The summer months are always kitten season.
The concept of spay-and-neuter is a relatively recent one – but one that is vital to the management of a feral cat problem. Those of us who grew up in an agricultural community will remember that cats were mostly kept as pest control; we may have played with barn cats, even tamed some of them, but the majority lived hard short lives. There was often a similar mindset in an urban community: let your cats out and they’ll deal with the rats and mice.
But those of us who love our pets know that the hard short life is a factor for a cat in the big outdoors. Even when the cat has a loving home, the outside world holds many potentials for injury or death: traffic, coyotes or other predators, other cats and contact with feline leukemia and FIV, poison, people who don’t like cats… the list goes on. When RAPS adopts cats out, the agreement to keep your cat indoors is an important part of the contract.
Inevitably, there are feral cats. Not far away from the Sanctuary is a green belt where assorted wildlife can always be found. Cats may be born feral, or be strays, but it doesn’t take long to grow a colony.
Leslie Landa, senior med staff at the Sanctuary, wrote
There once was a kind woman who loved feeding raccoons and squirrels on her big, overgrown property. One day a cat showed up, so she fed that, too. Before long, there were more and more cats coming for dinner and the woman loved them all. Soon, she was dumping entire bags of kibble on the ground and all the critters were well-fed and happy. Unfortunately, the time came when the kind woman could no longer live on the property and had to sell it. She was very worried about all the kitties she had created in just 2 years, so she finally called RAPS for help…
Over the course of three weeks, Leslie, Louise and other helpers captured 35 semi-feral cats – mostly kittens, though there were also pregnant females. We think there are several more still on the loose. The older cats had a short cage-stay and were then moved to create their own colony in Pen 6; a couple of the males were FIV+ and ended up in the Val Jones pen. Very young kittens went into fosterage where they could be bottle-fed if necessary.
The 5 Road Shelter was already full of kittens from the usual summer influx. The “Kitten Room” attached to the Moore House was home to a group of feline teenagers, getting used to being handled. So we had to break our usual rule and bring a batch of kittens into the Single-Wide.
Most of them have names from Roman and Greek mythology. Theirs became a no-entry cage, handled only by the med staff, and with no access to the general population; because the older cats live together they have developed decent immune systems, but the young ones are still fragile.
Now that they’re old enough, we’re getting the word out about an adoption event (by appointment) this weekend (Oct 19 2019); any kittens not adopted will probably have to stay with us until there is more room at the Shelter. For adoption information, check HERE
How we wish more people would call us to fix their stray cats before kitten season!
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Leslie Landa, Lisa Parker, Michele Wright