Honesty, Puppymills and Gas Stations

Sorry for not posting last week. Gail and I did go out trapping and we were looking forward to an easy night. We were traveling clear across town to help out a woman who had 7 cats in her house she needed to get spayed and neutered. She told us she had 2 adults (a female and her adult son) and 5 kittens. She swore that the adult son was not the father of the kittens and that the mother snuck out and got pregnant but it seemed to me that she based that idea on the fact that the mother and son would not mate because they were related. News Flash folks, related animals will mate. When hormones take over they aren't picky about who they mate with. Likely the kittens are all inbred. Luckily they seem healthy enough but we needed to step in and help before the situation became a disaster.

Unfortunately, despite the cats all being handleable, the night did not end easily for us. Gail had repeatedly asked the woman, in their many phone conversations, if she was certain the kittens were over 3 pounds. We need the kittens to weight at least 3 pounds in order to get spayed and neutered. The woman reassured Gail that they were. So we loaded up carriers and made the long drive to what turned out to be a pretty shady part of town. The woman met us at the door and told us that kittens only weighed 2 pounds. Really? Please tell us we did NOT just come all this way and not be able to fill our appointments.

I took a look at the kittens and sure enough, they were too small. We took the two adults and will have to return in about a month to finish the job. It is beyond frustrating. If ever you need the help of a rescue PLEASE be certain that the info you give them is as accurate as possible. I'm sure the woman didn't mean to deceive us but she obviously had a scale available and she should have weighed them before we came out. She cost us time, money and much needed sleep.

Since we had 7 appointments to fill and only 2 cats we had to return to my home, drop off the cats we had, and load up the van with traps and all of the other equipment we need.

We headed out to another location we had been working on, and a frustrating location it is! The cats are fairly easy to catch but the man who called us in is a breeder. Not of cats but of birds, hamsters and probably chihuahuas too. My gut instinct is to not help but the feral cats certainly won't benefit from us not assisting them. We have to put our personal feelings aside and do what is right, even if those around us are doing the wrong thing.

It was a late night. It took a while to catch 4 cats and we were pretty exhausted so we left with one appointment unfilled. I managed to get home at about 11pm.

The next day I got a call from someone at ARNO. Two, 3 day old kittens were found in a soaking wet box in a gas station. ARNO did not have anyone available for bottle raising so they wanted to know if I could take them in. Luckily I was able to do it and now have 2 new bottle babies. Since they were found in a gas station I figured they were there to protest Big Oil because the oil companies make baby kittens cry. Their names are Ethanol (Torti-Ethyl for short) and Solar (orange).

Both kittens are doing well. They are gaining weight fast and have opened their tiny, precious eyes. They will be running around and tearing up my house in no time.

Gail has adopted a new, old dog. A couple of months ago there was a puppymill bust in Robert, Louisiana. The puppymill owner died in a car crash and when the police went to his home to notify the next of kin they found a puppymill. The dilapidated house was filled with filthy dog crates containing over 80 dogs and puppies (goats and horses were also rescued). More info Here

Of all the dogs Gail met she chose a special little Min Pin. This dog has a heart of gold and a sweet and trusting personality despite what she went through and is still going through. When she was rescued from one of those filthy cages she had an excruciating infection in one eye that required immediate surgery to remove it and relieve her suffering. Unfortunately she is also completely blind in her other eye so this little dog will live the rest of her life in complete darkness thanks to the inhumanity of one man and those that continue to support puppymills through their consumer choice to buy those cute, little puppies in the window.

Little Cleo (as Gail named her) also has serious lung issues. Cleo isn't breathing well. Most likely she has significant lung damage from breathing in the filth and ammonia fumes for the first ten years of her life as she churned out litter after litter of puppies. She is not yet spayed, likely because she was too unstable when they operated on her eye and had to be brought out of anesthesia as quickly as possible. Her current vet does not seem overly optimistic about her prognosis. He's afraid that she will develop a uterine infection before her lungs heal enough to handle the spay surgery. All Gail can do is insure she gets her medication, love her and pray that she pulls through. No matter what the outcome is, this little dog is going to have the home she always should have. She will be loved and cherished by a patient and caring "mom" who is ready to help her through the many challenges that a puppymill dog faces when they are finally freed and have to learn a new, better, way to live.

This week's TNR report is blessedly bland. We went out to a new location we were alerted of, set the traps and the cats were practically standing in line to get in. We filled our traps within a half an hour and were home before the sun finished setting. Boy, did we need an easy night.

Donations are greatly needed. We have had a busy year and our funds are running low (getting to the scary point). If you can afford to make a donation we would appreciate it. Please remember that WAIF is a 100% volunteer organization. No one gets paid so every cent of your donation goes straight to the animals. You can donate using the Paypal button on our site or drop a donation at any of our donation jars around the quarter (locations are on our Petfinder Shelter Page).

Thanks to everyone for your support. We still have several kittens needing adoption. I will have more kittens available soon so keep checking or give me a call/email (the number/email is on the Petfinder pet listings for WAIF).
so please visit our Petfinder Listing

Just another day

Nothing much to report this week. Gail and I didn't go trapping this week because I had 3 kittens ready to be spayed and we had another woman we are helping get two rescue cats spayed and neutered. I spent this rare Thursday night off hanging out with my family and cooking us up some goodies

We did have a tiny kitten left at the pet store sandwiched between the inner door and the screen door of the shop when the owner came to open at 9am. The kitten was scared and damp from the night's rain but seems otherwise okay. I'm a little angry that someone would dump a kitten on our doorstep but I guess I'm also glad that they at least attempted to get it to safety.

A word on "Donations"

"I'd like to make a donation". I hear that a lot. One would think it would be a happy thing for a rescue to hear the word "donation". It is a happy thing, if it's used the right way but a lot of people seem to totally misunderstand the meaning of "donation"

As Indigo Montoya would say, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Here is the definition of Donation:

do·na·tion   [doh-ney-shuhn] Show IPA
an act or instance of presenting something as a gift, grant, or contribution.
a gift, as to a fund; contribution.

At least weekly, if not daily, I hear from people wanting to make a donation to WAIF. They want to "donate" their dog, their cats, the kittens or puppies their pet had, their guinea pigs they don't want to move with, etc...Just today we got an anonymous "donation" of a shivering and scared kitten that was left sandwiched between the inner door and the screen door of the pet supply shop where I work.

I have learned not to get excited when people say they want to make a "donation". Most of the time they aren't talking about a monetary or food donation. They are talking about dumping their problem and responsibility on someone else.

The definition above seems to imply that the recipient of said "donation" would benefit from it. Rescues certainly don't benefit from "donations" of animals. The animals usually cost us much more money then we take in from the adoption fees. They cost money, time and tears and they take up room for other animals. Few people are willing to make a financial donation along with their animal "donation" and appear to be under the impression that we rescuers shit money. We don't.

Most of the "donators" act so terribly worried about the animals possibly being euthanized. They try to lay guilt trips on us and try to cast emotional blame on us saying we don't care about the animals. That somehow it's our fault if they have to take them to the shelter.

We are not the one's dumping our animals. We are not the one's who let Fluffy breed or didn't think about the long term reality of getting a pet. If you want to cast blame then please look in the mirror.

Please keep your "donation". In fact, I would like to make a donation to you. I will give you, as a gift, a paid for appointment at the local low cost spay/neuter clinic for your animal. That way, maybe, people will stop making so many "donations" to the already overcrowded rescues.

Most Excellent News

Well, excellent news if you are a couple of crazy ladies who have been on the tail (almost literally) of a particular cat that has been pumping out litter after litter for over 3 years.

Yes, we caught the momma cat I mentioned in the last entry.

Gail and I went out to return the cats we had TNRed last night. We decided to at least try to catch one more of the momma's kittens since the one we caught was so very scared. Of course, a single scared kitten would tame down faster then several that feed off of each other's fear but, I have a hard time discounting the comfort for an infant in a familiar littermate. If they can't have mom, at least they have each other.

We set traps and I also came up with an alternative plan since mama is trap smart. Basically we brought a wire dog kennel with us. I tied a tough string to the door and wove it through the kennel and out the back. That way, if mama went in to eat, we could pull the door shut and hold it tight while one of us ran to lock the kennel door. Once we had everything set we waited for a half an hour and had no cats show up. We were dismayed to think that the momma had moved them but there was no point in wasting our time so we picked up the kennel and put it in the car. When we returned to get the traps there was momma and her 3 remaining kittens eating the spilled food.

We ran back to the car and got the kennel and set it back up. When we came back one of the kittens was already caught in a trap. We quickly took the kitten out of the yard (so as not to upset the mom) and waited. Within 10 minutes momma and her kittens were all in the kennel and cautiously eating (with one eye on us). I carefully and gently pulled the rope to close the door without making excess noise. Once it was closed Gail got ready to run to the cage. I gave the signal and started pulling like hell on the rope. Momma tried desperately to get out when she saw Gail coming but luckily our plan was a good one. Gail pushed the latch home, we threw sheets over the cage to calm her and we both did a little jig of success.

We got Mom and kittens to my house and managed to get the kittens out with minimal drama. Momma is now in the kennel in my shed until we can get her spayed on Monday.

Mom is a Snowshoe which means she well might have been someone's pet when she was young. I can't help but wonder how her life took such a sad turn and she ended up on the street. At least she will be spared having to carry, give birth to and feed more kittens. She will have a chance to get healthy and fat again and hopefully she will tame down and one of the neighbors will take her in a share their love and home with her as she deserves.

Public Enemy #1

Gail and I visited both an old trapping spot and a new one. The new one, only 2 blocks away from our homes, is swarming with generations of cats. A couple are injured and although we targeted the injured ones we only caught one of them--a male with a head wound, nasty but healing. He should be alright.

We also managed to catch 2 other cats at that location, both reproducing females (one with ~7 week old kittens on the ground). The other looks like she's had kittens but not actively nursing any however she may be pregnant again.

Before we stopped at the new location we made a stop at an old location, one we have been working on for over 3 years. We have gotten almost all of the cats there TNRed. We caught a semi-friendly black male right away--probably someone's pet at some time. He wasn't our target though. The cat we wanted has been dubbed"Public Enemy #1" by us. She is a repeat offender supplying us with kittens we've caught and adopted out many, many times over the years. She's trap wary, smart and beautiful--she looks a bit like a snowshoe calico (is that possible?). I'll grant her that she gives birth to beautiful kittens and is a great mother but she must be stopped. We have tried everything except a drop trap. Unfortunately we no longer have our drop trap and will probably have to build another because I think that is the only way will catch her. Hopefully the homeowner where she is living will allow us to set up the trap.

We left a regular cat trap hoping to catch her while we were at the other location. When we returned she semi charged us when we approached the cage. Obviously we didn't catch her but something had her upset In the cage was one of her 6 week old kittens. We need another foster kitten like we need a hole in the head but the option of releasing it was not something we wanted to do. So, WAIF has yet another kitten in foster. We will be returning over the next couple of days to try to catch the other kittens and Gail will likely be fostering them since my house is too full to properly cage, quarantine and socialize more kittens.

In all we took in 4 ferals to be TNRed, pulled one kitten off the streets and I also had 3 foster kittens big enough to get Neutered, Shots and Microchipped so they can get adopted out. They will be in the Pet Asylum on Sunday.

Gangsta Kitty

I would like to update that Al Capone (the feral cat from the previous entry) is doing very well. His wheezing stopped and he was neutered yesterday. He was also given a shot of Ivermectin (for ear mites and possible mange) and a shot of a long term antibiotic. He's an old man kitty who came through his surgery wonderfully. We have decided to keep him in his safe prison for another couple of days to finish out his Clavamox treatment and to give him a couple more days to heal and rest. After that he will be returned to his old stomping grounds to (hopefully) live out his life in health and peace.

On a side note, Gail and I are being forced to take a week off of trapping cats. The vet we normally use is taking a well earned vacation and thus, Gail and I also get a small vacation. We hate to take time off during the summer but we really do need the rest so we aren't complaining too much.

Taking me up on my offer

People may remember the tragic ending of a feral cat in last week's entry http://waifnola.livejournal.com/8800.html. I was going to take Butchie in and nurse him back to health but poor Butchie was simply too ill to save.

Seems the feral cat gods were paying attention and decided to take me up on my offer. This week one of the cats we trapped had a raging upper respiratory problem (and probably herpes too) and he was too ill to neuter.

Gail named him Al Capone.

He came back to my house and I set him up a good sized cage in our shed that is located in the deep shade under our deck. He's cool and dry and secluded in there. He needs to take antibiotics twice a day for a week. Luckily he eats the wet food I mix it into with no problem.

Capone isn't happy about being part of our family for a while but I doubt this beat up old street cat has ever had it so good. He's dry, clean, safe and has an unlimited supply of clean food and water.

Wish him well.

The Wanderers

Gail and I didn't have quite as much luck this week as we had lately but we still managed to catch 3 cats. One is a female that has been reproducing and we always consider catching an unspayed female as a win!

On a separate note the cats from Flora's that the owner refused to spay and neuter (and refused to allow anyone to do it for him) have spread all over the neighborhood. I heard through the grapevine that Flora's had a little visit from the Health Department and was facing getting shut down because the place was completely filthy and overrun with cats. Apparently, Ali's (the owner) solution has been to stop feeding the cats, chase them off/dump them all over the neighborhood. We have been getting reports of bob-tailed cats showing up all over the place. Since a lot of Ali's cats were bob-tailed we have to assume that they have been coming from Flora's. I even had one show up in my backyard for a couple of days but he disappeared before I could catch him.

Sadly, it look as if Ali's personal cat might not have been immune to his "cleaning house". Yesterday we went to Port street, the street behind Flora's, to check on the colony that has established itself there from the Flora's overflow. As we walked up I noticed Ali's personal cat (one we did TNR a couple of years ago, much to Ali's dismay) lounging on the sidewalk. I have never before seen that particular cat so far from home and have to assume that either he isn't getting fed either or missed his friends when they had to move on to greener pastures.

On the bright side, we no longer have to sneak around, fight with Ali and get threatened to get those cats spayed and neutered. Ali remains a first class asshat though. First he refuses to take responsibility for the animals, then he refused to allow others to take on the responsibility, finally, when he was FORCED to take responsibility (or lose his business) he denied all responsibility and dumped the cats not caring if the got hit by cars as the wandered to find food or starve to death

The plight of a street cat

Gail and I set out to go trap well outside our normal boundaries. We went all the way up to Midcity at Carrollton and Olive to answer the plea of a woman with a bunch of feral cats and kittens. The neighborhood was sketchy (to say it kindly) but luckily we were allowed to trap in a private yard, away from the crazies.

Luck was with us and we quickly trapped 4 cats - 3 of which are females. We were targeting one more female to fill our quota of 5 appointments. As she sniffed around the cage another cat showed up. Big, black, mangled looking and limping. I could tell from his wounds and general build that he was a male so I lured him away from the trap with some food to allow the female a chance to trap herself.

The poor guy was starving. I dumped some wet food in front of me and he started eating ravenously. He even allowed me to gently pet his back as he ate. I wasn't certain if he was half tame or too hungry, sick and hurt to care.

His right front foot looked like it was missing from mid leg down and his hair was thin and spotty and old battle wounds showed through. Our hearts went out to the poor man for the cruelty life on the streets had shown him.

After a while the female we were targeting moved away and it was obvious we were not going to catch her this night. I led the black male back to the cage and laid a trail of food to entice him in. He kept eating the trail but not actually going into the trap. Every time he ate the last of the food outside the trap he would turn to me and try to take the can from me. I couldn't throw the can into the trap because I would likely set it off. I had a plastic fork I had been scooping the food out with so I scooped up some food on the fork, showed it to the cat and then tossed it into the trap. He ran in after it and I hand closed the trap after him.

He was so hungry that he didn't seen to care at all that he was trapped. I emptied the rest of the food into the trap and we allowed him to eat in peace before transferring him to the car to take him to my house.

In the morning I took a closer look at him. He does still have his leg but both front paws are badly bitten and infected--the right one much more profoundly so. Puss was running out of the wounds and he had licked it to a slimy, puffy mess.

His face, head, chest, shoulders, hell...every inch of him is covered in battle wounds, old and new.

I promptly named him Butch

Right now he is at SAF. I talked his plight over with them and we decided that once he's under and the vet finds out exactly what is wrong with him we will also run a Feline Leuk/Aids test. If he tests positive, because his infections and injuries are so severe, we have made the hard choice to euthanize him while he is still under sedation.

If he tests negative (please say a prayer for him) he will be coming home to Elly's house to be nursed back to some semblance of health. He can then live out his days as a part of her tribe. I'm not thrilled with the idea of a feral cat living in my house (even in a cage) but he needs the chance. He is not at fault for his condition--we as humans are responsible and someone needs to step up and do what is right.

I will update on Butch's outcome by tomorrow.

************SAD UPDATE************

Poor Butchie tested positive for both feline AIDS and Leukemia. We gently eased him out of his suffering and hopefully on to a better existence. Rest well brave man.

Down in the Treme

Down in the Treme, it's me and my baby. We'r trapping like crazy and getting dem cats neutered.

Okay, sorry for the corny but it's the first thing that popped into my head as I sat down to write this blog update.

Gail and I headed over to an old hunting ground in the Treme last night. It's a location where we often have bad luck--sitting for hours and watching the cats sneak around the traps, refusing to go in until they bored of the game and stalked off to safer food sources.

We had MUCH better luck last night. We were targeting 4 cats and all 4 happily and quickly entered the traps. One of the cats was a female torti that had lived on the next block. We had tried to help the homeowner trap the cat to get her spayed so she would stop having kittens continually but they were less then helpful. When we would show up to trap they would not be accommodating about allowing us access to their property to trap but were happy to complain about the kittens they had to feed. It seems they either moved away or stopped feeding because the mom showed up down the street at a friend's house. No sign of her many kittens but the street is notorious for speeding cars and run over cats so I doubt there were many (if any) survivors from her litters. At least we finally trapped her and her reproduction days are at an end.

We also handed over a low cost spay appointment to a private owner who's cat became pregnant but quickly realized the problem with bringing more animals into the world and was willing to have her spayed before the pregnancy progressed any further.

My house is full of kittens--12 in total. 2 are still bottle feeding but the rest are weaned (or mostly weaned). Now I'm just waiting for them to get big enough to get neutered so they can go up for adoption. Meanwhile, if you know of anyone thinking of adopting please send them my way.

Peace, love and neuter --Elly and Gail