Friday, February 26, 2010

Feral Cat Weekend in February

The Venice Cat Coalition brought in 31 plus 10 cats to the Animal Rescue Coalition's February clinic. Theresa got 31, Barb got 10, and the whole clinic was 100 cats... so we did great in terms of numbers. At least 4 of our 41 were pregnant, and the kittens have been humanely aborted. Sad... but that's the protocol for now at the clinics.

We are started in on kitten season.

We also had an emergency call 2 days ago from the Venice Yacht Club, where employees found 4 baby kittens in the attic, and a mother lurking around. Volunteers Mary Donahue and Peg Tomanio did the on the scene rescue, while foster volunteer Deborah Whitman of Shamrock Preschool took the 4 babies home for the night. Potential adopters are lining up for them. But they will not be big enough to go into homes for another 3-4 weeks.

Meanwhile, check out the awesome article Sarasota Herald Tribune columnist Eric Ernst wrote about the ferals and our program today:

Next clinic is the third Sunday in March. In the meantime, we will focus on helping at 2 or more colonies where the new drop trap is needed, and adopting out some of our 10-12 cats and kittens needing homes. Also fund raising. Yes, the cats cost $, so please donate as much as you are able!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Delta Queen Was Not Quite Charming Enough!

Our beautiful 10th Life Rescue cat, Ms. Delta Queen, had an interested family visit her on Saturday.
They spent a lot of time (hers and mine!!) holding her and oohing and aahing over her and the other cats. They said they really wanted a six-toed cat, and Ms. DQ fit the bill, so I invited them to visit and meet her.
She did fairly well, relaxing in the lady's lap and acting about as calm as Ms. DQ can, given the fact that she is a trauma victim and is nervous until she gets to know ya.
I made the mistake (????) of fully disclosing all information about her and her history, and her issues with skin problems... Well, I guess that put them off. They left to talk about it, and called a left a message about 2 hours later, saying they didn't have enough experience with cats to deal with her issues...
I was very disappointed, DQ had no opinion at all about the whole thing.
I want very much for DQ and the other 10th Life kitties (I have 4 left here out of 10 taken) to find good homes. On the other hand, better that it didn't work out at all, than to send her home with them and have problems. They also were in favor of declawing so that was not a good point in their favor.
In any case, DQ has been allowing fosters and potential adopters to interact with her, and this is a step toward a Happy Ending for her... Say a prayer and light a candle.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Walmart argument about Suncoast Humane

Why are some people so angry?
In the cat food aisle of Walmart today, 3 women were pushing carts and one told another, you must have lot of cats, since the lady had a load of food and litter. She said, "I have 40" (maybe it was 20, I just don't recall the exact number but the woman had A LOT, ask me I know what a lot is)...

Anyway, I tried to stay out of it, but the other lady who had made the little comment started telling Mrs. Many Cats about a nice stray orange cat in her yard and what could be done, was she a cat rescue? It was getting cold again, the cat couldn't be brought in "because I already have a cat" etc.

The lady with all the stuff in her basket advised her to bring the cat to Suncoast Humane, where "they never kill any animals. My vet is on their board and they never kill animals there."

I decided at this point to say something, since most of us know that dropping a cat off at Suncoast equates to about an 80% chance of the cat being killed. (Their kill rate in 08 for cats was something like 77% of those taken in killed, according to their application for a grant from the state, which they got.) I spoke up, "Excuse me, they killed more than 2,000 cats there in 08. I wouldn't tell them to take the cat to Suncoast. Take it to St. Francis if you have to take it somewhere."

The lady who likes Suncoast sort of went ballistic at this point, becoming very angry and telling me that I didn't know what I was talking about.

She asked how much I spent on cats last year, and I told her. Then she told me she'd paid her vet $17,000 for her cats, and she asked me how many cats I spayed or neutered. I responded, about 660. This only infuriated her more (she still didn't ask who I was or what group I represent). She just fumed at me, "Mind your own business."

Well, the cats are my business. And they cannot speak for themselves. She huffed out of the aisle. I offered my card to the other women, asking them if they wanted help with their stray cat. At this point, several spectators in the cat section were watching this, mouths agape. The stray cat ladies mumbled no and shuffled out of the aisle.

I went on my way... wondering why this information had infuriated this woman, who obviously loves cats, so quickly. How could she overlook the facts on cat deaths. She had been careful to tell me that Suncoast lets "healthy, adoptable" cats live.

That may be, but this poor abandoned orange cat has a better chance of rehoming himself than going to a shelter (any shelter!) but in particular Suncoast. Look at the thousands of cats turned over to "no kill" shelter Tenth Life in the last 4-5 years. Only 350 made it out alive. Thousands dead.

If education takes place in the aisles of Walmart, so be it!

Please speak up when you hear someone planning something that is harmful to the animals, even if it makes you unpopular. These blessed ones, feral or tame, cannot speak for themselves. We humans have a voice and sometimes we have to use it!


Cat Situation Heating Up at Venice Municipal Trailer Park

We have conducted TNR in 2009 for residents at the Venice Municipal Trailer park on the island of Venice. There is a small number of cats, less than a dozen, in this large, open trailer park community.

Since Christmas, some of the snowbirds who live there for 3 months of the year have trapped cats and called the county's Animal Services to "get rid" of them. We have intervened, attempting to explain TNR and feral cats to those who live and make the rules there.

The situation and outcome are now up in the air. VCC will request meetings to come to a compassionate, agreeable solution that protects the cats and the homeowners.

Meanwhile, the situation has heated up, some of the residents have gotten nasty and verbally abusive, and made false accusations against us. Stay tuned as we remain level-headed and reasonable, and look for a way to protect these harmless felines.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pharmaceutical Problems for the Cat Rescue World

I woke up this morning to email from a feral rescue yahoo chat group confirming earlier reports that one of our essential tools to save tiny kittens, KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement), has been tainted and sold anyway, and killed a lot of kittens and other animals last year. The company has now admitted it.

I have 8 kittens buried in my backyard from the 80-90 little kittens Key West Cat Society took in in 2009, and it makes me wonder whether the KMR I was using (still have a bit of it in the freezer) was bad. Appalling! And here we are on the verge of 2010's kitten season, which will start in about March with a million phone calls asking us to help with newborns that have been found, and what do to about bottle feeding them???

I just ordered a $59 5-lb. sack of bulk KMR, and should I cancel it or what?

Now, this comes on top of:
--a Ketamine recall, which is one of the main drugs used in clinics to anesthetize cats, especially our ferals.
--A manufacturing shortage of Terramycin, a main eye gel used to treat weepy eye, green goopy eye, etc. infections. We nor our vets can get any of this stuff ($12 a tube at cost; $20 or more from your vet) and don't know why or when it will be available again.
--Clavamox is apparently not being made any more and online orders for it are being turned down with a note that it's not available. It has become my own favorite antibiotic for URI, which is severe and nasty in our area this year.

Just wondering, what the heck is going on with the drugs for cats? There seems to be a pattern, but maybe this is all just coincidence.

In any case, I am going to seek some advice from the experts at U-F Gainesville and Cornell U.'s shelter medicine vet education and research programs.

If anyone else has advice or knowledge, please post.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Hooray for Ferals, especially Pinky who lives in my yard

I looked up from my computer tonight to see the feral cat Pinky sitting on the window sill and staring in the window at me and the cats inside. Pinky has lived in our yard for years and has lately been sitting by the front door looking in the screen door and watching the foster kittens play with Diana, my orange tabby (who was a Key West Cat Society rescue last March). When I first moved here we trapped Pinky to check on her medical condition (she has a harelip) and gave it a go at taming her up. She would have none of it, so we returned her to the yard soon after that. She loves her yard, has trained me to feed her at sunup and sundown, and sleeps in the tree at the side of the property. Of late, she has been increasingly interested in the KWCS foster kitten program and the revolving kittens who come and go from my home. -Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Delta Queen

Delta Queen

Miss Delta Queen is a rare beauty who's soft orange tail is graced with soft black almost-stripes that didn't quite make it as rings around her tail. It is a lovely sight to behold as she walks away to see her white body end in the soft orange spotted tail. Her light shaded eyes are mysterious and she will reveal to the special owner who adopts her what she wants you to know. Presently she has a lion's cut which dramatizes her matching ears-to-her-tail face. Her face and tail have remained uncut and long-haired. Oh, did I mention her "Hemmingway" toes? Yes, they are visible under her longish coat, and oh so fuzzy. Miss Delta Queen would thrive as an only kitty because of her royal status. She is one of a kind!
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