We set the trap behind the observatory a couple of days ago and caught a cat within a few hours. He was yowling and trying to get out of the trap, but didn’t try to attack us. When we got him to the vet we found out that he was already neutered, and tame (once out of the cage). He’s in the cat office at the school now. While I was petting him, the name “Big Tony” just popped into my head. Although it sounds more like the name of a Mafia chieftain than a large, friendly cat, the name fits him perfectly. Here are a few pictures of the big guy:
The previous entry said that sometimes it’s not a happy ending. Sometimes it’s beyond belief. About a month ago, Cathy was driving in to work when she saw a woman driving a station wagon with lots of cats in the back. Cathy wondered if she could ever figure out who the owner of the station wagon was, and then pretty much put the incident out of her mind.
Last week, Cathy went to her church, which rents out space from a Larger Church, and she saw the station wagon, and sure enough, there were a lot of cats in it. She called her minister, who contacted the minister at Larger Church. It turns out that the woman, Jean (not her real name), works part time at Larger Church, and the staff there seemed very protective of her. Jean didn’t want to talk to Cathy on the phone because she’d heard stories of people pretending to do cat rescue but actually selling the cats to medical labs for experimentation.
Cathy and I decided to go down to the church yesterday to see if we could talk to Jean and help her place the cats. It turns out that Jean has thirteen cats in her station wagon. She does give them food and water, and they do have a litterbox which Jean cleans regularly, but the cats are not in good shape. Four of them live in a cage because, as Jean says, they have ringworm and need to be isolated from the others. Two of the non-caged cats had discharge from the eyes, and one had lesions around the eyes. Jean said she was giving them colloidal silver, which she claimed would clear up the problem.
We told Jean that we would take the two with the eye discharge to the vet, and that we could place them (I would foster one, and a co-worker was willing to adopt one). She agreed, and asked if she could see where we were going to house them until adopted. She did ask us not to let the vet give them antibiotics, as that “would only weaken their immune system.”
When we asked what her plans were for the other cats, Jean told us that a farmer in a rural area near San Jose was building a pen for them where they would have shelter as well as room to move around, but that the pen wouldn’t be ready for a few days.
At any rate, we drove to the college, Jean gave us the two cats, approved of the office, and left. She returned in a few minutes and said that she wouldn’t allow the orange cat to be adopted alone; he had to be adopted with another cat, and she wanted to leave another one with us. We said we preferred to have just the two, and, at the end of the week, see how they were doing before accepting a third cat. She agreed, and drove off again.
This morning at 7:45, Jean showed up and said she had found someone to adopt both cats, and took them back. Cathy didn’t say no, as she didn’t want to cause a scene with this woman.
So, what do we do? Call animal control? One of our co-workers noted that if we did so, they would take Jean into custody. Since the only places we know to find Jean are at Larger Church and at a store where she works part-time, this would be a really unpleasant scene. We agree that Jean’s heart is in the right place, but she simply does not have the resources to deal with the cats. She’s not abusing them, but they aren’t getting proper treatment either. What we’ve done is communicate our concerns to the people at Larger Church and hope that they can convince her to do what is best for both her and the cats.
We set the trap a few nights ago and caught an absolutely gorgeous orange-and-white longhaired cat. Gorgeous, that is, until we saw its eyes; they were red and almost totally clouded over. We took it in to the vet, and he told us that it had an advanced case of feline herpes. It can be cured, but not in a cat that isn’t tame, as there’s no way to give the medication over a series of days or weeks. If we had the cat neutered and released, it could have spread the infection to its entire colony. We made the choice to euthanize the cat. If you’re going to do cat rescue, you have to be aware that you can’t rescue them all, and there will be some that you can’t even help.
Joanne, a co-worker at Evergreen Valley College has a couple of older cats who live outside (she has asthma). In November, a small roly-poly kitten came up to her porch and started eating from her cats’ bowl. The older cats accepted the new arrival, who Joanne’s grandchildren named “Roly-Poly.” The neighbors complained about the number of cats, and Joanne couldn’t keep the kitten inside, so she brought him in to Cathy and me.
Roland (we renamed him, as he was no longer even remotely roly-poly) was simply the most affectionate cat we have seen in ages. He approached everyone who came in the room and started purring almost immediately. If you sat down, he’d jump in your lap within minutes. I took Roland home to see if he’d get along with my cat Marco. Roland was perfectly OK with his new surroundings, but Marco wasn’t. Marco spent several hours growling and hissing at Roland, and batting at him with his paw. Roland just sat there and blinked, totally unconcerned. I didn’t see things working out well between the two cats, so I took Roland back to school to see if we could get him adopted out.
On Monday, we took Roland to the Perl class, where he made himself at home and was quite a hit, though nobody wanted to take him home. On Tuesday, I told my introductory programming class about Roland, and one student said he might be interested. He has friends who work at a transitional home, which is a place where people coming from drug rehabilitation or parole are re-integrated into society. The student said that animals are a calming influence in these homes, and we both agreed that Roland would be great there. Cathy took him over to his new home on Thursday; we think it will be a perfect match.
Rocket took a trip up to the roof of the Roble building, and has been up there for two days. There are plenty of tree branches within easy leaping distance, but she hasn’t gotten it through her little cat head to get down. We trapped two other cats, one male (“Smoke” on the left) and one female (“Fluffy” on the right). These pictures were taken after they came back from the vet and were still groggy and not angry/frightened. I showed the picture of Smoke to Mathew, who said, “He’s not smiling.” I said, “If you had just had the operation he had, you wouldn’t be smiling either.”
Since the last posting, Gigi has been adopted again, it would seem permanently. We stoppped trapping during the winter break at Evergreen Valley College, and started again on Thursday. We caught a very large calico female and had her fixed. This cat was extremely displeased at being trapped, and shot out of the cage as if from a cannon when we released her. The best picture we were able to get of her is below. We named her “Shaya” (from the Russian adjective ???????, pronounced “bol-sha-ya,” meaning “big”). Although it really doesn’t matter, as neither of expects to see much of her in the near future.