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Does it ever end?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I was cooking supper. Walked out & fed the outside kitties. Had Fafeena, Sandy, & Cow in the garage. That leaves 6, plus Jasper a feral for supper. 11 cats showed up. I got Floofy fixed, but that's it...thats as far as I can stretch my budget.

I swear, every time I get one fixed, more show up! I mean, I can take them to the HS with me, but I feel so bad. Right now, we're low capacity & kitten season hasn't hit yet*knocks on wood*. But, soon we're gonna get so full...last summer was the first time in 4 years we've had to euth for overpopulation. If I bring these guys in....& we get full.

I can't afford to get them vetted, so I will have to start catching them to take to the HS. Unfortunately...if they are feral, once we start getting full...they will be euthanized.

Does this ever end? When will strays & ferals stop showing up? Does anybody else feel like this is a lost cause?
post #2 of 26
All the time... I recently took a stray to a shelter I use to work at... I knew there was something wrong because he had never let me get anywhere near him before... Turned out he was dying from FIV. He also wasn't neutered. Just yesterday I saw, what I am assuming is his offspring. This young cat looked IDENTICAL to him in every way.

Then there's.... the black and white one, the tabby and white one, the one with no tail, the all black one and the all white one.... They are all feral cats... I dont know if its better to leave them be or to bring them into a shelter where they may get put down... All the neighbors feed them but no one takes care of them or bothers to get them fixed... I know they probally have FIV and are just spreading it around to all the other cats....

Sometimes it all seems pointless. If I take one off the street, another one will just replace it....
post #3 of 26
I've been fostering ferals/kittens for 4 years now, and I've only had my "foster room" empty for about a 2 week span. We have a ton of colonies here in my city as well....our organization looks after about 6 colonies and we try to trap the kittens and any of the adults we think can be socialized and adopted. It is a constant struggle. As soon as we trap a few and have them neutered or spayed, along come 4 others that are not. The problem is so vast...and the need is so great.
post #4 of 26
It's definitely overwhelming and seems like a lost cause at times but, for me at least, it helps to think of the ones we are able to save, whether it's via TNR or finding them a home. What also helps keep me going is the efforts of so many caring people who do what they can to help the cats. I just wish more people would care, accept some responsibility and take the intiative to get involved in their own neighborhoods.
post #5 of 26
I dont know how it got to the point that i've never see a single stray dog around here, but cats, is seems they are part of the wildlife now for good. They are agile,good hunters, and good reproducers, which makes me believe it's impossible to have a world without wild cats.
post #6 of 26
I just started to help a friend with a cat colony that she feeds. She has managed to get about 11 of the 13 cats fixed, for free through the city services. But she buys the food herself. We just found another little batch of kittens, starving, with such bad skin allergies one was almost bald! But we are trying to help those too. Last night I couldn't sleep thinking of the poor kittens. We want to get them into the HS since they are so young, they should be very adoptable. From what I gather it's a huge problem and at many times is never-ending. But just think of how bad it would be if people that help these animals weren't here to help? You all are making a difference, even if it feels small at times. A lot of small good acts can add up to a huge amount of good for these strays and ferals.
post #7 of 26
I just wanted to say YOU GUYS ARE ALL DOING A GOOD JOB! You are seriously making a me want to cry, because what you are doing is great! Not only do other cat lovers appreciate the work and time and money you put into this- but these cats know it and love you for it! Your changing the world one cat at a time. GREAT JOB!
post #8 of 26
Hi!

Okay, so I see based on this post:

Fafeena
Sandy
Cow
1 of 6
2 of 6
3 of 6
4 of 6
5 of 6
6 of 6
Jasper a feral
Floofy

Are those the eleven cats you refer to, or are you saying that an additional 11 (new) cats appeared all of a sudden?

What is the spay/neuter status of each of the cats? If you are only going to spay or neuter one or two, well, I have to tell you, that will NOT halt the cycle of reproduction, no. It's a well-established fact that cats are what is called "prolific breeders."

You say that your personal budget will not expand to fix more cats. Okay, well, it sounds as though you are a frequent volunteer at a humane society in your community. Have you thought about asking the society to help you to do a project -- TNR these cats?

If I have misunderstood what has happened in your neighborhood, then can you list the cats by description, please? It's hard to know who is who when you use a mix of counts of cats and names.

Where good TNR is being done (meaning, where you're working actively to sterilize at least 70 percent of the known cats), no, we don't continue to see more and more new cats. One or two, maybe, yes -- abandoned formerly owned pets, or roaming cats looking to take over. But, obviously, one or two, over time, can be within most budgets. Particularly if you are working with a TNR program, and you can provide tax benefits for program support donations. Just because you have the heart to take action shouldn't mean that you have to foot the entire bill for your neighborhood. Boy, I sure would be angry at my neighbors, if they all expected me to take all of the stray cats we saw to be destroyed!

Best,
Linda

Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
I was cooking supper. Walked out & fed the outside kitties. Had Fafeena, Sandy, & Cow in the garage. That leaves 6, plus Jasper a feral for supper. 11 cats showed up. I got Floofy fixed, but that's it...thats as far as I can stretch my budget.

I swear, every time I get one fixed, more show up! I mean, I can take them to the HS with me, but I feel so bad. Right now, we're low capacity & kitten season hasn't hit yet*knocks on wood*. But, soon we're gonna get so full...last summer was the first time in 4 years we've had to euth for overpopulation. If I bring these guys in....& we get full.

I can't afford to get them vetted, so I will have to start catching them to take to the HS. Unfortunately...if they are feral, once we start getting full...they will be euthanized.

Does this ever end? When will strays & ferals stop showing up? Does anybody else feel like this is a lost cause?
post #9 of 26
Hi,

I agree, but you know what you can do? I have spoken to community associations, to local officials, and to local parent's groups about TNR. Although not everyone I talk to decides to pick up a trap and start actively TNRing, they are almost always curious, and then, once they understand what TNR is, they are always supportive of such programs.

A big part of the problem seems to be that nobody is thinking to TELL the average person (who is not a cat owner) about TNR. In some parts of the US, there is the myth that Animal Control is the experts, and if they do not tell you about any approach other than catch-and-kill for cats, then, well, there simply must not BE any alternative. BUT you know if you have been on TCS for more than a few months, that in this case, often Animal Control is way behind in learning or teaching.

Please don't assume that few people care. I have found that, even among people who are not pet owners, the care and concern are there. People don't like seeing defenseless kittens born without shelter and they don't like to think that they are part of the destruction of wonderful animals. What they need most is to know HOW to address the problem constructively and humanely.

Best,
Linda

Quote:
Originally Posted by eilcon View Post
It's definitely overwhelming and seems like a lost cause at times but, for me at least, it helps to think of the ones we are able to save, whether it's via TNR or finding them a home. What also helps keep me going is the efforts of so many caring people who do what they can to help the cats. I just wish more people would care, accept some responsibility and take the intiative to get involved in their own neighborhoods.
post #10 of 26
Hi Keith,

Well, if you read up on the history of the animal sheltering effort, in the US, you will learn that after cart horses and child labor, roaming DOGS were the first order of business. The programs developed, early on, to cut down on stray dogs, actually were designed TO CUT DOWN ON STRAY DOGS.

Now the trouble is, they were NOT set up to cut down on stray cats. Make sense? Who here thinks that cats and dogs are interchangeable? They aren't. Cats are fairly newly domesticated (and some people say, they are only loosely domesticated). Compared to dogs, cats are smaller, more able to blend in to the landscape. Think about a call about a dog running at large, in your own community, and the call about a cat running at large. Generally, the dog will have a true TRAIL of reports of sightings. A cat, on the other hand, will often hunker down in a storm drain or some brush, and you can walk right by and not realize the cat is there.

Most kennels in the US have dog runs, but they are hardly the sort of place that makes a homebody feline comfortable. Most licensing programs in the US, provide for stronger attempts to reunite dogs with their owners. Licensing for cats mostly just provides for the killing of many cats.

You may be right, Keith, that today to get to a world with NO "wild cats" may be a pipe dream. Still, I think many of us would be pleased to reach a point where ONLY as many cats are destroyed in our communities, as dogs! We KNOW that TNR cuts down on the sheer numbers of cats and kittens in an area. We only need to more efficiently work on expanding and fine-tuning strong programs to ensure that the cats aren't just trapped and released, but provided with a modicum of care over their life-spans.

Best,
Linda

Quote:
Originally Posted by keith p View Post
I dont know how it got to the point that i've never see a single stray dog around here, but cats, is seems they are part of the wildlife now for good. They are agile,good hunters, and good reproducers, which makes me believe it's impossible to have a world without wild cats.
post #11 of 26
Hi everyone,

I am sorry that so many folks in this topic have not had any information about TNR for a while. I will try and offer some information based on my experience with a TNR program in the Mid-Atlantic US over the past ten years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty14788 View Post
All the time... I recently took a stray to a shelter I use to work at... I knew there was something wrong because he had never let me get anywhere near him before... Turned out he was dying from FIV. He also wasn't neutered. Just yesterday I saw, what I am assuming is his offspring. This young cat looked IDENTICAL to him in every way.
When you say "you knew something was wrong" do you mean that he looked sickly or injured, or just that he was "skittish" about being approached? By definition, a feral cat will be what we call "unsocialized" to humans. Such cats are perfectly comfortable alone or around their fellow cats ("colony members") and not letting people get near is safe for cats, given the kinds of people you can sometimes encounter today! (NOT Shorty, of course!)

Sounds like you were told by the vet that this cat had Feline Immunosuppressive Virus (FIV). Did you know that today, many cats who are FIV positive, in human homes and in well-managed TNR programs, live healthy long lives? Yes, at first when FIV was discovered, it was widely thought to be a death sentence. (This was true of HIV also - we thought that it ALWAYS led to AIDS and was fatal). Today, FIV is not considered a reason for euthanasia in most situations -- at least unless the cat is showing actual SYMPTOMS. (A cat can be FIV positive and show no symptoms, internal or external, whatsoever.) Being un-neutered is probably a far more serious threat to a feral cat than being FIV positive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty14788 View Post
Then there's.... the black and white one, the tabby and white one, the one with no tail, the all black one and the all white one.... They are all feral cats... I dont know if its better to leave them be or to bring them into a shelter where they may get put down... All the neighbors feed them but no one takes care of them or bothers to get them fixed... I know they probally have FIV and are just spreading it around to all the other cats....

Sometimes it all seems pointless. If I take one off the street, another one will just replace it....
As I've outlined in a response to another post in this forum, yes, if you work by ones or twos, you will never draw even with the feline procreative rate. Cats will breed faster than you are sterilizing them. Ones and twos are definitely a pretty futile way to try and help the cats.

So what to do? Well, Shorty, YOU are the answer. YOU see the situation with the cats. YOU know the neighbors who feed the cats. YOU have it in your power to convince those neighbors to team up with you and come up with a plan.

You will need to educate yourselves about how Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) works. You need to decide whether being able to continue to feed and enjoy the presence of the cats, is worth the trouble of doing what it takes to keep them healthy and keep them from constantly having more kittens. If you all can agree that you want to help them without seeing them destroyed, then you can find a friendly veterinarian, and you can implement the approach that works: TNR.

You'll be very happy with how TNR impacts the individual cats in the group. I think you'll also be amazed at how much *easier* it becomes to see and help the cats once you've committed to TNR. And as a nice byproduct, you will get to know neighbors better, and you'll all share in the pride that you did something good, together. I realize it sounds grandiose, but, TNR actually CAN change people's lives. As well as cats'.

Best,
Linda
post #12 of 26
The reason I took him to that particular shelter is because I use to work there. They have a VERY special woman who takes in all of the FIV and FeLV positive cats. I knew if he was healthy, he would be placed there. Unfortunaly after further examination and testing, it was discovered that he had a raging infection from a cat bite and an URI. His body couldn't fight it all.

I knew he was sick because before, I couldn't get within ten feet of him without him running away. This time when I approached him, he just sat there. He didn't even move. The only protest I go from him was having him spray in my car.... I had to roll my windows down for that one....

A for the TNR thing... unfortunatly right now, money is tight.... If you read through some of my other posts you will see why... Maybe after I get some of these things taken care of I can...
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Linda, sorry I didn't see you're post sooner. I'll try to answer you're questions!

I have 8 barn cats:
Fafeena-13/14 y/y spayed
Goat-head-3/4 y/o spayed
Slinky-8/9 y/o spayed
Tabitha-6/7 y/o spayed
Cow-4/5 y/o neutered
Sandy Paws-3/4 y/o neutered
Billy Bob-2/3 y/o neutered
Tony Bob-2/3 y/o neutered

Plus there's Floofy(older & spayed) who doesn't stick around my place much anymore(she still hates me from when I got her spayed). There is no TNR program here. I've contacted places like SpayUSA, etc. They never have any funding. It's gotten to the point where....I am considered euthanisia so these ferals don't have to be hit by car, killed in fights, etc.

I have Jasper my feral, who will be euthanized as soon as I can trap him. He suffered some sort of injury & his back legs no longer function properly. Vet guessed him to be 8 y/o & in tough shape when he was neutered awhile back. As for any "others"....I currently have one orange/white tom who appears to be neutered & is getting friendly towards me. Otherwise, I do not currently have any ferals or strays.
post #14 of 26
Hi white, and All,

Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Linda, sorry I didn't see you're post sooner. I'll try to answer you're questions!
Okay, you did great. I didn't THINK you meant that you suddenly had ELEVEN intact cats appear, but now that's settled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Plus there's Floofy(older & spayed) who doesn't stick around my place much anymore(she still hates me from when I got her spayed). There is no TNR program here. I've contacted places like SpayUSA, etc. They never have any funding. It's gotten to the point where....I am considered euthanisia so these ferals don't have to be hit by car, killed in fights, etc.
Ahem. YOU ARE the TNR program. Or at least, the start of one!! You are a program of one single colony, maybe, but that's how lots of us start out.

SpayUSA doesn't do a lot of TNR funding. And, truthfully, I think that most of the few funding alternatives for TNR, are for organizations. So, that means you would need to set up a group with some bylaws and a board. I am supposing you don't want to do that, you just want the cats that you personally see, to be healthy and protected.

I think it is very sad to destroy an animal simply because it risks being killed. To me, that is like saying that I'm going to feed my elderly parent sleeping pills because he or she may one day suffer a heart attack or stroke. As I get older, I know that *I* certainly don't want anyone "kindly putting me down" just because I am not as young as I once was.

As far as the risks of being hit by cars, where do you feed? If you feed near the road, you should start to move your feeding station. Ideally it would be at the back of property that is on a travelled road - as far from the road as possible. If your neighbors also feed, and you have cats going back and forth across a street, try and set up a plan where you both feed at quieter times of the day, so the cats aren't as likely to encounter a car.

As far as fighting injuries go, it is very unusual in any of the forty-plus colony locations my group helps with, for there to be fighting to the point of injury. Are you really seeing cats causing puncture wounds and lacerations? Mostly, spayed or neutered cats will chase one another or growl if they're upset, but they have a fantastically good social order that keeps them from actually hurting another cat. If you are encountering injuries from other animals (wildlife like owl, fox, coyote, and such), usually those fights are over food and so if you can devise a way to feed during times when the wildlife aren't looking for food, you significantly decrease the risk of injuries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
I have Jasper my feral, who will be euthanized as soon as I can trap him. He suffered some sort of injury & his back legs no longer function properly. Vet guessed him to be 8 y/o & in tough shape when he was neutered awhile back. As for any "others"....I currently have one orange/white tom who appears to be neutered & is getting friendly towards me. Otherwise, I do not currently have any ferals or strays.
Well, then, your situation isn't really a case of "it never ends" - you have a pretty stable "colony" there - you have sterilized adult cats, most in pretty good health, you have one cat who, if there were sanctuary possibilities, could be sanctuaried, and if you were so inclined, you could consider expanding your "TNR program" there, to ensure that there are not new kittens born in the next block or across the field or wherever. (I DO understand that if you are working ONLY with your own household budget, you are probably not considering operating the sort of TNR program that expands and works to provide control of feral cat populations -- but if you ever would like to talk more about that, please let me know! :-))
post #15 of 26
Hi Shorty,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty14788 View Post
A for the TNR thing... unfortunatly right now, money is tight.... If you read through some of my other posts you will see why... Maybe after I get some of these things taken care of I can...
You've got a deal! I understand that it's a big deal to decide to TNR cats that aren't even our own pets!!! To me, this is one of the hardest things about it. When you are in the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, and you help out with say, a paper drive or raking yards for seniors, that is considered a community service today, and you might earn a special badge, or get an award, or a writeup and picture in your local newspaper for your trouble. But if you are willing to help your neighbors avoid the sight of homeless kittens and the unmistakable odor of intact male cats, you sometimes don't get the same kind of thanks, AND, you may wind up having to pay for the whole effort out of your own pocket.

Please be sure and look for programs you can work with near where you live; maybe keep in mind even before you are in a position to do any TNR yourself, that organizations also need people who can lick envelopes, or make telephone calls, or take pictures, or ... well, you get the idea. I know that if my organization knows that someone has been helpful to us already, we are that much more confident that he or she will do a good job carrying out a TNR project with our organization's program. (And, I haven't had a chance to look at any of your older posts, but, it could be that people in your local organization might have dealt with things very much like what you are facing.)

Best,
Linda
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Maybe I should have mentioned....my Fafeena, being a spry 13/14 year old cat, will kill any newcomer she does not like. And she has won over 20 lb. intact tom cats. She doesn't like many other cats, either. I have seen an increase in injuries among my pet cats, Cow is getting the brunt of it & that cat already has more than his fair share of problems(I'm working on funding to get all his teeth removed, they are rotten completely & 3 vets feel they need to come out).

I feed as far away from our road as I can(300 yards?), but I still see cats hit in the road on a regular basis. I live off a gravel road, so it is not near as bad as it could be. I've lost many spayed/neutered ferals to car accidents.

I know euthanizing isn't the best choice, but I'm running out of options. It's $50 less to euthanize than a neuter, then on top of the neuter, I have testing & shots. I'm putting $130 into one male cat. I just don't have that kind of money. Trust me, if I did, I'd have a massive colony here just to save them all. I do understand you're reasoning, but it seems that here, ferals show up & unaltered ones usually last about 2 months.

Honestly, my place is probably the worst place for ferals to be. But, none of my neighbors for 12 miles around want a feral colony or will care for one, so my place is the only option. I have talked to every farmer I can to see if they'll take on the ferals...nobody cares about the cats.

I can think of so many reasons why the ferals are better off anyplace but here. Population pressures are the biggest one. The outdoor/garage cats I have I kept because they were all overly aggressive. They have worked peace out amongst themselves. As soon as someone else joins "the band", they all set to being crabby old coots again.
post #17 of 26
Obviously, it doesn't. Last night I was sitting on my porch, and a new one come walking up... Someone must have loved him before, because he wasn't afraid of me. He was very happy to have someone love on him. Unfortunatly it was 11 at night and I had no where to put him if I did grab him. There's a good chance that he had FIV or FeLV and I didn't want to bring him in and expose my cats to it. (The bathroom and bedrooms are currently full of fosters at my house.)

I went by the shelter I use to work at today. They informed me of a low cost spay and neuter program in my area. I also found out of rest of the story about the last cat I brought in. He didn't just have the URI, wounds, and FIV. He also had FeLV.

The thing that worries me about the TNR stuff is, that FIV and FeLV is spreading like wildfire in my area. I dont want them to be put down, but then again I dont want them to spread it. All of the shelters in my area (that wont put down a FIV or FeLV positive cat) are full right now.

Do you test for FIV or FeLV? What do you do with a postive cat? I cant take them in and risk getting my cats sick...(I have a few that cant be vaccinated do to health problems)
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
I euthanize for FIV FeLV+. There are no local shelters that will take them. The local HS I volunteer for euthanizes them. Heck, we just euthanized two 6 week old FeLV+ kittens.

I'm sorry, but I will not risk my pet cats lives by keeping a FIV or FeLV+ cat around. It's bad enough that the ones that have to live outside have to live outside, but I will not expose them to FIV or FeLV any further.
post #19 of 26
Im one of those people that likes to take care of strays but you are all more in depth than I am. Im looking into right now trying to find low cost vet assistance or even a vet that will start a payment plan. PaPets is low cost spaying/neutering but it takes a long time to hear from them and even then theres no guarentee that they will help you. Money is tight in my house but I will count pennies if it means saving a cat. My mom has a barn full of cats right now with three litters of kittens shes trying to find indoor homes for because their road is so popular and she doesnt want to see any of the babies get killed. Im amazed with everything you all are doing to help and applaude you all. In my area people around here use cats more for target practice than anything because they are always around. I HATE ( i know strong word but its accurate) people that feel that just because an animal cat dog anything is around and outside doesnt mean its a stray, wild, sick and needs to die! Its just cruel...Most cats that Ive had before were indoor/outdoor cats had their own lil kitty door and everything. Ive been doing my best around here helping cats find furever homes and someone to take care of them. Ive even gotten two elderly neighbors of mine to take in cats that were strays. Its not a big step like you guys are taking but its the best I can manage at the time. Lets just hope more people can see beyond "pest control" and realize that these are animals that can give back to us, and help us learn compassion and how to be a better person!!!!
post #20 of 26
BTW I forgot..What is a feral? Ive never heard this term used before..Im just curious to know what it means...
post #21 of 26
Its a wild cat. They have had little or no human contact and generally will not come near people.
post #22 of 26
Hi Shorty,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty14788 View Post
There's a good chance that he had FIV or FeLV and I didn't want to bring him in and expose my cats to it.
Must be because we do TNR here, we show very low rates of disease. And that rate is very consistent with the findings of the veterinary studies on disease rates in stray and feral cats compared with that in the pet population. It is REALLY noteworthy that Shorty's area is rife with disease. In fact, I think you should invite the CDC to take a look at why!

Seriously. Although we no longer test cats in our TNR program, it is because our rate of positives was already low when we WERE testing. In addition, there has been no disease seen in our colonies for several years, so that leads us to believe with some confidence that we are not facing a dangerous health threat to the cats.

Shorty, please tell us more about the disease rates you have? Is the rate in pet cats in your area matching that of the ferals (as it does in the rest of the country)? Aren't pet owners very upset about that? What kind of vaccine protocol are your veterinarians using? Aren't the veterinarians beside themselves over the lack of resistance to disease??
post #23 of 26
Are you familiar with the MN Spay neuter project that Pet Haven is doing?
http://www.pethavenmn.org/spay-neuter-initiative.php also Animal Ark now has the neuter commuter and going all over the State to spay and neuter cats. Give them a call.
post #24 of 26
In my local neighborhood, we have had about 10 cats and kittens test positive for FIV in the past couple of months. Its because everyone here decides to feed the cats but then does nothing more to help. I can think of at least 3 homes that feed five or more cats that haven't been fixed and more then likely, haven't been vaccinated. The people who live next door to me, allow there cat to go outside. The only problem is that she isn't vaccinated for FIV or FeLV. Even after I warned them about how many cats in our area have it, they still haven't taken her in for vaccines. The disease just continues to spread....
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MNJULZ View Post
Are you familiar with the MN Spay neuter project that Pet Haven is doing?
http://www.pethavenmn.org/spay-neuter-initiative.php also Animal Ark now has the neuter commuter and going all over the State to spay and neuter cats. Give them a call.
I'm 3 hours from the TC area, so the Pet Haven one isn't an option.
post #26 of 26
Have you spoken to Pet Haven? They have vets all over the state. If they don't have a vet close to you, maybe they can refer you to someone else that would help out. If you can find a vet in your area that will work with them, I'm sure they would be willing to help.
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