What To Carry In Your Car For An Unexpected Cat Rescue

You guys!

Have you ever been out and about and, perhaps you see a cat and think, “If only I had the ability to help him right now…”

Well, I’m about to get you ready to do just that! I’ve spoken with three experts in the rescue field and am about to share with your their tips for what to carry with you in your car in case a rescue is needed.

This kit sucks for rescue. Shoes will not help you help a cat. Read on to find out how to pack your kit.

This kit sucks for rescue. A sparkly bathing suit and sunblock will not help you help a cat. Read on to find out how to pack your kit properly.

First up, we have Shawn Simons, the Headmistress at Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats in Los Angeles, a rescue with a heck of a story and a special focus on trapping feral cats in the LA area. Here’s her advice:

I would always carry is a towel.  It is a very good way to grab a sick or injured cat while protecting yourself. Make sure you have a carrier to put the cat in. A humane trap may be useful but I find successful trappings often need a bit more prep, although a hungry cat may not need it. If you are trapping, our kits always include newspaper, tuna, can opener and a trap cover (like a blanket or large towel). We use baby food a lot for semi ferals. For night time, you’ll need a flashlight, of course. Also if you are not able to get straight to a vet, flea meds and clavomox would be good to have on hand.
Towels: A necessity!

Towels: A necessity!

Next up, we have a list of things that you might keep with you, provided by Liz Houtz, the Community Cats Program Manager at Tree House  (who happened to be the person that helped trap Louie and Sprinkle, the two “fosters” here that never seem to want to leave.) Here’s Liz’s list for what to bring with you when you plan to trap a feral kitty:
  • KMR kitten replacement milk
  • Kitten feeding bottle
  • Hot water bottle to keep kittens warm
  • Towels
  • Canned cat food and tuna for trapping
  • Can opener
  • At least one carrier (medium) and one trap
  • Newspaper for traps
  • Wire ties for broken carriers
  • Flashlight
  • Trap covers
  • Tarp to protect car
  • Duct tape
  • Trap divider

And finally, we have Tammy from Feral Fixers, an organization in DuPage County, Illinois that focuses on trap-neuter-return programs and works to support colony caretakers by providing traps and spay/neuter resources to help control the feral cat population. She says:

One of the most frustrating parts of rescue is not being able to go somewhere yourself. But having volunteers who CAN go there and do what needs to be done is priceless! We make it a habit to learn whatever we can about our volunteers so that we can call on them in a pinch and they come thru time and time again! A drop-in carrier, two towels, a small throw, some canned food – stinkier the better and a small sample size bag of dry food that you can shake to stimulate interest in food are the very basics and all can be stored and carried in that carrier. One towel to go in carrier, other towel or throw to drop on top of the cat to wrap and drop in carrier and then the throw to go on top and cover whole carrier to keep it quiet and safe. Just the very basics for cat pickup.

The Can Opener:  A Must Have for Resscues and The Already Rescued, Well-Fed House Cat

The Can Opener: A Must Have for Rescues as well as  The Already Rescued, Well-Fed House Cat

And there you have it! The basics (and then some) of what to carry with you so that you’re prepared in the event of a much-needed rescue! A hearty thanks to all of these wonderful experts in cat rescue. As a follow up to this article, we’ll be talking to Tammy again regarding how to know if kittens really NEED rescue and what exactly to do if you see some out and about.

Stay tuned!

Love,

Crepes.

#LACATPLAN: Help Kitty Bungalow’s Fight to Make Los Angeles Feral Friendly

You Guys!

Did you know that Los Angeles does not have a humane cat plan? I, for one, would think that a city that has all that sunshine would have a sunnier disposition towards feral kitties. Alas, such is not the case. In fact, they have a city-wide ban on even discussing the matter. Instead, they euthanize any feral cats that come into city shelters instead of participating in TNR projects, even if the cats are ear-tipped and fixed.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.46.04 AM

Kitty Bungalow, one of the coolest rescues I know, is trying to put a stop to this. Shawn Simons, headmistress at the rescue, has put together a petition to try to move forward the plan to lift the injunction on TNR in order to save thousands of kitties every year.

I asked Shawn for comment. Here’s what she had to say:

“The biggest obstacle facing Los Angeles in becoming a No Kill City is feral cats and the city’s current inability to work with organizations to put a humane plan in place.  Of the 6400 cats that were killed in LA’s shelters this last year, 74% were kittens.  For the most part, kittens are just another name for offspring of feral cats.  Currently, feral cats going into the shelter, even ones that are ear-tipped and fixed, are soon killed as the city is not allowed to participate in TNR.  Meanwhile, cities across the country that are working with their local rescues on Shelter Neuter Release programs are hitting no-kill at a rapid pace.  Overturning the injunction and putting a humane cat plan in Los Angeles will swing open doors to cities across the country.”

To SIGN THE PETITION, Click here. It only takes a minute and will help Kitty Bungalow get the power they need to save lives!  We have until February 23rd to get all the signatures needed.

To learn more about KB’s LA Cat Plan, click here.  They offer tweets and other social media sharing options to make it easy for you to help get the word out.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.51.44 AM

Love,

Crepes.

Photos and video provided by KB as part of their #LACATPLAN campaign.

Tree House Is Putting Cats to Work!

You guys!

I don’t know how I feel about this, so I wanted to share it with you. Tree House is making cats work. No lie. They have a special program that actually gives cats jobs! Let’s learn more.

Some random feral cat peering into our fountain. Watch out, cat! They’ll give you a job!

What is it?

It’s called “Cats at Work” (they don’t even try to hide their intentions!) and it’s a program that’s taking place around Chicago, the suburbs, and even farther.

Who is it for?

It is for outdoor feral cats only. I guess that’s not so bad since they’re not pulling cozy cats off couches, but still.

What do the feral cats do?

Tree House finds feral cats that are in danger in some way – living in colonies that are overcrowded or full of diseases, don’t have enough food, are in an area that can present dangers to the cats – and they relocate those cats to areas where people actually want them. Why would they want them? To control the rodent population, of course! Actually, this is starting to sound like the cats are badasses.

How does it work?

If a person (residential, factory, industrial, or gardening) is having a rodent problem, they call Tree House and say “I would like X number of cats.” Tree House then traps cats that are in bad situations, gives them health screenings, vaccines, and medications, if needed, and then moves them to the new location. A home base area is set up for the cats where they live in giant acclimation crates for three weeks in order to identify this new area as home. After three weeks, they’re released from the crates and are on patrol! The person who requested the cats is in charge of a regular feeding schedule, veterinary care through Tree House (if needed), and scooping a litter box. And voila! Rat problem solved.

Did you know that cats who are regularly fed are actually better hunters than cats who hunt to survive? It’s true!

Did you also know that just the scent of cats can keep rodents away from an area? Also true!

If you’re interested in knowing more, the CATastrophes Web Series just did a guest episode for Animalist News about the whole thing! They also did their own, semi-informative video about the program. You can check them both out below.

If you’re interested in this program, contact Tree House! They don’t just service Chicago with these feral cats. They’ve gone all the way up to Wisconsin and are willing to go beyond that, if requested.

Actually, I’ve convinced myself. This isn’t so bad as long as no one takes MY couch away. I’m watching you, Tree House.

Love,

Crepes.

PS.

Speaking of Feral cats…

did you know tomorrow is National Feral Cat day? This is a great time to tell all you LA area peeps that our favorite West Coast rescue Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats is having its annual Feral Cat Photography Show. This year’s show will hang at Angel City Brewery Gallery Space from October 16th to the 19th with an opening reception on the 16th from 6:30 to 10:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public. There’s even going to be a walk-in cattery where you can meet some of the residents and possibly even go home with your newest family member!

If you don’t live near LA but know someone who does, please share and encourage them to attend! It’s for a great cause helping an awesome rescue and feral cats.

Oh my.

Oh my. That cat is literally 50 shades of gray.

Kitty Bungalow is giving us two of their limited edition National Feral Cat Day posters to giveaway! If you’d like ta chance to win one, leave a comment below letting me know you want to be entered. Two winners will be drawn randomly from all entries and announced next Tuesday.  Entries accepted from now until 11:49 pm on Sunday, October 19th.

For more information: http://www.kittybungalow.org/nfcd.html

Socializing Foster Kittens

You Guys!

They did it again. They brought home more kittens. That’s fine. I don’t have to see them, but I am going to write about them! (We got a few photos, but it’s a bit dark in the bathroom and we didn’t want to flash them, so they’re a little grainy. More to come!)

Two of the new foster. They're getting eye meds.

Two of the new fosters. They’re getting eye meds and look a little goopy.

Here’s the scoop: The FODs were on their way to pull more kittens from being euthanized when, on their way there, they got a call that another rescue beat them to it. Hurray! That’s great news because we know they got saved. Then they got a call that thirteen kittens had been saved from an overcrowded feral situation somewhere in the city and were in desperate need of a foster home. When they said thirteen, I put my foot down. I allowed them three.

And so, today we have three new kittens  living in our bathroom. They’re being treated for eye infections so they look a little squinty, like tiny street thugs. They’re completely weaned, so it’s a little different than the last time we fostered. If you recall, last time we had to hand feed, warm them with heating pads, mix special foods, etc. This time, because the kittens are around seven to ten weeks old, they are eating entirely on their own. However, this scenario presents different challenges.

Did you know that if you take in feral kittens that are between six and twelve weeks old, they are going to need much more socialization than kittens who were trapped at six weeks of age or less?  I, of course, was a special situation. I was four months old when I showed up at the FODs house and yet all I wanted was love. I’m just a lover. It is known.

So what does socializing a kitten require? Here are a few things you may have to do:

  • Start by getting the kittens to eat in front of you. Progress to having them eat next to you, then from a spoon, then from your hand, then to allowing you to pet them while they eat.
  • Feed them at appointed times while you are there so they associate food and happy feelings with humans.
  • Use wand toys to coax them into playing. Use the toys to gently stroke them until they are ok with being petted by hand.
  • Use caution for kittens that you don’t know at all. They have sharp claws and teeth.
  • Spend alone time with each kitten to make sure they are all being socialized and that not just the most outgoing kittens are getting love.
  • When the kittens are ready, invite friends to come and handle your kittens so they accept a variety of people and not just you.
A very interesting looking kitty....

A very interesting looking kitty…. Who seems to like sitting in the litter box.

For more information, Tree House has a fantastic document with lots of information about socializing feral kittens. You can read it here.

And, of course, if you have cats or other animals at home already, make sure you practice excellent hygiene by doing lots of hand washing, wearing a smock or robe when handling the ferals, using slippers or shoes specifically for that room, and keeping your home cats separated from your ferals at all times. Safety first!

Love,

Crepes.

PS. Remember: These guys are up for adoption very soon! If you’re interested, contact Erica at Tree House or send us a note and we’ll put you in touch! Please. They can’t stay. I need my bathroom rugs back.