Friday, November 22, 2019

Following Thansgiving there is Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and then Giving Tuesday with Online Giving worldwide for non-profit organizations.  Donations may be scheduled for Giving Tuesday starting on November 19, at www.northstategives.org  

Roll-over Donations can be made directly to the Shasta Regional Community Foundation from a stock or retirement account and be free of itemized deductions on your taxes; call 530-244-1219 for paperwork information for Roll-overs.

Giving Tuesday donations on Dec 3 allow for possible awards to the non-profit organizations that would not be possible if donated on another day.
Nov 22 update
We don't seem to be able to report on this blogspot very often.  More information gets onto our facebook.com/stillwatercathaven more frequently!  But we do want to update this page at times like right now!

We have been very busy.  It seems this fall we have received  more phone calls regarding an over-abundance of community cats with people desiring to get these colonies under population control.  Most times the call to us is at a point where it would have been better to do something prior to this point in time.  Many of these situations are huge.

One part of the problem is the local Haven Humane Society contracted for Animal Control with the Cities of Anderson and Redding has an inertia to become involved with any assistance; their admonishment is if you feed these unowned cats they have become your responsibility(!), if you don't feed them they will go away(not likely!), and Haven is at capacity and without current ability to help but you may call tomorrow and see if they have room to help (tomorrow results in the same commentary)(!)

We have been so busy we have offered advice and provided traps and info about the TNR process without active trapping of our own.  We have regular traps, and box traps for the more reluctant cats.  There have been many successful efforts with these callers.

Right now Stillwater is primarily focused on two colonies, for trapping and removing them from their current site:

1. Mercury Drive, Reddiing.  A single woman was evicted from her home.  She had been supporting a cat/kittten colony and after the eviction she was returning to her former home in the middle of the night to feed her cats and was sleeping in her car there or at her storage rental.  She died on the floor of her storage unit after only several weeks since her eviction....So sad.

We have partnered together with two other rescuers to trap and remove 22 cats in this colony that no longer receives a caregiver's support in a neighborhood that has no interest in its existence.  One of our partners has a good space we can isolate this group, spay/neuter, vaccinate, and see if we can further tame some for adoption.  We need to find a new home for the others.  We have taken cats to Ferndale for use as Barn Cats and rodent control and we need to find an alternate site such as this.

2.  The Higgins Estate property, Churn Creek Rd. southeast of East Cypress, Redding.  This Colony was 150 plus cats in a program of spay/neuter and return (TNR) by another group.  The colony stabilization was completed in 2017 and was being monitored and maintained.

But there is now a new property owner intent on developing the property, destroying the marginal housing and utility buildings and deciding to ignore the cats.  He said he is assuming the cats will leave as his equipment clears the land and he removes much of the vegetation.  The new owner said we can trap and remove the cats if we can although he doesn't want to us to feed them and encourage them to remain during his efforts(!) He is not a friendly, compassionate individual.

It seems Haven Humane may become involved with trapping at this site and its large population and together we are hopeful we can improve a currently desperate situation.  This will be another large difficult project.  We will need to rehabilitate and discover an alternate location for this        colony also.  Fortunately the majority of these cats have been spayed/neutered.

At this time of year holiday relaxation and good cheer is most appropriate.  Our situation here will result with an ongoing frustration among any celebrations that uncontrolled community cat colonies continue to be discovered and could use our assistance.  Our capabilities are exceeded by the requests  that we are receiving daily.  We could use support, most immediately by giving an online donation on Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2019, northstategives.org, our profile will be listed in the Animals category.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Uncontrolled Community Cat Colonies and some History!!!!

Our local communities are full of cats without owners.  They are everywhere: in community parks, back allies of shopping centers, around fast food restaurants, endemic in trailer parks, abandoned in residential neighborhoods, found anywhere there is a food source and shelter, and anyplace that seems appropriate to drop-off unwanted cats with the assumption that they can survive on their own or someone else will care for them.  There are hundreds of them surviving on the edge of existence, most probably there are thousands.
This population is out of control.  Most unspayed females produce a litter of 4-6 kittens once or twice a year.  And those kittens begin their ability to procreate on their own at 5-6 months of age. This is staggering growth and needs to receive our attention and control efforts.
Stillwater Cat Haven's involvement to monitor and control non-owned communities of feral and abandoned cats and kittens began in the year 2000.  Our first effort was to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and stabilize a colony size living in the Anderson River Park Maintenance Yard; cats there had been allowed to exist until the numbers grew to an unacceptable level and they were then trapped and given to the Haven Humane Society, most likely to be euthanized.  We continued our work and our 501(c)(3) non-profit status developed in 2011.  In 2017 we received a year's TNR Grant from Best Friends for 250 cat spay and neuters which we shared with several partners.  Since our beginning Stillwater has spayed and neutered 1500 cats/kittens which limited the population growth at their community colony locations.
These efforts over the years have helped stabilize and support the non-owned community cat situation in our area, but we have come to realize that the problems of community cat numbers and living conditions exceed our capacity to reduce the overall problem.  Public funding assistance to Haven Humane has been inadequate and results in their low priority and their limited willingness and/or ability to support those involved.
Haven Humane’s current $45.00 feral cat fee for testing, spaying/neutering and giving rabies vaccinations becomes a very significant cost when groups of 10-15 non-owned cats become a target for control. The supplemental feeding and monitoring expenses of neutered/stabilized colonies become significant as the number of locations increase.  These costs require the committment of individual residents and non-profit tax exempt organizations.  Occasionally there can be grant supports, but their inconsistent availability adds to the financial difficulties and an organized progress toward colony control. Greater, consistent government support would be of great benefit to this community problem.
Other communities have begun to address this situation.  Views are changing for the better, from wanting to get rid of all the cats to participating in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) with the responsibility to maintain the colony by providing food and shelter and care as needed.  It has been shown previously that removing a colony or even part of one creates voids for new cats to fill their places and will NOT provide a solution to an increasing number of cats.  Killing them is pointless if replacement cats will be moving in.  Where TNR and colony maintenance are practiced, the cat population is stabilized and relaxed without breeding competition and is healthier because of the monitoring support.  Citizen complaints decrease, and fewer cats are killed in animal shelters.
We need to implement these practices here, find more groups to come help with TNR, and help Haven adapt to the major problems of too many “community cats” by taking in unwanted pets from citizens without the significant fees.  Haven is causing people with limited finances to abandon their pets and add to the community cat population. As Alley Cat Rescue in Washington DC states (www.saveacat.org) “Our animal shelters should assist ALL animals but they often tell people: ‘Don’t feed them. They will go away.’  We have heard this comment occurs currently at the Haven Humane Society.  This is clearly NOT a solution; the cats in search of a new location can be starving and malnourished, and will still continue to have litters.” Trap-Neuter-Return is a preferred answer!!!!!
Haven and the County Animal Control are the only official public agencies with responsibility for animal control and their priority for dealing with non-owned cats are limited, primarily justified by their financial limitations.  While these public representatives struggle with a number of difficult issues greater than uncontrolled community cat colonies, this situation should be acknowledged and given a higher priority and additional financial support.
Written by Don and Joan Neptune, founders of Stillwater Cat Haven, 365-4861 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

November 2017   A year-end review and information regarding the NorthStateGiving day, November 28.

November 28, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a special international online day for giving to non-profit organizations.  The Shasta Regional Community Foundation has created local support for Shasta and Siskiyou County focused on this one day event.  Last year NorthState giving resulted in $750,000 in 14 hours to nearly 100 organizations.  This year  there are 120 organizations, and we are included and asking for financial support.  Visit our Profile located in the Animal category on their Website, www.northstategives.org, and visit our facebook.com/stillwatercathaven for more information.

Our year-end review:
This year seems to have resulted in more activity than ever.  Our springtime example was the rescue of 2 feral moms, each with 5 new kittens in just two days.  Instead of 2-existing feral cats we were dealing with the potential of 12-total members in the community/non-owned colonies.  The numbers developed in those two days, with more birthing happening all over our community, indicate dramatically that our desire to stabilize the community cat population cannot occur with our abilities alone.  We need public education and greater community efforts to improve the impact we have hoped to accomplish.

This year to date we have spayed/neutered 155 cats.  Since our non-profit was formed in 2011 we have spayed/neutered 947 cats.  Since we began in 2000 we estimate 1500 cats have been treated and stabilized from the potential population explosion. This year we received a grant from Best Friends, a national organization headquartered in Utah, which covers $35 dollars of the local $45 expense for feral treatments including spay/neuter, feline testing, and a rabies vaccination.  We have helped numerous individuals and several businesses with this grant support, and have provided traps and training for success in their efforts.

Most of the cats we have spayed/neutered are returned to their community colonies.  When the trap location has disadvantages we have relocated some; two trips to Fortuna occurred this year where they were placed in large dairy barns with hay storage and they help farmers with rodent control.  Kittens from the colonies have been cared for until they have grown to a size they can be spayed/neutered; they normally have become tamed/comfortable with human contact and are adoptable.  We have had too many adoptable kittens available for the population of our area and have taken two trips to a rescue facility near Portland Oregon which has had capacity for our added numbers.

This year we also combined our resources with the City and Anderson and Haven Humane Society, the only organization that receives public funds for animal control operations.  We have been involved in the Anderson River Park with trapping and daily monitoring including supplemental feeding for many years.  Haven agreed to add their resources to the Park and the results added 35 cats to our trapping and spaying/neutering in a months time.  Unfortunately, once our grant from Best Friends occurred Haven declined to continue their cooperative effort, suggesting we had new financial support and our successful effort in the park was less of a priority to their other Haven activities.   

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A 2016 Stillwater Cat Haven year-end review

This Blogspot has served as our webpage.  It is a time to celebrate holidays with family and friends.  It is also time to review our efforts at Stillwater Cat Haven.  We send our best wishes to all who visit our sites and efforts in trapping, spay/neutering, return or relocation (TNR), adoptions, and sanctuary.  Include our facebook.com/stillwatercathaven in your visits; this is managed by a dedicated volunteer, Nanci Sackett, and we have received many positive comments from its visitors; the facebook page is the most current about our ongoing activities.

Our region is full of Community Cat Colonies.  Moreover, most are out of control.  This year has been worse with calls about kittens produced by mothers without human owners.  This occurs under decks in residential neighborhoods and at trailer parks where living under skirting creates population numbers which become intolerable.  Similar places include community parks and open spaces and around trash containers at shopping centers and restaurants.  Few people are concerned until the numbers are too high or the health of the colony is in question.

Involvement to relieve these situation is a mission of Stillwater Cat Haven.  Just recently Haven Humane, the semi-public animal control agency, with the support of the Anderson City Manager, agreed to participate in an attempt to stabilize the community colonies of the local city park, through TNR.  We have been in partnership with this effort, communicating our knowledge of the colonies and helping in the trapping of the feral and abandoned cats at this park.  It is the first time that Haven Humane has offered to be part of community colony trapping and we are hopeful we can expand that commitment to other areas of the city.

Most of the kittens rescued in community colonies are adoptable.  Without our involvement they could be struggling to survive in the wild uncontrolled environments instead of possible adoption into loving, caring families.  Sometimes even those who are too feral to  be pets would be in better conditions than their current situation, such as barn cats helping in rodent control which would include supplemental feeding instead of survival in an uncontrolled community colony.

We have so many cats available right now, we are troubled wondering if all can be place in forever homes.  We have become a partner with Best Friends, a national 'save them all' animal care organization headquartered in Utah.  They developed a December promotion for $25 adoptions and we have used their publication materials to enhance our adoption possibilities.  The $25 is less than half of our costs for spay/neuter and care but if it results in movement of our animals to good homes instead of increasing our permanent population here it is most positive in the result.

Our success is in the statistics we have reported to Best Friends and to Shelter Animals Count.  From September 2015 through September 2016 we completed 222 spay/neuters, 95 adoptions and 125 feral returns or relocations.  We continue to monitor colonies we have worked with by nightly travel to those locations for supplemental feeding and observation of health or new additions to the Colonies.

Since our non-profit incorporation in 2011 through 2015 we reported 792 spayed or neutered cats/kittens.  When including this year's totals and our estimate since our first project of colony stabilization in 2000 until the incorporation there is another 700 cats, for an estimated minimum 1500 total cats that have been provided a better living situation, and kept from procreating a significant additional number.

These efforts carry the burden of  time and expense.  Initially we utilized inherited funds, but now we utilize our own retirement account to augment the funds necessary to continue at our current level of operations.  We do need help to do the work we have, and have agreed to compensate those that commit the significant hours they have.  Their income becomes a valuable addition to their families and a small boost to our community economy.  We have three shift situations; a morning route which visits community colonies we have stabilized and provides supplemental feeding, an evening feeding shift at our facility, and a morning cleaning of the previous night's efforts.  Part-time employees are at 70 hours a week and Volunteer time is approximately 130 hours.

We hope you have interest in our efforts and might consider financial support to Stillwater Cat Haven.  Donations are tax deductible, we are a charitable non-profit with a tax identification 27-4848192.  We would be most thankful for your help.