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Atwater Vitki

I'm A Bit Sad Today

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I feel absolutely terrible today as I had to do something I don't ever like to do.

It's not as easy as some may think being a "rescuer". There's the sick and injured adult cats that over the years have been nursed back to health, given a good home and the numerous one's that we've found homes for and naturally the ones that didn't make it. At times we both had "zoos" at our respective properties, for many years Kay lived in Somerset, I in Willow Creek on several acres surrounded by forest so room was not an issue. There's been the unlucky one's that had nothing more wrong with them than just not being cute or pretty enough for some people or had strange deformities that others found abhorring. But like people, these poor animals were simply born the way the Creator made them.

Sure, there's always the cute, loveable and precious little ones that come along, like our latest "Turbo" and "Herbie". At three months old they are so undeniably cute and characters beyond words. Herbie has recovered from her illness and now is 'Little Miss Independent not quite the "Love Bug" of her name sake and so tiny...she still looks only 8-9 weeks old! But healthy to no end and keeps up with over sized brother than could easily pass for 6 months! They obviously got their cattitudes from us and our "Moki" as they have been in our care since a mere three weeks old. Their "Momma" on the other hand has been nothing short of a terrorist.

She has come at and/or attacked both Kay and I, cornered our adult cats and been a general pain, both literally and figuratively. She has made any sense of serenity a complete disaster around here by taking over the back yard and challenges any living thing that comes within 20 feet of her. We've done every trick in the book to get her to be at least domesticated enough to not be mean as she's never had any form of abusive treatment, from us anyway. But enough is enough, we got her in the trap today and she's now a new resident of a strange land where she'll at least be fed, sheltered and has a ready source of water. Sometimes all one can do is return wild beasts to the wild.

Through the grape vine (one of the big time - funded and granted rescuers) we heard about a dairy farm that quietly encourages feral cats be "dropped off" to help with the mice and rat populations that seem to over run the property and causes a lot of problems for the dairy-men. I hate admitting that we had a wild cat in our care that just would not have anything to do with even the slightest amount of domestication as it's been such a rare event over the many years we've taken in and rescued feral and abused cats. At least there will be a reliable source of water, food when caught (and of course milk spills!) and plenty of shelter areas from the tree and shrub covered property and several barns. I'm sure it will take a bit of adjustment on her part, but it seemed to be the only choice we had as our County "Shelter" has closed this past month for lack of funding and the only other animal pound kills within 72 hours of no attempt of owner pick up.

I'm glad to say that through the years and hundreds of cats from every imaginable, and unimaginable, situation, "Momma" was one of the very few that could not be helped. Even though she's been given every chance over the last year, she made her choice. For the safety and well being of our own pets, she simply had to go. My thumb is still healing from one of the seven bites I received trying to get her to the spay/neuter clinic, but even so, I wish her no harm. Her "kids", "Turbo" and "Herbie" haven't been at all even interested in her in nearly a month and even they were victims just a few days ago of "Momma's" ill temper.

The trapping and decision making took place between 3 & 4:30 a.m. and I just got back a little bit ago from my drive, so exhausted, I'm still coming down from the adrenaline rush of the whole fiasco as the drive was less than a quiet one!

"Momma", we wish you well in your new surroundings and the appropriate calls have been made to inform the kind lady who has made the arrangements for such cases to at least be humanely dealt with. From the wild, back to the wild, but it wasn't for the lack of trying that's for dang sure! It's not always easy being in the rescue business and this was one case that showed us the down side.

Guilt and relief are funny bedfellows... :unsure:

Blessings of Peace,

.

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Guest Rev. Meg Schramm

I can relate. I have been caring for 2 feral cats for a couple of years now. The first one, Ollie, is a totally black beauty who was purposely left behind when his owner moved. Ollie carried the second one, a little female I named Peanut, in his teeth to our front door when she was not even old enough to eat solid food, and she has been with us ever since. These cats will let me pet them, and Ollie will sit on my lap on occaision, but neither stands for much fussing and Peanut will bite and scratch if she is picked up. In addition to this two lovebirds and a dog live with us, and the dog is a big boy (70 plus pounds).

I think you did the right thing. If one of the animals was hurting the others and the people trying to care for him/her, I would relocate them.

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Rev Al,

I do not know much about animal rescue so my question may be stupid.

Would it be a solution to have the truly wild ones dropped in for instance Yosemite (not the valley of course) or Stanislaus Park?

Would they have any chance of surviving?

I suppose there are legal obstacles, but someone could create an initiative to relocate truly wild cats (and dogs?) to large parks like that and find legal support for it.

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I'm so sorry that your good work and kindness was not enough to get momma kitty to "see the light"

still, on behalf of her and all the others out there, thank you for your efforts and for not just pontificating endlessly on the subject, but actually doing something about it :thumbu:

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Rev Al,

I do not know much about animal rescue so my question may be stupid.

Would it be a solution to have the truly wild ones dropped in for instance Yosemite (not the valley of course) or Stanislaus Park?

Would they have any chance of surviving?

I suppose there are legal obstacles, but someone could create an initiative to relocate truly wild cats (and dogs?) to large parks like that and find legal support for it.

Not only are there "legal obstacles" but I would say ecological ones as well. Wild bird, squirrel, and other small animal populations in many communities, parks, etc. have been impacted by the presence of feral cats that prey upon them. These animals for the most part have not adapted to a small cat as a "natural" preditor. Wild dogs tend to prey on the larger animals such as deer, so the same ecological consideration for them.

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Hyper,

Tamarack brings up some good issues about the down side of releasing feral to the wild. I use to think "what the heck, let 'em live" but then when we see the further damage that escalates from such behavior, it's another cycle that seems to get out of hand and bounds very quickly. The only real solution is spay and neuter, at this point and that will take a decade or so to show any real results.

One of the biggest problems with s&n is expense. Many places advertise $35-75 for spaying/neutering, but be careful, that does not always include operating room, anesth., tech etc...just like people hospitals the surgery is sometimes the low end of expense. One vet around here advertises $35 male cats $45 female, but as our neighbor found out $317 before getting out the door because "Kitty" had a sinus infect (funny never sneezed or?) also had a "narrowing of the esophagus so needed "special tube insert" and other things for surg". One case you could say eh, perhaps, but after several from our community went there, due to very friendly and nice staff, a bunch of hooey as seemed like perfectly normal cats to us all had something requiring "special attention". Gotta be careful out there.

Blessings,

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Not only are there "legal obstacles" but I would say ecological ones as well. Wild bird, squirrel, and other small animal populations in many communities, parks, etc. have been impacted by the presence of feral cats that prey upon them. These animals for the most part have not adapted to a small cat as a "natural" preditor. Wild dogs tend to prey on the larger animals such as deer, so the same ecological consideration for them.

Since you posted this Tamarack, I've done a bit of research on this phenomena...it seems that just about everywhere that feral cats and dogs have been allowed to roam free, or released by "concerned citizens", the ecological impact has been greatly noticed. Sometimes to the negative end. I had no idea that a major brand of orange grower had converted one of its 35,000 acre groves, in Georgia, into a cat sanctuary, that after 12 years closed it's doors to "dumping" of cats. While the cats did well, gophers and other small burrowing ground animals went on decline causing the fruit trees to require more fertilizer and care. The little "ground aerators" seemed to be beneficial to the trees, once they were gone the tree diminished in quality of fruit and expenses went up.

Any regular OJ drinker might remember the huge jump in costs around 04' 05' and it wasn't just due to the late freezes that year.

That's just one example and the US ASPCA web-sites has numerous articles for those who may wish to look into this further.

For me, the bottom line is anytime Hu-mans get involved in anything the world seems to go to ...well....less than it was before. Not much we can do about domesticated cats and dogs now, but dang those Neanderthal's for taking in wolves and those wily Egyptians for keeping cats as a sacred pet!

Blessings of Peace,

.

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Since you posted this Tamarack, I've done a bit of research on this phenomena...it seems that just about everywhere that feral cats and dogs have been allowed to roam free, or released by "concerned citizens", the ecological impact has been greatly noticed. Sometimes to the negative end. I had no idea that a major brand of orange grower had converted one of its 35,000 acre groves, in Georgia, into a cat sanctuary, that after 12 years closed it's doors to "dumping" of cats. While the cats did well, gophers and other small burrowing ground animals went on decline causing the fruit trees to require more fertilizer and care. The little "ground aerators" seemed to be beneficial to the trees, once they were gone the tree diminished in quality of fruit and expenses went up.

Any regular OJ drinker might remember the huge jump in costs around 04' 05' and it wasn't just due to the late freezes that year.

That's just one example and the US ASPCA web-sites has numerous articles for those who may wish to look into this further.

For me, the bottom line is anytime Hu-mans get involved in anything the world seems to go to ...well....less than it was before. Not much we can do about domesticated cats and dogs now, but dang those Neanderthal's for taking in wolves and those wily Egyptians for keeping cats as a sacred pet!

Blessings of Peace,

.

Yup - And it isn't just the feral ones either. Several of our neighbors let their cats out to roam free nearly every day. I haven't seen a squirrel around the yard for years, and the only birds still left are crows, ravens, and morning doves. We have had several incidents of wild dogs preying on whitetail deer here on the Indian Reservation where I work. The Conservation Officers have had to shoot several this last winter to protect the deer.

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Yup - And it isn't just the feral ones either. Several of our neighbors let their cats out to roam free nearly every day. I haven't seen a squirrel around the yard for years, and the only birds still left are crows, ravens, and morning doves. We have had several incidents of wild dogs preying on whitetail deer here on the Indian Reservation where I work. The Conservation Officers have had to shoot several this last winter to protect the deer.

It's always a shame to have to kill any life in order to save another and the cycle never seems to be in balance when man gets involved. Nature does it has to to keep the cycles of life continuing, but when people get involved, even those with good intentions, something always gets overlooked...like the "friendly bears" in Yosemite...HA! The wolves in Montana and beaver in Michigan...all failed attempts by Hu-mans to intercede where we didn't belong in the first place.

Blessings of Peace,

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Hey, Brother Al,

You definitely did "the right thing". You are most fortunate to have had the option of relocation.

I harbor and feed "ferals" in addition to the many cats that I have actually adopted. I have had

a couple that were a bit antisocial toward other cats. I guess I have been "lucky", as I have never

had to put one down over issues of aggressiveness. I have managed to get all of the females "fixed",

and most of the males as well. I have had to put-down a couple of sweet "feral" cats that were infected with,

"feline AIDS", and were in failing health...for the welfare of the colony. I would, if necessary, have to

"put-down" any cat that was terrorizing the colony, as I don't know of anyone locally that would

accept such a cat. I admire your persistence in trying to "civilize" that "loner" kitty, and for all

you are doing and have done for those more peaceable cats.

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well, if I survive until this Spring, then my album will come out, and I just cant tell ya all how excited I am about being able to be in your radio... please remember to turn up the volume :)

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Hey, Brother Al,

You definitely did "the right thing". You are most fortunate to have had the option of relocation.

I harbor and feed "ferals" in addition to the many cats that I have actually adopted. I have had

a couple that were a bit antisocial toward other cats. I guess I have been "lucky", as I have never

had to put one down over issues of aggressiveness. I have managed to get all of the females "fixed",

and most of the males as well. I have had to put-down a couple of sweet "feral" cats that were infected with,

"feline AIDS", and were in failing health...for the welfare of the colony. I would, if necessary, have to

"put-down" any cat that was terrorizing the colony, as I don't know of anyone locally that would

accept such a cat. I admire your persistence in trying to "civilize" that "loner" kitty, and for all

you are doing and have done for those more peaceable cats.

Thanks Hex for your efforts as well. We spread the message of Spay and Neuter every chance we get.... (10x a day it seems sometimes :doh: ) as that is the only way we know of to keep the populations under control.

Kay and I are so appreciative of the many others who do what's best for feral as well...there's just so many of them. Well gotta run, dr appt today

Later,

Al

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