It took just two phone calls and one site visit by two SCC volunteers to understand the enormity of the situation a colony caretaker was experiencing. The first phone call came from a Castaway Critters volunteer whose son had brought home a very sick kitten he had rescued that day. The second phone call came from the colony caretaker himself pleading for help. These two phone calls led to SCC arranging a site visit to assess the situation and to put a plan into action. Our guesstimate — 30 cats and kittens. SCC instructed MH (the colony caretaker) on how to set the traps and provided him with 20 traps. At 8:30 on that very hot Sunday morning, SCC received a frantic phone call from MH telling us that “all the traps were filled . . . some with 2 and 3 kitties in each.” Our response: three SCC volunteers drove to the “cathouse,” loaded our vehicles with more traps, dropped off the empty traps and hauled the filled ones back to our facility. By noon, those traps were filled, so we dropped off more traps and picked up more cats. By Monday evening, there were more than 60 cats in our facility, most of them from this colony. After 3 more nights of trapping, we had 90 cats in the building . . . 60 cats were from his colony alone, with the last two trapped on Tuesday evening. Those two were approximately five-week-old kittens. According to MH, he had no idea of how many cats he had been feeding!
Our next step was to assess the health of these cats. There were two Siamese cats that were blind. Arrangements were made and they went into a local rescue. There were a number of very small kittens that were no more than 5-6 weeks old. Three local rescue programs — Castaway Critters, PAWS and Compassionate Hearts — came to their rescue. SCC handled the spay/neuter and medical care, the rescues did the rest — fostering the kittens and finding them “furever” homes. Some of the kittens were too ill to be spayed/neutered, and a number of volunteers stepped up and fostered them until they were healthy and were ready to go into a rescue operation. Out of the 60 cats, only 35 were returned to the colony. But, the best news is that after two years, no more kittens.
Working together — TNR groups, animal rescue operations, local governments, people willing to volunteer their time and energy, people willing to donate to causes such as TNR — more success stories such as this one can be realized. Please consider volunteering your time and energy to a local TNR organization or rescue organization near you. They always need help and will welcome you with open arms.