It's Cat Mating Season
Oh! Those rascals!
Last year I had a whopping group of 18 feral cats coming to me for food, yes and protection from heat and cold. This year four more showed up due to mating season.
I hear mating season is twice a year but don't quote me on that. I knew I had a problem on my hands right from the start when I was doing the wash outside and 5 tiny critters crawled out from under my mobile home.
I've had cats and dogs all my life but at this time I had retired and did not want the work of attending to any animals. I wanted to spend all my time writing and singing. However, here they were and they were awfully cute I thought as I snagged the wild little critter in my hand and stroked it's tabbiness while the mother looked on worriedly, shooing the rest back under the mobile.
Then the orange guy with 6 toes showed up and lord knows where he came from, but he wasn't leaving and I soon fell in love with his mischievous eyes and large feet and long flowing orange coat. When his father showed up looking pissy mad at the whole world and I watched the two interact I fell in love all over again. It wasn't long before I counted twelve, and they just kept coming until I thought I would go nuts or broke feeding them if I didn't figure out how to keep them from having babies after that first surprise under my mobile.
I soon discovered there were neighbors who also had litters under their homes. I was gathering cat stories from them, about skinny cats dying under mobiles or laying in the street struck by a car; etc. I started to get the picture of this place I'd just moved to called Bullhead City, AZ
Then I discovered it's nationwide, that their breeding is out of control. What happens is they become a nuisance by howling at night during their too frequent mating season. This year I've had first hand experience with being woken in the middle of the night by a male on the prowl.
The urgency and persistence that the males display in pursuing the scent of a female cat in heat is like, well, until the wee early hours of the morn.
Back to last year..I began pulling my hair out, for lack of funds to have my colony spayed and neutered. I contacts several vets who were not in sympathy with my mission, and in fact, were totally into animals as a business practice only. Imagine that!
Contacting animal control in this part of the world yielded up this info: They would fix 3 cats per household for free..BUT! I must secure the $15 rabies shot for each one, then get three licenses at about $12 for each one.
Since I had 18 by then I did not find this a helpful proposal and so the gnashing of teeth began in earnest when I discovered I was now illegal as I had acquired, somehow, 18 cats and you're only allowed 3. But these are not pets I tried to explain. They are wild critters that I didn't ask to come to me. Animal Control said my only other option was that they would come out, at their leisure, and certainly not in the summer heat, and trap the poor little devils and put them to sleep as feral cats are so wild that no one wants to adopt them anyway, and the call is for kittens, not adult cats. Feral kittens are the more easily domesticated.
Well, I didn't like the thought of killing them. I started to blog like crazy and produced a petition here for TNR. TNR is trap, neuter, release. It is more humane than killing an animal.
Also if I became a part of this TNR program, I would be noted as the caretaker of these cats.
Although this is not the way I imagined spending my retirement years, I have actually bonded with these wild critters to the point where they have become the grandchildren I will most likely never get. Some few of them have bonded with me also; others will most likely keep their distance but be available for a hand out on time, every day promptly. They have eaten all the rats in town and hardly ever catch one of our numerous pigeons.
Back to last year about this time: I was like a cat myself howling in the night of the internet for someone to help this old lady get these dang cats fixed so that I did not end up with 200 cats dying in the desert someday.
My income was so low I could not even afford to get one cat fixed. Most joints charge $100 per cat, some only $45 and up.
Finally my blogging must of yielded up a sympathetic ear. It had to be God, for who else would send me an angel? I met Milli, then I met Bobbi, two women who actually care about animals and the euthanization rate in America. I also met a fellow, G, who has a colony of his own and helps out other caretakers by seeing that they get some traps to catch them with.
Humane Traps can be purchased on Amazon and this is where I found the best price so I added some links for those who need to catch wild cats: I also caught a skunk with this trap! We took it down to the river and let it go as the little guy is a bit stinky you know!
The Tru-Catch kind are the best as they are the kind Animal Control uses and it has 2 doors and works by a gravity principle. The animal steps on a plate to get to the food, and this causes the door to shut quickly, yet the cage is long enough that the animal cannot be injured in the process of fleeing. Although at $69 ea. if funds are small I found this other trap with one door which is also safe looking and it is only $29 on Amazon.
Continuing with my saga of the old lady in the shoe with so many felines she didn't know what to do...to make a long story short Milli and Bobbi and G rescued me as this is TNR program, the people who work behind the scenes and it is indeed a nationwide movement to save critters from euthanization, for it is you and who pay the cost of the senseless killing of animals. Fixing them is the only recourse if you have a beating heart inside your chest. Most of us do like animals and that's why TNR is progressing so well.
Last year HeavenCanWait clinic in Las Vegas Nv fixed 12,000 free roaming cats. That means that the babies that would have been born didn't have to put to sleep due to over-population. Think about it. And that's less cats to get run over by a car while they are trying to find grub or a mating partner.
Ok, continuing....Milli read my blog and came to town and took me and the first 8 cats over to HCW feral cat clinic as her vehicle could fit all those cages in it and mine couldn't. I had been so upset that all these cats would die soon, put to sleep and I'd started to really like having them around.
They're so cute! Right now one or two was on my porch swing, making it swing! Another was laying on a catnip plant I'm growing. He doesn't like to eat it, just lay on top of it. I don't need to have cable TV, all I need to do is look outside my window and be entertained for hours.
So after she showed me the way and got me my TNR sponsor, I could find my way back there when I trapped more cats myself. When I get a little money, I am going to donate it to these people at HCW for the great work they are doing in saving lives of little defenseless animals that didn't ask to be born, but since they are here, can't society just let them live and give enough food for them to subsist on?
I don't think it's asking too much of society. And yes, they need money just like everyone needs money, but even without money the job is getting done by volunteers. I feel like a volunteer too. I can't turn my back on an animal that's suffering anymore than I could turn my back on a human that is suffering.
Now this year I have 4 more cats to get fixed. They have to be in the traps in order to get them fixed, so I went ahead and found a deal on Amazon, I secured the best traps for $35 each, versus last year I paid $50 each. Now I have the best quality traps but I have only four.
And it's off we go next month to get these 4 fixed so I can get a bit more sleep next mating season!