Tag Archives: Trap-Neuter-Return

The Cat Purrse

 

We have created a new fundraising Facebook page, The Cat Purrse, to enable our volunteers to raise money online for our various TNR community funds. Each month, we will offer a new fundraiser for a specific area. Please follow (and share) the page and help us to raise much needed funds!

Our first fundraiser is a photo competition taking place this month for the West Waterford TNR fund. Entries will be accepted until the 28th of March. Check out the great submissions we have received so far!

 

Tom or Harry? It’s Your Choice!

In memory of all the tom cats for whom we were too late…

“Hi guys! My name is Tom! I was a cute little thing when I was a kitten, well, that’s what the humans used to say. I wouldn’t let them touch me though. I would do like my mother and run away when they would approach and would only come back to eat the food they put down for us.

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Then I grew up and I started to get interested in girls, so I hit the road looking for some. Oh boy! These were the good times! Always on the road going from place to place to meet the girls. Sometimes, the humans would be nice and throw me a bit of chicken, but often they would just chase me with a broom, screaming ‘dirty tom’. It’s not my fault if I sprayed a little, I had to mark my territory for other cats. I used to love visiting the farm: there were plenty of girls and I would drink that nice white liquid; it tasted so good! But I wouldn’t stay for too long and would keep travelling. I didn’t even have time to go hunting during the summers; I was a busy boy! I got into some pretty bad fights though. We all wanted the same girls, so we had to fight for them. Sometimes I’d lose, sometimes I’d win, especially when fighting with the sick cats, they weren’t very strong and would quickly give up, but I got some bad bites. At the end of the summers, I would be exhausted and hungry from all the travelling. So I would just visit all my favourite spots to get some food and rest, and play with the mice a little. But as soon as it would get warmer and the days would get longer, I was off again! Back on the road!

11 09 01 Wild cat web

Then, one winter, I caught a bad cold. Usually, it would go away with food and rest, but I wasn’t very hungry. When the days got warmer, I started travelling again, but I was weak and didn’t have the energy anymore. I found a nice garden with some shelter and I sat there as I was in so much pain. The woman of the house started to give me all types of food, it smelled nice and I would eat a little, but it hurt my teeth and my throat. I could hear her say ‘skin and bones’ all the time.

One day, another woman came with some strange box with bars on it. She put a lot of nice smelly food in it, but I couldn’t eat. Then she poured some of the sweet white liquid we had at the farm, except that it came from a bottle. I forced myself to stand up to have a bit of that as it reminded me so much of the good old days. When I went in the box, I heard a noise. I turned around, but I couldn’t get out. When the woman approached, I tried to fight but didn’t have the energy. And then it was dark and I calmed down.

Cloyne_Chapel st_Little Tom c_11 12 17

The box moved and me with it. Then I heard the strange noise moving objects make. Next thing, there were other faces looking at me; I heard them say ‘Poor boy!’. I felt something stinging me and I dozed off. I could hear their voices though, words like ‘disease’, ’emaciated’, ‘not grooming’, ‘virus’, ‘aids’. Then the girl with the box was back. She started to rub my head. It was strange, I had never been touched by a human before, but I didn’t care. She was saying that it would be ok, that I wouldn’t be suffering anymore and that I would go to a better place (maybe she meant the farm?). I felt a prick and some tingling in my veins. Then, I couldn’t see the faces anymore, I couldn’t hear their voices and the pain was gone…”

***

“Hi folks! My name is Harry! I’m Tom’s cousin. I was like Tom when I was young, always running after the girls. I guess I was luckier than him though as I found a nice garden. The woman of the house would always give me some nice tasty food and would call me ‘handsome’. There were some girls there too, but they had no interest in me. Oh, it was ok, I would wander to look for others, but I would always come back to the garden with nice food, where I could have a snooze too.

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One day, a woman came, she had a box made of bars. She put some food in it. I went to check, but I wasn’t that hungry that I would go in that strange box. Then she put another box out, with more food. It was bigger and I started to feel hungry, so I went in. I heard something slamming. When the woman approached, I tried to run away, but I couldn’t escape. Then it got dark and I heard the noise moving objects make.

Next thing, I could hear new voices and I felt something stinging me. I went off to sleep. When I woke up, I was feeling really strange, a bit groggy and as if something was missing. I saw the face of the woman with the box and again we were in the moving object. When it stopped, it felt very familiar around me. The light came back and I could recognise the garden I liked so much. I ran away, but when the woman with the box was gone, I came back for some nice food. Tasty!

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I went looking for the girls again, but it wasn’t the same, so I lost interest and decided to stay in the garden with nice food. I would lie in the warm sun and if it rained I had a little house where I could stay dry. To pass the time, I would play with the mice. The woman of the house would bring me food a few times a day and I loved it, so I started to run towards her and would rub against her legs. One day, she moved her hand towards me and touched my head. It felt really strange. She kept doing it and eventually I got used to it and I even started to like it. Poor old Tom, he had such a rough life! It’s a pity he didn’t find a nice garden like mine!”

Don’t ignore tom cats; give them a chance to have a good life by having them neutered. By having tom cats neutered, you are reducing the spread of diseases and viruses, such as FIV (feline AIDS) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia). Neutered tom cats will live longer and are less likely to roam, fight and spray.

Feral Cats in the Spotlight – 96fm Interview

As part of National Feral Cats Awareness Week, two of our main volunteers were interviewed on Cork’s 96fm Opinion Line to discuss feral cats and the importance of neutering. You can listen to the podcast (at 1:46).

Happy New Year from CCN

We would like to wish a happy new year to all of our supporters!

2014 has been a difficult year as we have come across many difficult cases and ill cats that needed to be euthanised.  Also, at the back of our minds are all the cats that we weren’t able to help, because of the lack of cooperation of some carers.  However, at the eve of the new year, we must look at the positive side of the work we do: all the cats we were able to help one way or another, all the good carers we have met, who were willing to take responsibility or put in the effort to make a project happen.

This year, we helped 755 cats and in December we reached the milestone of 2000 cats helped (in 2 and half years of existence).  This means that so much suffering has been prevented thanks to our TNR programme and the support and encouragements we receive from all of you.

It is not always easy and can be emotionally damaging and often we have thought to give it up.  Yet, we keep going and are already getting ready for another busy year.  Why?  Because we think that all cats are purrfect!

Enjoy the video and happy new year!

How do we carry out a Trap-Neuter-Return project.

The first contact comes from a multi-faceted approach ranging from telephone calls, emails, website, Facebook or direct contact from vets.

Oral contact with the carer:

  • We telephone the carer to establish what physical condition the colony is in.
  • Establish if any cat or kitten needs emergency care and arrange it immediately.
  • Estimate how many cats and kittens are there.
  • Estimate how old are the kittens
  • Establish how often and what time the cats are being fed and if there are other feeders .
  • If the colony is in good health we post or email you an assessment form

https://communitycatsnetwork.wordpress.com/information/tnr/

 

Arranging the colony assessment:

 

  • The carer fills the assessment form on site or has sent it back to us.
  • We arrive on site at feeding time to visually assess the colony.
  • We discuss the financial cost of the neutering with the carer.
  • We explain the trapping procedure.
  • We arrange a trapping date with the carer.

 

farms cats photo

 

Arranging the neutering and veterinary care:

  • The CCN welfare officer makes contact with the nearest  partner vet to the colony to arrange a time and date for the neutering.
  • The physical health of the colony is discussed with the vet or the veterinary nurse.
  • Extra treatment will be discussed when the vet has assessed the cats in surgery.

 

The trapping:

 

  • Depending on the number of cats to be trapped the Community Cats Network welfare officer decides what traps and cages to bring.
  • The CCN welfare officer arrives 30 minutes before feeding time to set up the traps.
  • The cats are trapped humanely and transferred into feral cat handling cages.
  • The carer signs the Community Cats Network consent form.
  • Depending on the time when trapped and availability of vets, the cats are either taken straight to the vets or held overnight to be taken to the vets the following morning.
  • If the cats are held overnight they are transferred into humane comfortable cages with food water and litter for the cats’ comfort and welfare.

hospital cage completed

          Hospitalisation cage in the opened position to show the                   bedding & feeding area.

 

 

Veterinary treatment and neutering:

  • The CCN welfare officer transfers the cats back into the transport cages and bring them to the allocated vets.
  • The transport cages have information on each cage pertaining to that specific cat. The veterinary nurse or vet will complete the forms once the surgery  has been completed.
  • In the veterinary surgery the feral cats are transferred into a cat restrainer cage to make it safer for the veterinary practice to sedate the cat and cause less stress on the cat.
  • Once the sedative has taken effect the cat is taken out of the cage and given a full health check. The cat’s mouth, ears, teeth, eyes, legs, pads and body are checked for any anomalies or abnormalities.
  • If any abnormalities are found the CCN welfare officer is contacted immediately by the vet to discuss further actions.
  • If everything is normal the surgery continues
  • Female cats will be spayed on the left flank – this is always the left hand side of the body. It provides faster access to the organs being removed. The female will have her uterus and ovaries removed to fully ensure that procreation can never take place. Spaying also removes the possibilities of life threatening uterine infections. Additionally, it also greatly reduces the risk of developing potentially fatal mammary tumors later in life.
  • Male cats will be castrated. Both testicles will be removed. This will remove their ability and want to mate with females of the species. Neutered male cats become less likely to fight after neutering and are less likely to become involved in fights, resulting in bite injuries and the risk of contracting viral infections. Sexual contact in cats can also lead to transmission of deadly viruses.
  • Both female and male cats are left ear-tipped. This is a universal  method indicating the neutered status of a cat.
  • All cats in our care receive a flea and a worm treatment.

 

Eartipped cat                                                     Eartipped cat.

 

Post-operative care:

  • The CCN welfare officer collects the cats from the vets after surgery.
  • The cats are put back into the hospitalisation cages with clean bedding, water and food.
  • The males are kept for a minimum of 16 hours after surgery and females 24 hours.
  • The cats are checked post-op on an average of every 2 to 3 hours to make sure the bedding is clean and they are recovering well.
  • The carer is contacted to make arrangement to return the cats.

Returning the cats:

  • The cats are transferred back into the transport cages and returned to the carer.
  • The carer receives a quantity of food, CCN’s feral cat aftercare handbook and a photographic and health journal of their cats.

 

Sterilisation of the equipment:

  • After the return of the cats the CCN welfare office has to clean and sterilise all the equipment: traps, transport cages, hospitalisation cages and holding area used for the specific colony to avoid contaminating the next colony or transferring infection.

Feral cats colony information:

  • The CCN welfare officer inputs all the information that they have gathered about the colony into our computerised database.
  • Photos and descriptions are then uploaded to our Facebook page.
  • CCN welfare officers are always available for contact with the carer at any stage.

Our Offsprings are the Ferals of Tomorrow

"Our offsprings are the ferals of tomorrow"

“Our offsprings are the ferals of tomorrow”

Phone rings… “Hi, last winter, a stray cat came to my garden.  It was cold and I felt sorry for her, so I started feeding her.  You know, I would hate to see an animal suffer.  Then, in March, she had a litter of kittens, but it was fine, the farmer down the road took all four of them!  But, at the beginning of the summer, she had another litter of kittens.  7 of them! And now, I think she is pregnant again and I can’t find homes for the kittens.  I don’t mind feeding her as she keeps the mice away, but I can’t possibly keep all of them.  I don’t know what to do, can you please help?”

Sounds familiar?

This is a very common type of call received by animal welfare organisations and our answer is simply to have the cat and her kittens neutered straight away before the situation gets completely out of hand.  We discuss with the carer a way to finance the project and proceed to have the whole family neutered.  Then, maybe a couple of kittens may find a home, but at least they won’t be having kittens.  The problem is solved, but is it really?

Let’s rewind a little, back to spring time: “it was fine, the farmer down the road took all four of them!”  The alarm bell in my head is ringing!  Now, were those kittens neutered before going to the farm?  Did the farmer get them neutered?  The answer is more than likely no.

Now, let’s fast-forward to the following spring.  The farmer is happy, his little cats (3 females and a male) are doing a good job on the farm.  In April though, all three females give birth to a litter of kittens each.  It is their first litter and they only have two kittens each.  “Sure,” the farmer thinks, “a few more cats might come in handy; I have a big farm!  And maybe Jo will take a couple for his own farm.”  It’s still all fine, isn’t it?  Yes, except that during the summer, they give birth to more kittens, and again at the beginning of winter, except that those mostly die because of the severe weather.

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Two years later, the farmer is looking at all the cats on his farm.  There are so many of them that he cannot feed them properly anymore.  His three little female cats have become useless at killing the rats and mice as they are so exhausted from giving birth, as for the tom, he is constantly chasing the females and has been seen at all the neighbouring farms.  Their offsprings are no good either, they have also started giving birth constantly, and now the younger generations are all sickly because they are inbred.  The farmer is looking at all the cats (he can’t even count how many there are) and is scratching his head “what to do?”.  He must admit that he did try to drown the kittens like his father and his grand-father used to do, but the females are very good at hiding the kittens in the hay, and to be honest, he likes the cats and does not want to harm them.  Maybe he should bring them to the vet to have them euthanised?  But, he cannot even catch the cats; they have gone completely wild!  He’ll talk to the vet though and see what he thinks…

14 02 06 c webThe vet is not too keen on having animals euthanised like that and if the farmer can’t catch the cats, how could he?  He’s heard of organisations doing Trap-Neuter-Return though, maybe they could help?  So the farmer gets in touch with such an organisation.  At first, he has a fit when he hears what it will cost, but it has to stop, and he needs his cats to be healthy so that they can do their job on the farm.  All the cats and kittens get trapped, most of them are neutered, but a few have to be euthanised as they are too sick.  They come back to the farm and a few weeks later, they look a lot healthier and the farm is once more clear of rats.  The farmer is still giving out at the vet bill, but he is glad that things have now gone back to normal.  Next time, he’ll make sure that the cats are neutered beforehand.  “Now, if only Jo could do the same thing on his farm, because how many does he have now?  A good 30 for sure!”

Can you remember what the caller said initially?  “I would hate to see an animal suffer.”  Of course, she hadn’t realised what would happen as the farmer is a good guy and wouldn’t harm an animal, but by rehoming unneutered kittens, she has unknowingly been responsible for a great deal of suffering.  Or maybe she thought that it wasn’t her problem?  How about when the cats start to wander away from the farm because there isn’t any food and start to come to her garden where she is still feeding the little stray, the mother of them all?  Does it become her problem then?

Free ads

Websites are full of “Kittens Free to Good Home” ads, but what does it really mean?

I think that in the work we do, convincing people to have kittens neutered before rehoming is actually the biggest challenge.  Sometimes, it’s just because they don’t know that kittens can be neutered at such an early age (see info here), but most of the time, they don’t see the point since they are going to find “good homes” for the kittens.  Why should it be their responsibility?  Times and times again, we explain that if these are actually good homes, then the adopter will not mind giving a donation to cover for the cost of neutering.  In fact, they are quite happy to do so since it saves them the bother of having to bring the kittens.  In other cases, they think that it is not their problem since the cat isn’t actually theirs.  Maybe so, but we all need to start taking responsibility if we want to put a stop to the problem of cat over-population.  It is not one individual’s problem, it actually has become a society’s problem and we all need to start taking responsibility.

Disclaimer: the story above is fictional, although it is based on real experiences.  It wasn’t written with the intention of criticising anyone, but rather with the intention of educating.  Take responsibility too: educate those around you and spread the word about the importance of neutering!

Spay that Stray

5th National Feral Cat Awareness Week, 9th to 16th of August 2014

The aim of this week is to raise the awareness about feral cats and the importance of neutering.

During the week, we will be posting information on this website and on our Facebook pag about feral cats.  You can also visit the Feral Cats Ireland website and Facebook page for more information.

Why not help us raise awareness by printing the following posters and placing them in your local shop, community centre, co-op, etc?

Feral Cat 2014_general posterDownload the PDF file here: Feral Cat 2014_general poster.

Feral Cat Week poster_TNR 2014

 

Download the PDF file here: Feral Cat Week poster_TNR 2014.

Information leaflets created by Feral Cats Ireland can also be obtained to distribute in your local vets, pet shops, etc, by emailing feralcatsireland@gmail.com.

Feral Cat Week leaflets

Monday Smiles #2

A photo, a comment, a thought, a story that we have come across during our TNRs to brighten your Monday 🙂

Heard from a farmer talking about the feral cats he feeds…

“I may be just a farmer, but I don’t like to see them suffer.”

Monday Smiles #1

A photo, a comment, a thought, a story that we have come across during our TNRs to brighten your Monday 🙂

As we’re dealing with feral cats, we rarely get to interact with them.  They usually run away as fast and as far from us as possible when they are released.  However, every so often, one will stop and turn around as if to say “Thank you!”

Seafield, pausing on his way to a new happier life

On the way to freedom and to a new happier life

The kittens never live long…

“The kittens never live long down here by the lake. When the Atlantic sweeps in it would put a chill down the spine of a grown man, never mind a little kitten…”

This is just a snippet of a conversation I had with an islander about his cats.  Michael is the kind of man who likes to let the world get on with what it has to do.  He does not believe in such things as computers, Facebook or even television.  His life, to those who live in the outside world, is lonely and difficult; for he lives on an island on his own and with none of the modern technologies we have at our fingertips. 

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Michael’s Love

The slow burning range in his sparsely furnished kitchen radiates with heat as from a smouldering volcano.  He has a comfortable fireside chair and his table is piled high with books. He is an avid reader of detective novels and spends most of his time reading . He is accompanied in his kitchen by the love of his life. She’s pretty and slender with startling green eyes. She arrived at his door many years ago on a cold winter’s night. He invited her in to warm herself to the fire… She fell in love and never left Michael’s side. They spent many a happy day and night together. Michael had someone to share his hopes, his dreams and his disappointments with, and she never judged him or asked him for anything.

A few of the cats

A few of the cats

Then Michael started to develop a few health problems and had to leave the island for a serious operation on the mainland. He was gone for a few months and when he returned the love of his life had given birth to a little family. Michael was devastated; his love did not recognise him anymore and was now mother to an unruly brood of her own near his house. Night after night Michael would call to her but she would not come to him. He left his door, and his heart, open for her to return… but she never came. The love of his life went on to establish a dynasty. She gathered waifs and strays, orphans and foundlings, to herself, displaying the same love as Michael showed to her. Through the years Michael saw her family grow while he maintained a lonely guardianship in the background. 

Years later, the relationship between Michael and the love of his life started to get better. She is older now and tired. She still comes into his kitchen to warm herself by the fire. All her family join her and Michael loves and cares for them all. His great love still has shiny green eyes but they are beginning to dim with the pain of the passing years and the heavy burden she has borne. Season upon season, year following year, his love has given birth to more and more kittens. Michael does not know how many cats he really has… Maybe 20. Maybe 30.  Perhaps even more than that.

Michael is now in his eighties and has only recently built a cat flap in his front door so that his children can enter at will for the food, warmth and comfort they find in this old man’s home. When I last met Michael, his Love was sitting on the fireside chair alongside him. An old man and an elderly lady entwined by the glow of a fire and the passing years of love. 

We are going to Cape Clear again for 5 days of intensive trapping. Tom Farrington, vet in Rosscarberry, and Lesley Stinson, registered vet nurse, will arrive on Friday morning’s ferry to neuter and spay the cats. As you know by now this is a very expensive operation. Tom and Lesley have kindly donated their time and expertise to come and help us to create “Ireland’s First ‘Neutered’ Island”. Please help us to raise the funds needed by donating what you can (click here to access our Paypal link designated to the Cape Clear fund or you can visit our donation page for more options). Thanks for your support!

We would like to thank once more Mary O’Driscoll for sponsoring our accommodation on the island in one of the cottages and all the other islanders who are being so helpful: Seamus and the lads from Cape Clear Ferry, Duncan for lending us a car, Fiona for lending us her shed and all the others…

To read the beginning of our adventures on Cape Clear, click here.  To view the full photo album of ths fourth part of the project, click here.