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.

Tabby’s Place: A New T(2)NR Mission

Those that have been reading my writings for awhile know that I’m a fan of Tabby’s Place. I’ve never been there, but the work they’re doing out in Ringoes, New Jersey resonates all the way across the internet to Chicago and beyond. It tickles my whiskers to be able to talk about them again because they’re doing something new and exciting! However, I’d like to turn this article over to MomFOD, since the topic is of a serious nature and, we all know, she’s far more serious than I. Hit it, MomFOD!

Feral "Maybelle," fixed up and ready for adoption!

Feral “Maybelle,” fixed up and ready for adoption!

MomFOD: Thank you, Crepes. Tabby’s Place is well-known for taking in sick, wounded, and dying cats, providing hospice care to those that are near finished with their journey, and providing long-term care to those who have no other place to go. Their population usually contains about 30% special needs cats and 70% normal, healthy kitties. Doing great work in the animal welfare arena since 2003, Tabby’s Place is now excited to announce that they’re expanding into the world of TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return.) For those who don’t know, TNR is a process of trapping stray cats, providing them with spay and neuter surgery, and returning them to their colonies to live out their lives, usually with help from a community member who oversees feeding and welfare. It’s an effort to reduce feral cat populations in the hopes of a euthanasia-free future.

The R part of TNR

The R part of TNR

Crepes: I’d just like to pop in here and mention that I was the product of a successful TNR project. Without TNR, I’d still be out there living with Uncle Dad and Aunt Mom in our terribly inbred and overpopulated colony outside of Chicago. I’d probably be my own grandmother by now. 

MomFOD: Thank you, Crepes, for that delightful image. Moving along, Tabby’s Place has something a little different planned for their project, which they’re calling “T2NR.”

Crepes: Terminator!

MomFOD: No, Crepes! Not, T2. T2NR, for Targeted Trap Neuter Return. When asked to clarify the difference between the T2NR program and traditional TNR methods that have been in use for the last decade or so, Angela Townsend explained:

“…the concerted focus on a particular geographic area is a key difference between TNR and T2NR. The other primary distinction is that, for T2NR, we have to be proactive. That is, we won’t be waiting for folks to call us up or bring in feral cats as they find them (like traditional spay/neuter clinics do); we’re explicitly going out to reach all the free-roaming cats in our target area ourselves. This is inevitably “messier,” as it will involve finding cats in places where they can’t safely remain (and then having to find them a new, safe outdoor colony); dealing with community members; etc.”

The T2NR program, according to Tabby’s Place’s web page, centers around these steps:

  • proactively locating free-roaming cat colonies,
  • altering and providing medical care for the cats,
  • forging collaborative relationships with the community,
  • safely relocating cats who cannot remain where they were trapped,
  • and arranging for ongoing care and monitoring for the colonies.
Rescued feral babies. Can I get a "squee?"

Rescued feral babies. Can I get a “squee?”

Tabby’s Place is now estimating that they have roughly 1,000 cats living in their first targeted area surrounding their sanctuary. Their very first goal is to expand their in-house hospital to a larger wing of their building. They want to reach and provide medical care for each and every one of those cats within the next three years.

Crepes: A lofty goal!

MomFOD: And yet attainable, nevertheless. If the new program works, Tabby’s Place will be one of the leaders in reducing the feral cat population, providing a model for all other rescues to follow. Should this succeed and spread to other states, the USA will make a huge leap towards a no-kill future.

Crepes: Hallelujah! 

Feral rescuing in progress.

Feral rescuing in progress on the target site.

 

MomFOD: Presently, Tabby’s Place is collecting funds to get this project underway. With a goal of $400,000, Tabby’s Place is nearly 60% of the way there. They’re offering various types of sponsorship levels, including some lovely commemorative plaques for $500.

Crepes: Thank you, MomFOD, for that excellent report. 

MomFOD: You’re welcome, Crepes. I really couldn’t have done it without you, mostly because you wouldn’t let me. If you’d like to help Tabby’s Place reach their goal, please contact Tabby’s Place’s Development Director Angela Townsend at at(@)tabbysplace.org or 908-237-5300 ext 235. For more information, visit Tabby’s Place on the internet.

 

"This program is great! Also, I'm hungry!" - feral kitten.

“This program is great! Also, I’m hungry!” – feral kitten.