Recently I received a call from a gal named Kyle. She and her husband live in the mountains of Santa Cruz. She heard about my nonprofit feral rescue and wanted rodent control on her 5-acre property. Kyle tried calling organizations closer to her but never heard back. Hum, I wonder why? Sometimes groups are busy and ignore calls. Now don’t get me wrong; we aren’t that group. So I answered her call.
Santa Cruz mountains
Since Santa Cruz is a couple hours away, it’s not easy to hop over for a look at the property. So I asked Kyle to take photos and did a phone interview about their needs and whether the cats would have safe zones from possible predators. (They will.)
Loretta, my trusty volunteer, even took the day off work to help me relocate the 4 ferals. Something must be wrong with her. She loves doing relocations, no matter how far away. She accompanied me when we went to Fresno recently and trapped 6 stranded cats. That was a long day and night but she loved every minute. Like I said, something must be wrong with her. Continue reading →
Everybody has rats. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
Now don’t get me wrong; unlike Michael Jackson in the movie Ben, I am not best friends with a rat. I’m quite content with my human friends, thank you very much; taking on a rat is beyond my bandwidth. No, the reason I’m happy is because more rodents mean more feral cats will be saved.
Michael and his besties
You see, my nonprofit, Marin Friends of Ferals, takes under-socialized, un-adoptable sterilized cats (ferals) and relocates them to outdoor homes. Because ferals are the Eco-friendly answer to rodent control, our Career Cat program is booming. While receiving daily meals from their guardians, the cats do what they do best: hunt. It’s a win-win situation…well, except for the poor rodents. Continue reading →
I’ve fostered 241 feral kittens and never kept one of them. Not a one. And believe me, that’s super hard when I work for weeks and sometimes months to socialize for adoption a basically wild kitten. It’s incredibly rewarding when they eventually realize I’m not a predator and soon thereafter shower me with love and adoration. So letting go isn’t easy.
Then a couple months ago Anna called. She does rescue in the East Bay and found 4 kittens living dangerously close to the freeway. She trapped all 4 except an orange and white kitten who then somehow managed to escape the trap. Practically unheard of.
The next day Anna re-trapped the hungry kitten and promptly named him after escape artist, Houdini. Turns out he is a she, so she became Dini. Three of the 4 kittens were feral and will be Career Cats, re-homed to properties for rodent control but who receive shelter, daily food and water. Dini, however, went into foster.
So you know how I relocate un-adoptable feral cats to properties for rodent control? Well, last week’s relocation was slightly different. The property owner was referred to me by one of our volunteers so I thought, okay, great.
It’s rare that I know the people I’m bringing cats to. How it works is: they contact us, I get their address then go see if their property is a good fit for ferals. I never give it a second thought. And on second thought, maybe that’s not so smart.When I pulled into the driveway of Steve’s 7 acre spread, I noticed two houses. The one in back, where Steve lives, has an old barn attached that once housed ranch hands nearly 100 years ago. It sits at the end of a long dirt driveway. And as I drove in, I noticed a figure pacing back and forth through the lone upstairs window. Sorta eerie. I have to tell you, the whole scene reminded me of Norman Bates in Psycho. But maybe I’ve watched too many thrillers.
Trapping feral cats for sterilization means encountering something different each day. It’s the fun aspect of this work. Now don’t get me wrong; that doesn’t mean it’s one big party. On the contrary. The list of unpleasantness is long, but I’ll refrain from boring you with most of that.
Needless to say, working with Marin Friends of Ferals has its moments…I’ve broken my finger, been bitten through my knuckle by a kitten barely bigger than my hand, been saturated with poison oak and nearly lost the tip of my pinky from another bite. Scrapes and bruises come with the territory from efforts to spay and neuter feral community cats, yet I love what I do. But as it turns out, love hurts.
One joy of the job includes meeting new people and traveling to places in Marin County (and beyond) where I don’t often venture. For instance, last week a family in Sebastopol contacted us wanting 4 ferals for rodent control on their 5-acre spread. Continue reading →