As the New Year approaches I've been thinking of how lucky we've been to continue a TNR program with the Animal Defense League of Arizona. For those who do not know, I've volunteered with ADLA a long time and with the Spay Neuter Hotline almost since its beginning in 1991. You may not know this but over the past several years the Spay Neuter Hotline has been raising money through grants and donations to help pay for spay and neuter of tame and feral cats for those in need. So it seemed like a good idea to have our own TNR program. With the support of ADLA we are on our way to making this the most successful TNR program ever. I am now confident my vision of solving the free-roaming cat overpopulation problem in Maricopa County will become a reality. I become more committed to this cause each day. And every cat counts. Being on the "front lines", I see progress being made each day as I trap more and more already eartippd cats in neighborhoods I thought had never been trapped. I am now confident most people do want to fix their cats, both tame and feral, and only lack the resources to do it. We are making a difference.
I'd also like to thank the late Harry Bartel for his support and encouragement to go forward even in our darkest hour - when we thought there would no longer be a Valleywide TNR program. Thank you Harry for giving us the confidence to go forward...
Grant and I were trapping at three locations for the 1/13 clinic in N. Phoenix. We trapped ALL 14 cats at the first location that night. We did not trap aby cats that night at the second location but when Grant checked the traps early Sunday morning, all three cats were trapped! We never actually trapped at the third location as the cats lived in a hostile neighbor's backyard and the gate was locked. I did not like the idea of leaving traps there anyway. The cats were fed in the alley behind the house and when we met the caregiver, there were no cats in sight. This job would have to wait.
There were 60 cats at the clinic that day and lots of females. We had some new volunteers and everyone worked a long day. Tempe came in light that day and we only did about 110 cats. I say ONLY, but fixing 110 cats at two clinics is not too shabby. There would be a LOT fewer kittens this spring. I'd like to thank everyone who helped at these two clinics.
After cleaning up at the clinic it was nearly 4:00 PM before I got home with the 17 cats needing to be overnighted.. I'd had a lot of supplies to haul including spay packs from both clinics needing to be sterilized during the week in preparation for next week's clinic. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in preparation for the weekend clinics.
Suzie helped me with the release the next day as we'd be working on stats later in the AM. We spend a lot of time working on stats in order to keep good records of how many cats have been trapped and where. It is important to keep track of this data for a lot of reasons, but mostly to show how successful we have been to grantors, donors and supporters like you. After that, I had to pick up 20 traps from some caregivers who had trapped for the clinic on Sunday. This had been a community effort and their community assocation and neighors were supporting the effort financially. It was exciting to see the commitment and enthusiasm of neighbors in a central Phoenix neighborhood. It is amazing what can happen in a community when neighbors band together to help cats. They even invited us to table at their home tour event in the Spring in order to spread the word. I had no trapping job that night - we had finished both jobs...
This night I'd be headed out on an interesting trapping job. As I do not reveal exactly where I trap for obvious reasons, all I can say is this night's job woud be at a very upscale resort in central Phoenix. A guest from California had seen feral cats while eating at the resort's restaurant and emailed me for help. She had already cleared TNR with management after initially wanting me to find homes for the cats. She offered a large donation if I would help them. There were only four cats. I of course, sprung into action due to the incentive of the large donation.
When I got there it became clear this would be a covert operation. The engineering dept. was in charge of the trapping and they had to set traps late at night as they did not want guests to see traps or cats. Even delivery of supplies to the hotel are accomplished before sunrise so guests cannot see trucks. So I became only the transporter. This would mean being on call each morning to pick up cats before it got light - along with all the delivery trucks. At the same time I'd pick up any newly trapped cats. Trapped cats would be left in a hidden location in the morning near the laundry and someone would meet me to release any trapped cats. They ended up catching two cats, one at a time, that week. They caught another cat the following week. As of this writing there is still one more cat to trap, the mother cat of course. I'll keep you up-to-date on this unusual trapping job. Needless to say I'll need to be "on call" each morning, waiting for their call.
I took the one trapped cat from the resort to the vet. The good news is it was a young tortie, a female. That night I had a trapping job with Barbara. Suzie was out of commission as she had company all week. This was a 15+ job in central Phoenix. The caregiver had trapped cats a few years ago but "missed one". The result, more cats needing to be fixed. As luck would have it we trapped all 12 cats that night. There were only 12 cats, not 15+ cats. Funny how some caregivers overestimate the number of cats being fed and some grossly underestimate the number of cats. Could it be that all those black cats and brown tabbys all look alike?
I took cats to the vet in the AM and after running around all day picking up and delivering traps I'd have 12 cats in the garage that night. The neighbor was to set traps at the elderly man's house that night but never bothered to set them. I should have learned by now I should do things myself to make sure they get done. There may be one male left there but he'd be difficult to catch now.
All I had was to release the 12 cats in the morning. I was done for the week.
Suzie and I would be trapping the next night to help fill the Tempe clinic on 12/20. Again, there were a lot of last minute cancellations for Sunday. I am not complaining - I love trapping!
Next week would be a short one due to the Christmas holiday. The vets would be open for business and we were having a special visit from a photographer from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. Stay tuned for some good photos...