Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pam's TNR Blog November 2015

Friday 27 November

Today was a very sad day...Priscilla Cat had to be put to sleep. She was diagnosed with cancer nearly two years ago but was in remission. A week earlier she started acting odd...eating less, sleeping more, and very lethargic. I took her to the oncologist this week and although the cancer had not returned...the diagnosis was heart failure. After seeing her suffer for several days I made the decision to have her euthanized, probably the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. She was the joy of my life and the reason I became involved in TNR in 2003, the year she was born. Below is my favorite photo of her taken on 27 November, 2009.


Priscilla Cat - 27 November 2009

"Prissy" was found in a woodpile in the summer of 2003 along with three Mama cats and a total of 11 kittens. Two friends of mine and I decided TNR was needed. We called AzCATS and, after repeated attempts, no one called us back. So instead we decided to rescue all of them, thinking they might be adoptable. We all took several for foster including the Mama cats. Prissy was the smallest one and the last to emerge from the woodpile. I fostered several of the kittens including Prissy and adopted her and her sister Liza Jane who were both somewhat feral. All of us adopted a few and some tamer kittens were adopted out including Prissy to begin with. However, I missed her so much I asked her adopter to give her back to me. Thankfully he agreed...

After this experience I decided to become more involved in the rescue community. It was my good fortune to meet Jan Raven of AzCATs at a Maddie's meeting later in 2003 at AAWL. Jan asked me to come to one of their high-volume feral cat clinics in Gilbert. I was hooked! Shortly after this I met Suzie and the TNR program really took off. In 2007 I retired to do TNR full-time. I made a promise that I would be sure everyone who needed assistance - got it. My plan was to put my engineering experience to work to solve a problem I believed was solvable. The results were spectacular. In 2003, AzCATs TNR'd 3,430 cats. In 2008, before we left to begin the Spay Neuter Hotline (SNH) TNR program, we TNR'd 13,049 cats!

I have kept the on-going TNR stats since AzCATs began in 1999. That year, AzCATs TNR'd 360 cats. In 2014, the SNH TNR'd 16,080 cats. From 1999 through this month, 143,751 cats have been TNR'd through these two programs in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Thank you ADLA for continuing this incredible program in 2009.

This is a great achievement and I am so proud to have been a part of it. Today, I am even more devoted to TNR. Over the years I have done TNR as far away as Prescott Valley, Casa Grande, Black Canyon City, Wickenburg, Gila Bend and Aguila. in fact, tomorrow I am headed to Aguila once again to trap a colony of over 80 cats! It is not just about the cats but about the wonderful caregivers (and even the difficult ones) I have met over the years...folks I would never have met otherwise. Many, in fact most, are very devoted to the cats they feed and care for.

A few weeks ago I helped someone who indeed fits the above. I have helped him over the years with TNR at his business and he is devoted to the cats he feeds...so much so he has built an enclosure at his business that provides shelter and refuge for the cats.

Lenny's "Catio"

We are very lucky to be working now with the MidWestern University school of veterinary medicine. Last month they began doing mobile clinics for feral cats! This exciting program provides free Spay/Neuter but also allows students to do community service and hand's on training. Thank you Dr. Kreisler and staff for fixing close to 100 feral cats for the Hotline in the last month.

Midwestern Mobile Nov 2015

Any finally, we were able to help this quintessential Tom cat recently thanks to the efforts of the staff at the N. Phoenix Animal Clinic. It looked like a case of ear mites but turned out to not only an abscess on his ear, but numbers wounds and abscesses on his legs. The clinic cleaned and drained them and gave him a shot of Convenia, a time-release antibiotic. The caregivers had only seen him a few times but he was lucky enough to be trapped.

Tom before surgery

So it is off to Aguila tomorrow to trap. It is a long drive but will give me time to listen to a new audio book - "The Evolution of Everything" by Matt Ridley. You might remember Matt Ridley's previous book "The Red Queen". Well, I feel like I am "The Red Queen" most of the time! But I persist...

If you want to help cats and caregivers in need by donating to The Priscilla Fund, in memory of Priscilla, please email me @: pekalish@gmail.com

The Priscilla Fund has funded TNR for caregivers and cats in need for since 2011, helping more than 5,000 cats in need. Thank you for your support.








Sunday, October 25, 2015

September 2015 Part II

Week of 9/28/15...

It has already been an exciting week! I was going for nine cats on Sunday evening and got 12 cats...all within 1.5 hours. The extra three cats were "the Toms" that hang out next door. Funny that so many caregivers forget to tell me about the Toms. These three were a cinch...went right in with fresh sardines. The other nine, three moms and six kittens were also very easy to catch. Had them all in less than one hour. Below is a photo of the kittens right before they were trapped.


Six kittens before trapping

Te 12 cats were at the vet on 9/28 and I brought them home for aftercare. Later in the evening, Peaches came to pick up her cat and Angelina to drop off a cat. While Peaches was there I showed her my catch and as we looked in to the last trap there was no cat! I could see that it was the only Siamese mom cat that had escaped. Evidence showed that she had pulled in the blue blanket under the trap working its way under the rings on the Tru-Catch trap. I said YIKES! - the garage door was open. So we shut it an searched the garage - no cat. As Peaches was leaving, Angelina came and heard about my plight. I had set a trap out front already. We decided to look again as some newspapers and other stuff had fallen off the shelf in the back corner of the garage. Finally I spotted her on top of a shelf behind a storage box. The cat rodeo began! After attempts to catch her we called in the reinforcements...Bill. He armed himself with the welding gloves as we corralled her into one corner. He grabbed her by scruff and butt and dropped her into a waiting trap on its side. I immediately wired that end of the trap shut. Still I worried all night about cats escaping...all were secure in the AM.

I released them all back early the next morning...below is a photo of the early release. From there I took Angelina's cat to the vet and checked in 18 cats for S/N. thank you Dr. Anderson for being here to help fix all these cats - you are the best!


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pam's TNR Blog September 2015

September 2015

I have TNR'd over 1,400 cats so far this year.  This summer was exceptionally hot and did most of my trapping in the early morning. The swamp coolers ran continuously, struggling to keep the garage cool for the cats. Grant maintains my coolers so I always have a backup in case one fails. Thank you Grant! August 2015 had the highest average high on record in Phoenix.

I took a break in July to visit Costa Rica. The occasion was my Sister's birthday and a yoga retreat. The best part was the "resort cat" that found me and not only slept on my bed but came to our yoga classes nearly every day. I did check and this gorgeous calico cat was indeed spayed. However I saw several males at the resort with testicles! Below is a photo of "Carmen Julia" visiting out yoga class. The view out the window is of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. I enjoyed zip-lining, the volcanoes, hot springs and touring a coffee plantation.

"Yoga Cat" in Costa Rica

Some of the highlights of the last six months follow...

Here is one of the neatest old cats I have ever seen. He is the quintessential older male cat that needed to be fixed. He looks in bad shape but actually he was OK and got neutered and returned to a caregiver who started feeding him at her place as the neighbor did not care for him. He now has a nice place to stay, gets fed well, and has a lot of love and attention.



Neutered at Last - never too late!


The highlight of August a story on Fox News I saw early one morning and my subsequent trapping of cats at this location. Someone sent me a link to a news story and after a trapping job went South, I decided to do some sleuthing in the area. And Voila! I found the house and the cats needing help. so I started the next day and ended up fixing 11 cats. 

I caught some ear-tipped cats that the lady had TNR'd in 2008 and many of the already spayed and neutered pet cats that had been locked out when she died and the husband was placed in assisted living. Fox interviewed the frustrated neighbor who had been feeding the cats. It was a sad situation but not atypical of the TNR business. I have see much worse places with the caregiver still residing at the house. It is unclear what will happen when the house is sold. However, the neighbor is feeding the cats for now. There are still two cats being fed several houses down from here that I need to fix...so far no luck. One happy part of this story was that I recovered three of my traps that had been in the backyard of this caregiver since 2008!



We had a free TNR day in August for feral cats thanks to a grant from PetSmart Charities. I helped organize one of the clinics for 75 cats on 8/6/15 at The North Phoenix Animal Clinic. We had 72 cats in the door with two vets and three techs. Carla and Grant volunteered and it was like old times...as for years we did high-volume S/N for ferals on Sunday's. Below is a photo of the cats in aftercare and waiting for caregivers to pick up. I might mention it was over 112 degrees that day making it even more of a challenge to get those cats trapped and to and from the clinic. I had 108 traps out meaning to success rate was 67%, lower than normal but it was HOT!



Feral Cat S/N Day - August 2015

Kitten season 2015 was one of the busiest I have endured. Spring is always the time when the most kittens are born. This year it was still going strong in August! I am seeing a slowdown now. I was able to get many in for foster and adoption, thanks to Sunday, Christina, Sheila and Peaches...Many kittens had to be fixed and returned as there is no place to go. The biggest problem is that there are simply too many cats and not enough homes for the. Most people who have cats already have too many cats - like me. The litter below I scooped up out of the bushes where I trapped over 15 cats. Mom got trapped, fixed, and is being returned this week. These guys are eating on their own and will hopefully be going to AAWL for adoption. These guys are less than three weeks old as their ears are not quite up. Two of them are Classic Tabbies with white reminding me of my beautiful Priscilla Cat.

Kittens, kittens and more kittens!

Here are more kittens I found earlier in the season. 

More Kittens

For the last two years I ave trapped at three recycling centers. Aside from leaning a lot about this fascinating business, I trapped over 50 cats total at these three locations. did you know that most of this material is shipped to China where they make "stuff" to sell to us? There are LOTs of places for cats to hide out (and have kittens). This is similar to where I trapped a couple of years ago in the defunct poultry processing plant. Below is a photo of the material waiting to be shipped to China at one of the centers on the West side.

r
Recycling Center Trapping

The sad part about 2015 is that I lost my trapping partner. Suzie moved away and I am all alone now trying to manage not only many large trapping jobs but strategizing for the 120 clinics held once a month at the AHS. It used to be fun planning and dealing with cats, traps, trapping, arranging transport and making sure everyone showed up. We normally schedule up to 170 cats for those clinics figuring about a 70% turnout rate. Often last minute cancellations result in scrambling to find more cats and traps to fill the spaces. This was actually an exhilarating experience! Now it seems stressful and frustrating. Still, it gives me a lot of satisfaction when 120 cats show up and all free spaces are filled! Thank you Suzie for the 13 years worked to fix 1000's of cats and help so many caregivers in need...

October is National Feral Cat Month and it is usually my busiest month. I am trapping a 50 cat colony over three days next week. Hopefully I will mee my 2,300 cat TNR goal for 2015. I was lucky to receive a $1,000.00 donation for these 50 cats from a long-time cat advocate. Having read Steve Jobs's, Elon Musk's, Jeff Bezos's and Richard Branson's biographies, I am convinced we can solve the free-roaming cat over-population problem in the Phoenix area. To quote Branson: "The seemingly impossible should be defined as something that should be a lot of fun disproving". TNR can be a challenging and a LOT of hard work but it is rewarding and it can be FUN too!

If you are interesting helping feral cats, donating $$$ to help caregivers and cats in need, or need assistance with cats you are feeding, feel free to contact me @: pekalish@gmail.com

Together we can make a difference in the lives of free-roaming cats!


























Saturday, January 3, 2015

January 2015

2014 Year in Review

WOW! 2014 was a busy year! Below are some 2014 statistics on my own trapping:

Total # cats TNR'd: 2,051 cats 
Largest colony TNR'd - 68 cats (over six days)
Smallest colony - 1 cat
2nd largest colony TNR'd - 46 cats (over two days)
Furthest distance traveled - 70 miles to Whittman round-trip (32 cats TNR'd and eight kittens to rescue)
Approximate miles traveled for trapping/transporting cats - 17,1248 miles (8.33 miles/cat)
Total cats TNR'd (2008 thru 2014) - 13,938 cats (Average = 1,991 cats/year)

Some history...

I started doing TNR in 2003 with AzCATs. That year, AzCATs fixed 3,430 cats. At the end of 2008, when I left AzCATs and began work with ADLA (thank you ADLA for taking us "orphans" in when we had no home), 13,049 cats were TNR'd in the Phoenix Metro area. Since these TNR programs began in 1999 and the end of 2014, over 130,000 free-roaming cats have been spayed and neutered. And ADLA's Spay Neuter Hotline has fixed over 70,000 of those feral cats since 2009. That is over half of the total cats!

One special trapping comes to mind from 2014. Suzie and I were set to trap for two ladies for Dr. Kit's mobile in December. We were to meet at the first place to trap for an elderly lady with nine cats. I got there early and took the photo below. Suzie arrived 10 minutes later and I already had caught seven cats! I would like to thank Dr. Kit for hosting the free mobile clinics i 2014 for feral cats.

Nine cats on Melvin


The second job was challenging as the caregiver fed the cats on the sidewalk in front of her house. We ended up catching a total of 13 cats over two night but this required a lot of watching and waiting as traps could not be left out unattended. Still, we caught ALL the cats at both places. I did, however, find another colony of cats on the next street behind this place and thee are LOTs of cats there. I have still not had a response to the notes I left at three house on the street.

I would like to share a wonderful story about my dear friend who traps in Pinal County and drives in to Phoenix to take cats to the vet for S/N. Below is a photo of a cat she adopted from one of the colonies she trapped. This cat had been fixed but developed an eye problem later. She went back and drop-trapped her and brought he to the N. Phoenix Animal Clinic to have the eye removed. She recovered at my place and I returned her the next day. Ruth had recently lost two of her older cats and thankfully decided to adopt this beautiful Tortie. Now she is part of their family instead of one one 40+ feral cats in a colony living outside. Despite only having one eye she is doing great and is very lucky to be in a loving home and out of the cold. This girl was truly a Thanksgiving cat!
Thanksgiving Cat!

Below is a photo of a place many a trapper can identify with. Here I sit, waiting for a mother cat and kittens to come out under the fence of a MHP and go under the drop trap. They eat on the concrete in front of the trap. I did manage to get a wandering neighborhood tomcat wandering by but no mom or kittens despite repeated attempts at different times of the day. I often wonder why I do this...sitting is a place like this for hours trying to cat these difficult to catch cats. I think it is the satisfaction of outsmarting them or maybe just the thrill of trapping which is a big part of what motivates me. I still have not caught these illusive cats at this place and mom has had several litters...April will be here soon! The photo is a little difficult to see as it was taken from my phone in the sun.

Drop-trapping


Now here was a trapping nirvana. Suzie and I worked together and trapped 46 cats, mostly in one night. It took two days to get them fixed because the vet was very busy. The caregiver said there were about 20 until she called me the day before and said she counted 46! Planning is everything in this business. That goodness Dr. Anderson is flexible...We trapped 40 cats in about two hours and six more overnight and the next night. These cats were just waiting to be trapped and cooperated perfectly...(see below)

46 cats waiting to be fixed!

Here is Suzie getting more traps out of her vehicle with a sidewalk full of cats already trapped. We just could not bait fast enough for these cats!what a team.

 40 cats and counting!


And finally the release on the second day of the last cats! Lots of dirty taps and covers to wash...but we competed the colony and none of these cats will be reproducing this Spring.

Release completed!

And finally, I want to thank Suzie and all the volunteers, caregivers, donors and supporters for their help in 2014. Without you none of this important work would be possible. I am especially grateful to those who helped us raise over $4,500 during our annual yard sale. This money is being used to help those needing financial assistance for fixing their colonies. The sale was a great success and many individuals donated items and we had some wonderful volunteers who helped with sorting and the sale. 2014 with a great year and I am looking forward to many more challenges and successes in 2015...the following photo speaks for itself!

2014 yard sale

Finally I would like to than Dr. Anderson and the wonderful staff at the North Phoenix Animal Clinic for fixing all the ferals for us. You guys are the best! I love seeing Dr. A's smiling face when we show up with 46 cats and they get done all in one day! And thank you Erin, my favorite vet tech, for fostering so many kittens for caregivers I assist. You always take the ones needing the most care and attention and all of them have found good homes. You truly care bout cats...

Below is a photo of what the clinic looks like when we bring in 46 cats...


46 cats at the clinic!


...and a first! Someone brought a feral cat to the clinic in a barrel. I can truly say "where there's a will there's a way". Cat had to be netted but it was a tortie and needed fixing.

Cat brought to clinic in a barrel


If live in the Phoenix Metro area and are feeding or know people feeding free-roaming, primarily feral, cats, help is available. Please call the Spay Neuter Hotline @ 602-265-7729 (SPAY). Feel free to also email me @: pekalish@gmail.com. Thank you for helping the cats!