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When to say when...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I need advice and some positive vibes. I need to know when to say when in dealing with our feral colony. As some of you may know I still have not caught Midnight and I now am left with six new cats in the colony. I had written when they were little to see if anybody could help with foster care and socializing. It turns out that two of the cats are female and have gone into heat causing two new feral males to show up and fight over them all night long. Now one of the males seems to have gotten his eye hit in a fight as it is sealed shut. I believe this is a male I tried very hard to catch a long time ago before he left for good for a long while. I can't afford to take this feral male to the vet. In the meantime two of my indoor/outdoor cats got into a couple of the fights and had to both be taking to the hospital. One had a bite on his face, and the other got an abscessed paw.
My concern is that I cannot afford to take care of all of these cats. My sister helps with everything but it is just so costly. I am contemplating taking some money out of my 401K. Is this a stupid idea? Well, actually I know it is... That is my future. When do I say "when" in taking care of these cats? I started out by doing the right thing by doing TNR, but not catching Midnight has really gotten me behind.
I have tried repeatedly to get help with no luck. It's always I might know somebody and then nothing. So I guess what I am really looking for is some good vibes, encouragement and advice. I just feel really overwhelmed.
Thanks,
JIL05
post #2 of 17
I think only you will know when to say when, as long as you care about these animals I don't think that you will be able to say that.

I am sending hugs and prayers from Mississippi for you.

post #3 of 17
at my house, we have 5 dogs, a kitten, and had a cat(mine, but she's gone now, but that's another story). my mom would get so frustrated and say "we are putting these animals out! i can't deal with them!" but did she ever? no. She loved them too much.. even though she never said it, we secretly knew it was true. =) I'm sure you won't get rid of them.. or ever think time is up.. one day the right foster parents will fall right into your lap and some of the babies you care for so much will be happy and cared for in a new loving home. Just keep on going! =) Never give up.

Edit:

oh yeah.. and so when i took my cat and she had to leave my sister went out and got TWO more little kitties.. now there are 3 kittens and 5 dogs + a turtle.. trust me.. mom might say their leaving, but they wont.. don't give up hope. ok? =)
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIL05 View Post
I need advice and some positive vibes. I need to know when to say when in dealing with our feral colony. As some of you may know I still have not caught Midnight and I now am left with six new cats in the colony.
JIL05
Hi,

You are focussing a lot on what you HAVEN'T managed to do yet. And I am sure, that things look bleak to you just now. Trust me, all of us have had crises of confidence like this. I've been leading a small TNR organization for 7 *years* now. There have definitely been down times, and up times!!!!

Maybe this will help you: you don't need to get every single last one of these cats trapped and fixed. That's ideal, BUT, if you can't, what you want is to get to a point where there are fewer chances for them to breed than necessary for litters to be born. According to lots of experts, 70 percent fixed is that magic point. So if you can figure out how to spay or neuter 70 percent of the cats there, you will be able to catch your breath.

I know it must feel very lonely. I don't know anything much about your local area, but I know that even while my group tries to cover a county here, there are certainly folks who feel we are "too far away" or that we "don't offer the kind of help I need." But, please, keep trying and keep having faith, as other here have said, that things are going to work out for the cats and for you!

You are right, you definitely should not take money out of your own pension fund. Can you ask friends if they would help you with the project? What about approaching a friendly veterinarian? Do you have ANY local nonprofit organizations (even a boys club, or scouts, or a food pantry - ANY group) that you could convince to collect donations for your project? This is called "fiscal sponsorship," and it would let people who help you, get tax deductions for helping.

You have a caring heart, and that is very precious. What you have done, is good work. Don't give up!

Best,
Linda
post #5 of 17
If you're in or near a major city, low-cost spay/neuter groups are popping up like mushrooms. In order to find them, the internet will be your best search asset. If not, then a sympathetic local vet may be your best option--be sure the vet is willing to handle ferals, as many won't.

As for your TNR approach, don't despair if you can't catch the cat you want--catch the ones you can. Don't put out any food for a day or two before trapping. The hungrier a cat is, the easier it is to trap. And it's winter still, so cats may be more interested in eating than mating. Just don't give up....
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIL05 View Post
I need advice and some positive vibes. I need to know when to say when in dealing with our feral colony. As some of you may know I still have not caught Midnight and I now am left with six new cats in the colony. I had written when they were little to see if anybody could help with foster care and socializing. It turns out that two of the cats are female and have gone into heat causing two new feral males to show up and fight over them all night long. Now one of the males seems to have gotten his eye hit in a fight as it is sealed shut. I believe this is a male I tried very hard to catch a long time ago before he left for good for a long while. I can't afford to take this feral male to the vet. In the meantime two of my indoor/outdoor cats got into a couple of the fights and had to both be taking to the hospital. One had a bite on his face, and the other got an abscessed paw.
My concern is that I cannot afford to take care of all of these cats. My sister helps with everything but it is just so costly. I am contemplating taking some money out of my 401K. Is this a stupid idea? Well, actually I know it is... That is my future. When do I say "when" in taking care of these cats? I started out by doing the right thing by doing TNR, but not catching Midnight has really gotten me behind.
I have tried repeatedly to get help with no luck. It's always I might know somebody and then nothing. So I guess what I am really looking for is some good vibes, encouragement and advice. I just feel really overwhelmed.
Thanks,
JIL05
JIL....do what you can. The most critical thing right now is probably to try to catch the females because they do tend to attract more intact males and they are the ones that end up having litter after litter after litter. Is there a petstore or another store that would be willing to put out a tip jar for you? Could you make and sell brownies or cookies at work? Just the fact that you care is wonderful!!

Katie
post #7 of 17
i agree with katie.... just the fact that you care is wonderful !!

i thought i recognized your name so i went searching and i found your
other thread to refresh my memory....

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=105570

did you ever get a response from allaboutspayneuter ?

IF Not, please let me know and i will email her for you and put her
in touch with you... you will just have to give me your email address.

i also may have a contact that could possibly help you with food but i will
have to look into that and get back to you on that.

is there any rescue group that is helping you right now OR have you
brought these cats in to be neutered all by yourself ?


good luck and get back to me so i can try to help you.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello to everyone,

I am so sorry that I did not respond earlier. I had been in a car accident and ill and am now getting caught up on everything.

In the meantime my sister managed to neuter two of the cats, so that is good news. We have bad news though. Within the last week or so 7 cats have disappeared. And one is one of my personal cats. He is a former feral who gets out sometimes. I am so upset. I don't know what to think. I am so upset over the feral colony but ten times more upset about my personal cat.

All About Spay & Neuter never got back to me but now I don't think that I will need them. I just don't know what to do....How could anything happen to so many of them, when I have been home most of the time? Out of the last six kittens (Now young adults) only one is left and that one is limping, having trouble with its back legs. One of the ones that we just got spayed and notched is gone too! It's like they disappeared without a trace...


Anyway...I really want to thank everyone for being so helpful. And Thanks for listening as usual...This site is the best. I will keep you all posted.

JIL05
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIL05 View Post
How could anything happen to so many of them, when I have been home most of the time? Out of the last six kittens (Now young adults) only one is left and that one is limping, having trouble with its back legs. One of the ones that we just got spayed and notched is gone too! It's like they disappeared without a trace...
I'm so sorry that you are going though this.

I went on vacation for a week and left my colony in the hands of another feral caretaker. 7 cats disappeared when I was gone. It was devastating!!

I never found out what happened but have some theories about it. I lived in a very rural area. The cats had a different feeding routine and may have wandered a little bit further than normal. Our dogs were boarded and there was no dog there to keep other dogs or predators at bay. The routine was changed and anything could have come up to the property to hunt them. In my area, we lost the majority of the cats to predators. I know people put out poisons so I always did what I could to keep them on my property and didn't give them a reason to wander. But I was gone.

Have you talked to anyone in the area of your colony that might have seen something going on?
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1 View Post
JIL....do what you can. The most critical thing right now is probably to try to catch the females because they do tend to attract more intact males and they are the ones that end up having litter after litter after litter. Is there a petstore or another store that would be willing to put out a tip jar for you? Could you make and sell brownies or cookies at work? Just the fact that you care is wonderful!!

Katie
exactly that,Just concentrate on catching the females...

I know exactly how frustrating and daunting it can seem,and it seems never ending
especially if you can't get any help from anybody.
When I first came across my feral colony I couldn't get any help from any rescue,I tried to buy a trap but was told I had to be a CIEH authorised trapper so I couldn't
even buy a trap.I had enough money to do what was needed for all of them but all
I got was a brick wall when trying to find help for them.I was even told at one point that
to catch a wild animal was a criminal offense.
After catching the kittens myself and using a cat basket to trap the females I finally got help 11 months later.By then the colony was a lot bigger,obviously.
I had called that many people trying to get help,3 months after I got help from one
branch of the rescue,Another branch of the same rescue came out and
unlawfully trapped and euthanised at least six of my colony and god knows how many
domestic cats.I only found this out through pursuing what happened.

If I were you I would start asking questions at the local rescues,they are the ones with
the means to trap so many.

I hope and pray your ferals haven't suffered the same fate as mine did and I am
so sorry you are having to go through this
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
I thought that animal rescues were supposed to TNR or help to get the cats adopted. I know that I have called some places and left this post here but I have never left my exact address.

It is just inconceivable that they have all disappeared without a trace! I live in the suburbs and I can't imagine that people came on my property without me knowing. And how could they get all six off my property at once if they did it from a neighbors yard? Plus my very friendly Tower?
I wonder if it is possible that six would leave all at once? But even so, I know my Tower wouldn't go with them!

You know what gets my goat? Out of the two feral males, that mean, horrible male that fought with two of my cats and gave me huge bills is still roaming around the neighborhood happy as can be! I mean really! He was the one making all of the noise looking for females.

Besides pondering this mass disappearance, I am trying very hard to find my own cat. I put up flyers yesterday. One of the cat hating neighbors was passing and just about fell out of his truck trying to see what I was doing. I feel this is all my fault because I wrote the first post in this thread. From the beginning I've only wanted to try to get help socializing the newer ferals and try to find them good homes. By the way...I did end up getting some money out to take care of them and I am looking for a new job. That will probably go towards a new car now. If someone did come to "Help" I wish they would just tell me so that I know what happened. It is the very idea of never knowing what happened that kills me!

Thanks for all of your help!
JIL05
post #12 of 17
JIL05,

you are so caring to worry and help these cats! I just recently started to help a friend with a cat colony that she feeds and TNR's. We finally got the last female fixed. She was pregnant, but the clinic went ahead and terminated the pregnancy, which I have mixed feelings about. But anyway, she had recently had a litter of 4, and tomorrow I'm going to take in two of the little kitties, one girl and one boy. They have both been fixed already, but we hope to tame them and get them placed in a shelter or rescue group. Just wanted to say that I know you want to do more, but just remember that even a little bit helps these cats! I'm so sorry that some of them have disappeared, and I hope you find your kitty too!

Ronda
post #13 of 17
Hi JIL05 and Friends,

Quote:
Originally Posted by JIL05 View Post
I thought that animal rescues were supposed to TNR or help to get the cats adopted. I know that I have called some places and left this post here but I have never left my exact address.
When I first wanted to find some volunteer work to do involving cats, I thought that all animal organizations were kind to animals including cats. I believed that people who would spend the time to work to create organizations for animals, would also work to stay up-to-date on ways to help animals. I was naive!

Some animal organizations are a lot better with dogs than with cats. Some are living in the past and do not welcome change at all. Always find out whether their program for cats, is what YOU would choose to run, yourself. Educate yourself about how TNR programs operate, and expect that you may need to educate your local organization, too. (It is always prudent to ask for information about their policies and approaches and programs, before you tell them you are fixing feral cats. The cats' fate is really in your hands at that point, so you should feel comfortable asking all of the questions you can think of. Although you may not find that EVERYTHING works the way you think, you should be able to follow the reasoning and see some sort of proof that the program does what it claims to.)

Best,
Linda
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi Linda,

Very good advice! I will certainly follow it in the future.

I still don't know how it could come to be that all of these cats might have been caught without my seeing something, but the other idea of them leaving by themselves all at once doesn't seem right either. I think it vile that they might have been lured off my property to be killed in a shelter...or worse to be left out somewhere in the middle of nowhere...I don't think it was a feral organization that did this, but you never know. I think one of the neighbors must have fooled them by being nice for a while with treats or meat and then made a mass pick-up. Upon watching the colony these couple of days I noticed that all of the ones that are gone besides Tower are the 5 youngest ones and an older feral female that never left the back of our yard. For those of you that know my threads, she is Midnight's sister, Cappy. (By the way, I finally saw Midnight yesterday- after a month of not seeing her, so I know she is still around).

When I called both of the kill shelters here on Long Island, they both said that there were no pick-ups in the area. I can't imagine that they would lie... Also visited a popular shelter near me and they didn't have Tower or any of the other cats missing. There were so many little kittens at this shelter it broke my heart.

Of the cats that are left in the colony...One is having back leg trouble, one is limping slightly, favoring a front paw and one has gotten so thin that we will be attempting to take him to the vet tomorrow. Please send trap/catch vibes so we can get him checked out. Hopefully it won't cost too much either.:o(
Anyway...I will keep you posted.

Thanks for all of your encouragement and support!
JIL05
post #15 of 17
well call me not trusting but i think that your cat hating neighbor
caught them and brought them either to a shelter or another location
and released them.

he probably caught them with a humane trap.

and yes even if they are fed they will go in a trap.

just last night while running around trying to help neighbor find her lost
kitty that slipped out the door, she had set a humane trap in her yard
and one of then neighborhood ferals that gets fed at my house was in
that trap.

we have a food station built for our outside ferals and so they can feed
all day long until it gets dark out when we put the food away.

yet there he was in the trap.

another person made the news on long island when he caught his neighbors
cat and brought it to the shelter. he used his own name so that is how
they found him. turns out he did that with every single one of the
neighbors cats until the last one where they finally went to the shelter
and found out he had signed their cat over as his cat.
i think that happened in islip if you want to do a search and read about it.

so maybe you could call your local shelter to find out how many cat turn
in's there have been since all yours went missing ? and then you could
possibly get a description from them OR if you know you cat hating
neighbors name you could ask them if he turned in any cats during the
past how many months ?

and i agree with you..... this was no rescue group. they would not go
on your property without your permission and they would not go on
someone else's property to catch and relocate cats even if the owner
of that property called and asked them to do that they would not.

sending many prayers for all your kittys. i know you must be sick with worry.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi prettyboy,

Thank you so much for your suggestions and response.

It is just about a month later and still no word or sightings of these cats. It's all very heartbreaking... I've left a LOST poster for Tower out front so the neighbor will they have to see it everyday. Funny thing is, I am not sure that they will even care. And to be sure they knew that our own cat was one that lived in our house and they included him with the others anyway. All of the cats were very happy in our yard ( they really hardly ever left) and it's very sad to not see all of them everyday. It was also so sad putting the thin gray one to sleep. (What a horrible month April was!) The neighbors are going to be very surprised though because I have seen the two annoying males that do not belong to my colony still running about so I guess what they have done didn't really solve anything!

I remember that story about the man bringing his neighbor's cats to the shelter. It's really a terrible story. Some people have too much spare time.

There was also a story in the paper yesterday about a lady who feeds feral cats behind a church. She was feeding them behind a store, but the owner didn't want them there so she moved to the church. Now the church wants her to stop tresspassing and feeding the cats.

What is it about Long Island and feral cats? Nobody seems to want any of them around.
post #17 of 17
part of the reason, only part, is that the general public is not educated
on the subject.

for instance, we have heard from officials that some of the complaints
they get from people are something to the effect of........

"get these cats out of here....they are attracting all sorts of rodents".

excuse me but cats will chase away the rodents. they will keep the rodent
population down. they don't attract rodents.

and people really believe that. so my friend and i always make sure to
work into our conversations with the neighbors that we are so glad there
are some cats around to keep the rodent population down. and then we
tell them but they can't live on that alone because they would not have
the strength to chase them around so the cats have to be fed so they
can do their chasing.

quite frankly i have only seen them chase a mouse or whatever every
once in a blue moon but it keeps the neighbors happy thinking the cats
are doing something good.

i'm so sorry this is happening to you. hugs.
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