One of the reasons we work so hard in the months of February and March is so that kittens will not show up in April.
This morning, as I entered the garage to send the cats off for their spay/neuter, I heard frantic peeping. It sounded like it was coming from the floor – even tho I knew that a kitten that had just been born could not get out of a trap – panic! But, no, there were the three little kittens with their mom, Sugar, safe in the trap. Some of these mom cats hide their condition well, we had no idea she was this close to delivery. Caretaker is going out of town on vacation, someone will need to foster the bunch.
One litter of kittens can seem to wipe out all of your hard work in a colony. A litter can be from one to eight kittens and if they all survive…you do the math.
So far we’ve heard of only a few litters being born so far this year, which is not bad compared to other years when we got a call almost every day that mentioned tiny babies – in February.
There are several ways to cope with kittens.
- Let them grow up to neutering age in the colony.
- Nab them at 4 weeks for the caretaker to foster them for adoption – giving the caretaker instruction on how to do this and how to find homes for them – Craigs List is usually the best option.
- Trap the mom, grab the kittens and keep them all together until the kittens are old enough to eat on their own = 4 wks. The benefit is that the mom does the difficult feeding and cleaning part of the job.
- Bottle feed the kittens without the mom being available. This is the most exhausting and emotionally draining option. Remember, a mere 25% of kittens may survive and they require a minimum of 3 feedings a day. Without the mom’s antibodies they are more prone to illness and formula is not cheap! And there is nothing like the stink of kittens – just what is IN that formula?!
Most shelters do not have the bodies available to foster kittens, it takes a very special person to produce healthy, well-adjusted cats.
We found out early on that it is impossible to do both TNR and care for kittens, so we count on the caretakers and volunteers who would prefer fostering cats than anything else. If that describes you, please raise your hand, but be aware that you are in for the duration – until they are big enough to neuter and even after, they are your responsibility – we will help with neuter and vaccinations, but we do not do adoptions, and usually during “kitten season” it is very difficult to get cats into shelters. If we arrange their neuter, they have a Feral Fixers microchip implanted, so we need to know where they end up, so that we can return them to their home should they get lost.
I’ve spoken to DuPage County and they are using less than half of their kitten fosters – the numbers of kittens are way down and they are not ending up at County. Vets that normally have kittens in their lobby for adoption - have none.
So, yes, kittens do happen, but with your help they are happening with much less frequency and we are on our way to making every cat WANTED!
Visit "http://www.stampstotherescue.com/thestamps.asp to see the new Stamps to the Rescue. 5 cats and 5 dogs, all rescued and adopted by shelters appear on the stamps. Purchase and use these stamps to spread the word about the benefits of adopting a rescued animal! One of the sponsors of this campaign to increase awareness of pet adoption, Halo brand pet food, will be donating a million animal meals to shelters during this campaign. We have a relationship with many rescue organizations – we have encountered many strays that have been returned to their original rescue organization due to the wonders of microchips and of course we need to work with them to place the “friendlies”, we are all in this for the best interests of the animals – so BUY RESCUE STAMPS!
What We’ve Been Doing
We are involved in more than trapping and transporting cats for s/n.
With the closure of the O’Hare Expansion area, we stepped up trapping and neutered two additional cats. We are happy that there weren’t more cats in the area. They seem to have gotten the word and moved on out into nearby neighborhoods.
We are planning a new event in July – Cataoke for Feral Fixers. It will be a karaoke event with a twist. We plan to offer our Board and Officers to perform for a price – and you get to pick the song to be performed. People attending can also offer themselves up to help us raise funds for Feral Fixers. This should be a lot of fun! Of course we’ll have food and silent auction items, so keep posted about the details.
We are trying a new fundraiser – “Dawgs for Cats” at Ultra Foods. The kind people at Ultra will provide us with all the fixin’s for a hot dog stand in front of the store and we get the proceeds! This will take place on May 22nd at the Lombard Ultra Foods – come out and see us and have a hot dog!
Watch out for critters!
I was talking with a new caretaker and she was telling me about letting her own, inside cats out on a leash. Then her male cat had a bout of diarrhea – while I was there. I cautioned her to keep her indoor cat’s deworming current, since the ferals did not have regular deworming and worms could spread to her cats if they crossed the same paths outside. This had never occurred to her, nor has it occurred to other people who let their cats outside – always monitored, sometimes leashed, etc. But there’s no control on what they are stepping on and then licking off their feet. There is a reason we advise people to keep their cats inside and it isn’t just because we don’t want to trap them, there are health reasons. Humans are susceptible to some of the same worms. That cat that you are snuggling with, and you’ve let outside in the last two weeks, hmmm, feeling a little queasy? Please be careful, please keep your cats inside and everyone stay healthy!
March is a success!
In addition to spaying and neutering 118 cats in the month, we completely tnr’d several colonies. It is always our goal to get everyone in a colony and in March we had the time and resources to do so. It appears that we have spayed 101 females since the first of the year – Yay!!!!