Purrfect Cat Rescue

Learn about our TNR program on the CATSNIP Colony - a colony of over 30 cats that need to be spayed and neutered.

March 11, 2008

RIP Queen Isabella

I'm one of those people that generally doesn't have an edit function when words are coming out of their mouths. I tend to say what I mean and mean what I say. I don't have a lot of patience for what I think are stupid excuses - no matter what the subject. I realize that "stupid excuses" is purely subjective, but that's okay. I'm entitled to my opinion right?

Anyway... last Wednesday I was at a class for work (you know that real job where you go to get a paycheck to pay for all your crazy rescue work - yeah that place). On a break, I talked to our feral cat coordinator who was fostering Queen Isabella - formerly Miss Psycho out of our CATSNIP colony. Miss Queen Isabella wasn't feeling her normal self and based on all the symptoms R told me about, I was pretty confident we were dealing with FIP. Anyone in the cat rescue business knows that FIP is a death sentence. Either today or soon down the line.

All I could do was be her person to lean on and to cry to. She took Queen Isabella into the vet that afternoon, and sure enough they were able to draw 3 full syringes of that nasty yellow fluid. Queen Isabella was painlessly helped over the Rainbow Bridge.

Now we know that she was a dump job. She'd already been spayed, and had recently been vetted. R took her to all the local vets hoping one of them would recognize her and *maybe* reunite her with her owner(s). No such luck. At first I was mad, REALLY mad. How could you just dump such a sweet cat. I'll never understand people that treat their cats like property or disposable "things". My cats are my family. There are days that I agonize over whether or not I'm doing right by them by continuing to foster.

But then... then I began to think about the type of person that would dump their cat. And then I wanted to thank her owners. Thank them for dumping her, so that we could trap her, take her in, and that R could show her TRUE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. That's what she had at R's house. She was taken care of, pampered, loved, and treated like a queen. For all we know, that was the best she ever got in life.

It was a tough day for R, she wears her heart on her sleeve. That's what makes her so good at what she does. You can tell just by talking to her that she is passionate about her work. (Remember me, I DON'T do ferals). It was really hard on her to put Queen Isabella down. But at least she was loved for a while. With no conditions on it. With no time limit. With no way that she was going to end up back outside.

Later that day I stopped by our Pres's house. There was this AWESOME note and a donation. To me, any donation is golden. It can be $5 it can be $500. It doesn't matter. We are so grateful for what we get. But this letter... this letter just made everything seem so good. It was from a friend of a lady that S had referred to R. R helped the lady get some ferals fixed. The lady called R an "angel" and sent a donation to help with what we do. She went on to talk about how they'd lost 4 of their companion cats in the last 9 months. I cried for her - what a tough year they'd had! But I knew I had to call R and read her the note - so she could remember what it is she's doing, and not feel so bad about the one that was lost. Queen Isabella was shown love in her final days. Maybe more love than she'd ever known.

R was so glad to hear that letter. I think it helped to make up for the sense of loss with Queen Isabella.

One of my foster is crying at me that it's time to go snuggle, so I need to run. Say a prayer for sweet Queen Isabella and her Rainbow Bridge crossing. Sometimes, that's all we can do for them.

Godspeed Queen Isabella. If it was your time to go, at least I take solace in the fact that it was R who was your foster mom and that you were well taken care of and loved unconditionally.

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February 19, 2008

Entering the Home Stretch

I'm pretty sure we're entering the home stretch here. We've officially TNR'd 25 cats out of the colony, and pulled another 3 for socialization and adoption.

Miss Psycho was our first pull, and well, you know what? She turned out to not be so psycho after all. Her new name is Queen Isabella, as she somehow believes she has come from royalty the way she saunters around her foster home, and lays around expecting to be hand fed greenies and fanned when she gets too warm.
Luckily for her, her foster mom seems highly amused by these delusions of grandeur.

Our next candidate for adoption was the beautiful Charro. She was snatched up her first week being up for adoption. How could anyone resist this beautiful face? Her and her sister were trapped at the same time, (okay we didn't do actual DNA testing to confirm the genetic link, but they looked like twins) but the sister would rather have eaten you than let you pet her. Very strange. Charro on the other hand from the get go wanted to be in your lap, wanted her belly rubbed, wanted to snuggle. She's going to make her new family very happy!

Lastly is the FluffMuffin. She's still in foster care being a little more socialized, but man is she beautiful! Tons and tons of fur just waiting to be snuggled! I'm glad that we're coming up on the end of this project, as it means we'll be turning the ongoing care of it over to someone else, so that we can focus on our next project.

We've managed to raise a little more money - hopefully enough to finish speutering everyone still out there. We know there are still a few, because we're keeping track of who we've seen versus who we've fixed. There's still a few more of those white kitties with the grey smudges on their heads out there trying to keep from getting trapped. Never fear, we shall overcome. The good news is that we started early, and so far only 2 of the females have been pregnant when they went in to be spayed. That's great news, as we are preventing so many litters from this colony forever!

January 14, 2008

Out on the Street

As of today we have now trapped, neutered, and returned 19 cats to the CatSNIP colony. Well technically 18, since Miss Psycho has her own story. She is the apparent victim of a dump job by her former owners - and I use the term loosely. She was already spayed, and had recently (as in her hair is still growing back) been shaved on her leg where she was treated for an abscess. Now she's out in the cold, alone, and attempting to integrate into this colony where at least she will be well fed.

She was trapped last night, and taken in this morning to be spayed. The vet treated another abscess on her back, put her on antibiotics for 7 days, treated her for tapeworms, and notified us that she was already spayed. While at the moment all she seems content to do is to be scratched at through the cage, and then caterwaul at you like you're killing her, it's entirely possible that after 7 days on antibiotics that she will prove to be an incredibly friendly cat and we'll adopt her out. I only call her Miss Psycho because she's struck my heart, and therefore deserves a name. She's quite funny as she's rubbing herself all up against the cage to be loved, all the while growling and hissing, and yowling.

She's a perfect example of a cat dumped by owners-gone-bad. Thinking that their "pet" will survive out in the world with no problems. Never once considering that this pet has spent all of its life indoors, not having to hunt for food, not having to defend itself against other cats or other predators. Unfortunately for us, she wasn't microchipped. So there's no way for us to find out who dumped her to fend for herself. Her best chance is if she proves to be a sweet friendly cat once we get her healthy. If so, we will find her a new forever home, where she will be able to spend the rest of her days with a family that truly cherishes her.

We have passed what we assume to be the halfway point for this colony, however our funds are now depleted for the surgical costs. We'll put a plea out to our donor base and make sure we raise the funds to complete the altering of the entire colony before it gets warmer and any remaining females go into heat.

We also think that someone else is feeding this colony. We're trying to find a way to contact that person to see if they would take over the ongoing management for us once we've completed all the surgeries. We've left a brochure and a business card with a note to call, but so far no response.

Tomorrow morning the boys will be returned to the colony to spend their days lounging around but no longer procreating. The two tabby girls need another day or so before being released, and Miss Psycho has an all expenses paid vacation at the spa for another 7 days. Here's hoping she isn't so psycho after all!

December 14, 2007

Project CATSNIP! gets off the ground

Our running joke in rescue is that we do this for the big bucks. Everyone truly in rescue knows what a BIG running joke that is.

So our feral cat coordinator calls me Wednesday night and tells me this story of how she managed to stumble upon a feral colony the week before. Well it's a little more involved than that, but that's the gist. Her first visit counted 22 cats/kittens. With a little help from a concerned citizen, 6 of the cats have already been trapped, spayed/neutered and released.

I don't do ferals. I don't have the patience. But we all have our gifts, so I promised to give it my best shot and put together a program for her. That's one of my strong suits - problem solving. Give me a problem and I can generally find a way to start a systematic approach to fixing it and delegating lots of people to help us. It's how our feral cat program got started. When we first started PCR, we'd come from a group that didn't really do ferals and some of our volunteers were doing a lot of work with ferals. It made sense to combine our knowledge, resources, and manpower. So I gave her a program, hosted a fundraiser, gave her a sustainable budget, and off she went. Like I said, I don't do ferals. She does. That's why she's in charge of the program and I just make them up.

As a group, we don't have the resources to do TNR on a colony this large, and most private citizens don't have the financing to do it. So Project CATSNIP! came to be. The goal is to fund a community program where feral colonies can be systematically managed by a trained caretaker, with financial and moral support.

We sat on the phone for about 30 minutes playing with names, acronyms, cutesy phrases etc. Everyone who knows me personally knows that my favorite rescue word is speuter, a totally made up word that's a combination of spay and neuter - you don't "fix" cats, they aren't broken. Alter and sterilize just sound silly, so I like speuter. Sponsor a speuter was born, and I wanted something to do with feeding and the word colony. My poor brain wasn't coming up with anything. I also need a whole project title, and I liked catsnip - the whole word play with catnip, and snip (sending my fosters in to be snip snipped is another of my fun phrases). I needed something for "A" and "I" so I turned to one of my greatest resources - Craigslist! Within another hour, I had my A, my I, the Colony Chuckwagon, and a covered wagon logo to boot. I love those CLers. I called my feral cat coordinator back and sent her the logo. She loved it, and the name, and everything about it. (It's not only her job to be the feral cat coordinator but to love all of my ideas!)

Within 48 hours of having a catchy name, and 2 funding options, she's already run around showing off the logo and explaining the program. When I saw her tonight, she had 2 $100 donations already - and an update: Today's count was 30 cats. So we have a lot of work to do. But it's a good time of year to start - before kitten season. I don't even have the website finished yet and she's raising money already!

We ask that you join us on this journey, and learn what it really means to systematically do TNR on a colony, and then manage that colony. Read the blogs, watch the videos, and see the photos. TNR and feral cat management has to be 50% work and 50% education, in order for us to stop the needless killing of cats. When we're done with this project and if it is successful, we will have the opportunity to take on another colony, and another after that.

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