, Mama said Hello to our Human Mom!!!

Per usual, our Biological Daddy was never part of our little family. He planted his seeds and left the scene. Our Humans saw him from time to time in the neighborhood.

My brother Woody and I look  A LOT like our Kitteh Daddy, which is why our Human Mom was convinced that Daddy was: a) A Male Cat, and b) Our Biological Daddy.

Then this summer, Daddy started showing up every day …

… to nom on Mama’s foods on the porch. Do you see Mama in the photo, too? She’s waiting for Daddy to finish eating. She always lets him eat first.

Our Humans got a Cafeteria (trap) and after some resistance on his part, trapped Daddy in July. He got his hoohaectomy at the Cleveland APL, and was released that night.

Now Mama shows up just about every day, and Daddy shows up often. Mama spent most sunny summer afternoons napping on the porch here at Casa de Furry Bambinos.

To celebrate National Feral Cat Day, our Human Mom is shopping online for some better ideas for winter shelter for Mama and/or Daddy. Our Human Parents are discussing the best way to keep Our Biological Parents safe this winter.

This Just In: Please if you could spare some purrs and purrayers, our Dear Friend Perfectly Parker and her family could use some.

And, while you are purring, please send some purrs for Carol, a Very Kind Human who is the volunteer coordinator for PAWS, the animal rescue group for which Mom and Dad volunteer. Carol is in the hospital right now after a terrible fall, and she and her family could really use all the purrs and purrayers you can muster.

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::Tap tap tap::

Ahem, is this thing on? Oh hai! My name is Sunny. I used to be known as Mr. Wild Child when I first came to live here. I was scared and didn’t know if I could trust The Lady and The Man, so I hid in my Pink ManKitten Cave a lot.

Now I am Sunny, the Former Mr. Wild Child.

My Kitteh Mommy is Mama Rose.

I don’t know for sure who my Kitteh Daddy is – but we have seen a grey/brown striped kitteh hanging out in the yard, so we think that is him. (Mom’s Edit: We don’t know for sure if “Daddy” a boy, but I just have this feeling. Woody – one of Mama’s babies, and Sunny and Sky’s brother, looks SO MUCH like “Daddy”. We will be doing TNR – “Daddy” has a neuter appointment at the Cleveland APL in July.)

My Real Daddy is Daddy.

Isn’t he great?

He has a very comfortable lap.

He really does.

Sometimes we watch the talking picture box together. He likes it when I sit on his lap and purr.

Happy Daddy’s Day to all you Daddies out there!

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Mom here. The Furry Bambinos have graciously allowed me to borrow their blog to tell you the story of trapping a colony of 15 feral cats in a local neighborhood. When I left off last time, all 15 cats had been trapped, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated.

The first night we trapped 7 cats on Sunday May 15. They had surgery on Monday, May 16, and recovered overnight in my friend Diane’s Mom’s garage. That night, Monday, May 16, we trapped 5 more cats. Their surgery was on Tuesday, May 17. The last three cats were trapped on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning.

To make things “less complicated”, Diane’s Mom wanted to trap all the cats before releasing any of them so we wouldn’t have to figure out who was who. The problem with this plan was that the feral cats were returned after surgery in cat carriers, with the idea of being released very soon, not in a day or two. So Diane’s Mom cleaned the cat carriers and transferred the cats from a used carrier to a clean one.

One of the feral cats got loose in the garage during one of the transfers.

On Wednesday night, instead of releasing the first 12 cats back into their home territory, we had 11. Believe me, we tried to convince the missing cat to join his brethren for the Big Return. We searched all over the garage (which I have to say, is the CLEANEST garage I have ever seen), but there was no sign of him. So I suggested that he *might* be inside Diane’s sister’s car which was parked in the garage.

Sure enough, there he was, sitting on the engine block. He was so startled to see us, and we were so startled to see him, that we all froze for an instant. Before I could scruff him, he disappeared down into the engine. I donned a pair of gardening gloves, and reached in, trying to scruff the guy. He was so bony and at a weird angle, that all I could feel was his shoulder blades.

And then I felt his teeth, when he turned around and bit me.

OK then. Plan Q: we would set a trap for him and hope he would be hungry enough to get trapped again so we could return him back home. We waited around awhile, but he was not budging from the innards of the car.

We loaded up the other 11 cats in our cars and headed back to their home. Of course, it was cold, windy, and it started raining as soon as we stepped out of the cars with the cats. We carried the cats into the back yard (squish squish squish through the muddy grass), and set the carriers down on the patio.

We unlatched the doors, and swung them wide open.

Free at last!

Free at last!

All but one of the cats shot out and took off headed back to safety of their thicket of shrubs. David carried that carrier closer to the thicket and then the cat sped out and joined his buds. Diane’s Mom returned the other four kittehs to their home a few days later, including Engine Kitty, who did get trapped overnight inside the garage.

Despite all the logistics, the cold, the rain, the dark, and the exhaustion, it felt so good to know that these cats will not be reproducing. They will be healthier, and will no longer contribute to the population of cats in the area.

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Mom here, again. The Furry Bambinos graciously allowed me to borrow their blog to tell you this story. When I left off last time, what we had been told were “six or eight friendly kittens” turned out to be at least eleven adult feral cats in need of TNR before they started reproducing. TNR stands for “Trap Neuter Return” which is the best solution to manage the population of a colony of feral cats.

After much discussion regarding logistics, we borrowed eight humane traps from the Cleveland APL, and returned the following Sunday evening at 6:00 with more Stinky Goodness. It was raining, windy, and cold. The newspapers we used to line the traps kept getting blown around, and some of the traps were so sensitive that just picking them up would trigger them to close. Not optimal trapping conditions, to say the least. We set out the traps, and returned to our cars to wait. Nothing. So we left to grab dinner, dejected that we would catch any cats that night.

We returned an hour later to find four cats in traps! Woo-hoo!

We covered each trap with a towel, and instantly the cat inside quieted down. We transferred the trapped cats to our cars to keep warm and dry. After moving the remaining traps to different locations, we were able to trap three more cats before it got too dark to see what we were doing. We were pleased to have caught seven feral cats, but we counted at least five more, including a few clever ones who managed to eat the food without stepping on the trigger.

We brought the cats in the traps back to Diane’s Mom’s house, where we set them in the garage overnight.

Here are photos of the cats we trapped that night. Kitteh #1 is a long-haired orange and white male (I think). Orange cats are usually male.

Kitteh #2 looked to be a Siamese flame point mix.

Kitteh #3 is an orange tabby with some white on his chest.

Kitteh #4 is a long-haired brown tabby with white bib.

Kitteh #5 is a long-hair dilute calico female.

Kitteh #6 is a black, gold, and white calico female. Do you see two other sets of glowing eyes in this photo?

Kitteh #7 is a different orange tabby male.

We returned Monday night, May 16 (Panda Bear and Meerkat’s birthday) with five more traps, and with a nifty Drop Trap as well. Again, it was cold, raining, and windy, making trapping conditions less than optimal. The ground was saturated after weeks of rain, so there was a lot of squish squish squish through muddy grass.

I now have a new definition for Insanity: Standing in the bushes, in the dark, in the rain, holding the pull cord to the Drop Trap, and trying to trap a solid black cat! We gave up trying to trap the black cat in the dark, but did manage to trap five others. But we saw at least three more cats, including “Blackie”, the solid black cat with a noticeable limp.

Diane’s Mom and her friend were able to catch the last (we hope) three cats, and all have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped. Ear tipping is the universal symbol that a feral cat has been neutered and vaccinated. It is done while the cat is under anesthesia. It is done so that if they get trapped again, they won’t go in for surgery because the ear tip will indicate that they have already been neutered and vaccinated.

We were worried that Blackie might be euthanized due to his limp, but the APL did not note anything wrong with the paw. We had implored the APL staff to let Blackie live, since the property is on a quiet dead-end side street. So either Diane’s Mom caught a different black cat (not Blackie with the limp) or Blackie’s limp was not due to a fracture. We’ll never really know.

Next, releasing feral cats back in their home territory!

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Mom here. The Furry Bambinos graciously allowed me to borrow their blog for this post. As regular readers know, my husband and I volunteer for a local animal rescue group called PAWS (Public Animal Welfare Society). We foster kittens, I screen applicants for cat and kitten adoptions, my husband does transports locally taking cats and dogs to and from appointments, etc.

Now, we can also say that we have experience trapping a colony of feral cats.

It all started when my friend and co-worker Diane (name changed to protect the innocent) told me that her Mom was visiting a friend, and that there were “about six or eight friendly kittens” living outside the friend’s house. Diane’s Mom thought the kittens might be 2 to 3 months old. So Diane told her mom about me and PAWS.  I checked with PAWS if it was OK for me to “harvest the kittens” (as we say), and was given the OK and eight appointments for spay/neuter at the Cleveland APL.

On a warm sunny afternoon after work, Diane and I went over to the location to assess the situation. We were armed with the smelliest Stinky Goodness they make (Flaked Fish and Shrimp Feast, in case you were wondering), plates, water, dishes, surrender forms, and cat carriers. We were prepared to collect “friendly kittens” should they present themselves for collecting. We set up on the patio, and as Diane described it, “an army of cats” began appearing from the bushes once we opened the cans of Stinky Goodness.

It’s hard to estimate the age of a cat, especially when you can’t get close enough to hold and examine him or her. By my best guess, the youngest of the felines were in the 10-month age range. And all were skittish and afraid of us – feral. We counted at least eleven – possibly more – adult feral cats.

The difference between a stray cat and a feral cat is how they feel about humans. Stray cats are homeless cats who would make good companion cats for people. They like and trust people, and will let you pet them if you encounter them outside. Feral cats are not homeless – their home is the Great Outdoors, however inclement the weather or climate may be. However, they have not been socialized to trust people, and are therefore afraid of humans.

If a kitten is not socialized with lots of human contact early in life, they will grow up feral. There is debate as to what the critical age is, but from my experience, I would put it at 3 months. Which is not to say that an older feral kitten or cat cannot learn to trust people, but it will take MUCH MUCH longer, and A LOT of work. For more information about feral cats, please see Alley Cat Allies web site.

So, our hopes of harvesting young trusting kittens were scrapped – replaced by a TNR situation to get this cat population under control. It’s Kitten Season, after all, and by the looks of a few of the cats, some might already be pregnant. We needed to move fast to trap these cats before they started reproducing!

Tune in next time to find out if we were able to catch any of the feral cats!

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hi effuryone! it is me, Meerkat, the birthday girl. My biological brother Panda Bear and i are celebrating our 4th birthday today! efurryone is welcome to join us for a casual celebration.

mom says that for every real (not spam) comment on this post that we receive between now and next Sunday May 22, she will make a donation of $0.50 to the Cleveland Animal Protective League (APL). in addition to having a shelter, they also provide low cost apsy/neuter services, and help communities with TNR (trap – neuter – return). last night, mom and dad and a friend from mommy’s work did the T part of TNR and trapped 7 feral cats. dad is taking them to the APL for their hoohaectomies and ladygardenectomies (the N part of TNR).

thanks for visiting! enjoy the festivities! purrs!