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.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Stillwater Cat Haven continues to be amazed and thankful for all of the support that was generated for Boomer, a cat without ownership thrown from a car into the front yard of a home, and suffering with a broken leg.  When taken to the Gateway Veterinary Clinic the X-ray indicated the break and the estimate to repair was $1800.  Stillwater's resources are limited and we feared Boomer might not be treated without a search for community support.  And we found it particularly through our Facebook page, administered by Volunteer Nanci Sackett, from a Red Rover emergency care donation, a significant donation through the Marin County Ferals non-profit, from a posting on the emergency care support website Poundwishes, a local TV report on KRCR, and the great number of individual donors.  These efforts resulted in a request from People Magazine to place Boomer's situation on their pet page of information which generated our hope that additional funding might occur; to date that posting has produced a request from Florida for adoption, but nothing further!

Boomer has been adopted to a super couple who have added information to our Facebook followers about his progress and character.  This episode has been an amazing example of community support and successful medical treatment.  In the Blog previous to this we listed those who have been a part of this effort.  The following is a list of additional supporters which occurred since that posting:

Steve & Peggy Biro               Rosalind Sumner                 Francie Sullivan & Richard Rosenberry
Shay Yohanan                         Sandra Carreiro                  Janet Ballard
J.C, & L.M. McCarthy             Marianne Leopardo            Dr. & Mrs. Chandramouli
Barbara Ball                            Robert Chase M.D.             Allan Furhman
Sandra Davis

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Another bit of Boomer Information and Review
This situation has proceeded as well as we could have hoped for.  Boomer is not a feral cat, he is pleased to have human contact, loves to be touched, and is very handsome.  His operation for the broken leg has gone well.  He currently is in foster care with a vet tech employee at Gateway Vet Clinic where he may become adopted permanently.  He had been taken to the Clinic daily and therefore has had the best of care; he now is being left loose at his current home where he can exercise in rehabilitation rather than be confined in a cage at the Clinic. Doctor Tom is an experienced orthopedic surgeon, semi-retired, and he has done an excellent job with Boomer; his picture with Boomer is one of photos on our facebook page.

It is difficult to understand what transpired prior to our rescue.  Boomer's personality and bond with human contact contrasts with the abuse we were told about; being thrown from a car and having the broken leg defies the relationship that has occurred in our current situation.  We wonder if someone stole Boomer and then threw him out of the car, or.........We wish Boomer could talk about his past!

When we learned of the broken leg and the $1800 cost to treat it we were most troubled.  We were not capable of such an expense on a single animal.  After some thought we concluded we would attempt to find others who would share in the cost and share in saving Boomer's life.  We were a bit surprised at the ease and success of this effort and we want to again express our thanks to each of you who have participated.

The following is a list of those who are a part of this life saving effort.  Unfortunately we do not have the names of those who contributed directly through PoundWishes, the website posting which has generated $660 at this time.  Of particular note also is a $500 donation from Janet Williams, with the Friends of Ferals in Marin County, which is supported by a trust fund.  We also contacted RedRover in Sacramento a website which focuses on emergency vet care support; we received $200 from them which is their max donation amount.  We encourage donations to RedRover to provide additional funds and enable emergency financial support for others.

Other individual donors; and we hope we haven't missed some.  There are some who donated directly to the Gateway Vet Clinic and we aren't sure we have all of those individual names:
Erik Holmquist                            Laurie O'Connell                          Tracy Emerald
Kristen Noe (Chico)                   Janette Pilkington (Hayfork)        Anita DiVincenzo (Chico)
James McMillan (San Diego)   Janet &Canine Crew (Chico)      Judy/Timothy Carter
Jan/Greg Beale                          Rebecca Knight (muliple donations)
Tom Taylor                                  Duane/Kathryn Heiber (Red Bluff)
Trudi Varton                                Carole Berry                                    Jennifer Icenhower
Stacy Goodwin                           Jennifer Bryant (multiple donations)
Jeanne Christopherson             Paul Coxwell                                     Karen Hazeltine
Gail Olmstead                             Lisa Lozier                                        Pam Vansickle
Janet Flanagan

Somewhat amazingly, you all have accomplished the funds for Boomer's treatment.  We continue to need support to maintain our rescue and sanctuary efforts and we are hopeful those that have helped Boomer might consider additional donations and share in all of our future efforts.