Our big goal for the rescue this year is to have our Trap Neuter Release program up and running. Working with Alley Cat Allies has been very helpful in getting our core volunteers trained in small one and two trap events – preparation for larger trappings. In general, a Trap is very stressful for the cats, so the more practice we get results in less stress for the cats, as well as for the volunteers and community leads. It also results in better interactions on a whole between STAR, the community, and the felines we are assisting with.
You might have noticed that feral cats are not stupid. While they might like a free meal as much as the next animal, they avoid humans pretty much at all costs. They are especially wary of traps or anything that is new and thus very threatening to their routine. These are not cats that we can take in and adopt out; their home is the outdoors.
Over the past couple of weeks we worked with Donna F. in Endwell, with two females that she had been slowly gaining the trust of. Her efforts with feral cats in the community over the last two years made the trapping nearly flawless – to the point where one of the cats was sleeping in the trap that we had set out so they would become used to seeing the trap there. This was a vast improvement over her attempt to trap them last year, when one of the cats had kittens and as a result was very wary of going near the trap at all.
We picked up the cats in the early hours of Wednesday, and then Thursday morning they had their appointment at Fur and Feathers Veterinary Hospital in Chenango Bridge. We met the staff at Fur and Feathers at the 2nd Annual Animal Expo and were relieved when they could get us two appointments as we initially thought we would trap only one cat!
The surgeries were successful. We provided financial assistance to have the cats fixed, get their rabies shots, and have their ears tipped so that we, and other animal groups, would know that these cats have been fixed and can focus efforts on other animals.
Friday morning we took both cats – nicknamed Callie and Funny Face by Donna – back to their habitat, where they were thrilled to not have anything to do with us anymore! We were hoping to get a video of the cats being returned, but once the doors opened they were off like furry, colored bolts of lightning. Donna called Sunday night to let us know that both Callie and Funny Face were coming back around after staying away for a couple of days. We were pleased to hear that things are returning to normal for everyone.
Successful TNR events like this help keep feral populations healthy, which in turn keeps neighborhoods healthy. Every cat that we can get spayed or neutered means that many fewer kittens ending up on the streets, in shelters, and in your neighborhood.
Many thanks to Donna and Ron as well as Fur and Feathers Veterinary Office for the assistance! -Enya