Thursday, December 15, 2011

Claire's Cat Snaps: Cat Nips and Ear Tips! (Repost)

Claire's Cat Snaps: Cat Nips and Ear Tips!: I am very glad to notice that some of the cats that visit our garden now have their ears nipped. For me, this means that neither myself or ...

Cat Nips and Ear Tips! (Repost)

This is a repost of something I wrote months ago.

I am very glad to notice that some of the cats that visit our garden now have their ears nipped. For me, this means that neither myself or my neighbour are the only ones caring for the feral cats in our immediate area.

For those who don't know, if you see a feral cat with the tip of it's ear nipped, it usually means they have been neutered or spayed and cannot reproduce.  This denotes that they are part of a managed colony.  They have been trapped, neutered and released by some kind human souls.

They will usually look like the cat in the picture on the right.  I am delighted when I see this, as it means there are other people out there recognising the plight of the feral feline population and doing something to stop the reproduction of unwanted kittens.

Some consider this ear tipping practice to be a little extreme and suggest something like micro chipping. They don't consider that chipping is expensive and that this money could be better spent on neutering and spaying. The money that is coming out of the pockets of people like myself and my neighbour to curb the feral cat population in the name of compassion. I think it is a great idea as it is a reliable and obvious way to tell if a cat is spayed or neutered. It can save a cat from being taken to a shelter and put to sleep if no homes can be found and if scanning hasn't been done.  It can make it obvious that the cat is part of a managed colony and so being taken care of.

The cats that are looked after by myself and my neighbour, however, although they are neutered, do not have this ear nip.  We had hoped that we could get collars onto the cats while under anesthetic and this would show that they were done.  However, although we managed to get the collars on, getting them to stay on is another matter entirely! So far, out of Bubbles, Scribbles, Molly, Dolly, Pepe, Boris and Trixie, only Bubbles has retained her collar.

I worry that someone, not realising that they have been neutered and are being looked after by us, will try to get rid of them.  I have even considered trying to trap them again purely to have their ears tipped so that hopefully, they will be left alone. I wonder if this is something that I should do? .....


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Swings, Cats and Sadness

There are lanes at the back of our houses. Years ago, they would have been used by residents as a short cut to shops, schools and bus stops.  Then gangs of youths started to claim them for anti social behaviour, and a stop was put to this practice.  Everybody suffered, as the residents felt they had no choice but to have the lanes closed down. Nowadays, they are the main living area for the feral cats that live here.

We moved into this area four years ago.  We loved it immediately.  The quirkiness of the houses, the mixture in age groups, the private back gardens, and yes, the back lanes. And for me, the fact that there were cats around.  I knew my husband would not let us get a cat but I figured he wouldn't be able to object to me befriending the ones already in existence!  And I also knew that they were feral and that I could probably help them.  I have always loved animals.  I would rescue cats and dogs from an early age and take them home. My poor mother was scourged with me begging her to let them stay. I spent my pocket money on buying them treats and looking after them. My father loved them as much as I did so there were never any objections from him!

Back to my story...... We were assured by neighbours that there had been no anti social behaviour in the lanes for years.  And indeed, up until recently this seemed to be true.  As nobody uses the lanes,and we have a gate  that opens out on to it, we decided to make an old fashioned swing for my son. The gnarled old tree with strong branches growing across the walls seemed to be inviting us to do it.  First, we spent a couple of days cleaning the lane of debris and grime. It seems that people were using it as a dumping ground. I can't recall everything we had to get rid of but old electrical goods, dirty blankets, old toys made up some of the rubbish. It was a dirty job but we cleaned it all up and put up the swing.

My little son was thrilled.  Going into the lane is like a big adventure for him. There are some old bricks out there discarded from a building project, so we built them up to make seats. We also put a few lanterns in the trees to make it more exciting.  Indeed, I was enjoying it as much as my son and we spent many happy days there in the summer. We left enough space so that if any of the residents did want to walk down the lane or share the swing, there would not be a problem.  We were not intending to take it over as we had heard there were problems in the area, in the past between neighbours about this.

Sadly, last Saturday, we discovered that somebody has vandalised our little den. The swing has been burnt, along with my sons plastic animals and the wee lanterns  are smashed.  There is no evidence of people drinking out there as there are no cans or bottles left behind.  There are really high gates at all the lane exits, so it would have been difficult for anyone to climb over.  We are not sure how long ago this happened because we haven't been in the lane since September.

Two of our feral kittens disappeared a little while ago and I am just hoping that the two incidences are not connected.. ...  I have a horrible feeling that they are but I hope that I am wrong.

Last night I spoke to a fine gentleman who does lots of work rescuing and neutering feral cats.  He spent all day yesterday, from early morning until late at night, ferrying cats to and from places.  He is not working at the moment and is using his time to help these unfortunate animals.  He does as much as he can with the limited resources that he has.  He was upset when he spoke to me as, after a long day trying to do good work, he came out to find his car had been vandalised.

I couldn't help but go to bed feeling sad last night. There is so much indifference and cruelty towards other humans and to the animals in the world.  There are people out there trying to help in big and small ways so it's disheartening to know that there are others who act in mindless and violent ways, usurping their efforts.

I feel sad about stuff like this but I try to maintain a positive attitude.  I prefer to think that there are more of us than them and that kindness and compassion and intelligence will win out in the end....

(ps) Excuse the formatting. For some reason, I can't get the paragraphs to align!

(PPs) If you are looking for something to do on Saturday 3rd December check out and give your support.  Also check out for more information on how you can help the plight of feral cats.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two Kittens have Disappeared

We haven't been having much success trapping any of our feral kitties lately.  It seems they have become wise to the trap.

We had planned to trap Boris and Pepe, two of the males next.   Boris is a clever one.  He goes in to the trap, sometimes managing to stretch his paw and claw some food out, then reverses out again before tripping the door.  Since we have had the females done, Boris seems to be seeking female company elsewhere and we rarely see him now.  He turns up each evening for feeding and then goes off again.  At least we know he is still alive and well.

Pepe will not go anywhere near the trap, even when we don't feed him for a while.  He just sits and looks at it, doubtless thinking up ways to get the food without getting trapped. Either way, he doesn't seem unduly bothered.  He knows we won't let him go hungry for too long.

Sadly, of the three kittens that Dolly produced in September, two have gone missing in the past week or so.  We are really sad about this as one of them had become particularly friendly and allowed us to handle her.  My neighbour discovered she was female after trapping her and taking her to the vet to get her eyes looked at. She was treating her with antibiotics and eye drops when she suddenly went missing along with her sibling.  We are hoping that someone has adopted them or trapped them for rehoming.  I dread to think of the alternative scenarios.  It's quite sad to see Dolly and her one remaining kitten looking a bit bewildered about the whole thing.  Dolly is at my door more often and even comes in now.  But I think this is only because she thinks we may have her kittens inside.  We were actively looking for homes for the three
kittens but were going to hold on to them ourselves if we couldn't find homes.

I hope nothing bad has happened to them.  They live a wild life out there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Petition for funds for Irelands Feral cats

We call on Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney to, as a matter of priority, make funds available immediately to cat rescues in Ireland to carry out a free comprehensive trap/neuter/return programme for feral/stray/homeless cats in Ireland in order to avoid future kittens ending up like Lorcan. (Read about him at the petition link)

We also ask for urgent legislation to protect cats in Ireland who are presently regarded as vermin, treated like pests, hated by many of the population and suffer unimaginably as a result.  This CANNOT be allowed to continue.   

From Garden Cat to House Cat - sort of!

This cat is Bubbles, one of the tamest of the feral cats in our gardens.  She is the only one who has kept her collar and the only one who allows us to handle her.  She will accept only a certain amount of handling and when she has had enough, she has had enough.  She doesn't like to be held but likes to be patted or just to sit on someone's comfortable lap.  This video was taken today on one of her visits to our kitchen. 


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Feral Cats and Photographs

Hi there.  I am starting this blog to share my photos of the feral cats in our garden.  I love to look at other people's cat snaps so I hope others will love to look at mine. The first photos I want to share are at the end of this post.

I also want to raise awareness about the plight of feral cats. When we moved into our house four years ago, there were quite a few ferals in the neighbourhood.  I fed them and made sure they had shelter in our shed but some of the neighbours didn't like them and had some of the cats taken away. I found this very upsetting as I had become attached to them.

This inspired me to take proper action to curb the feral cat population and to take better care of the remaining cats.  With the help of my next door neighbour, and after borrowing a cat trap from one of my petsitting customers, we set to work.  So far we have had two females, Bubbles and Molly and one male, Scribbles, spayed, dewormed and deflead. The local vet has agreed to charge us the charity prices for the procedures.

Next, we hope to get Dolly done as she has produced four kittens this summer, then Boris, a male and then the four kittens.  Hopefully, once this has been done, we can keep the population confined to what it now is. If we cannot home the kittens we will have 9 cats and 3 visiting cats to take care of. Hopefully, the other neighbours will realise that the cats are spayed and cannot reproduce and are being looked after. Thankfully, they spend most of their time in mine or my neighbours garden because I live in fear that someone will take it upon themselves, without discussion, as before, to have them removed.  I know that some people don't like them hanging about in their gardens and doing what cats do.  I am aiming to keep everyone happy along with the cats! We have asked the vet to put collars on the cats while they are under sedation but so far, only one cat, Bubbles has been obliging enough to keep her collar on! I would love to get them micro chipped but at the moment all funds are needed for spaying and deworming etc

The cats have had shelter up until now in our garden shed.  The door of the shed is so old that the bottom fell off, leaving a convenient space for the cats to go in and out! However, as we will soon be doing renovations and building an extension, the shed will no longer exist.

Today, we went to the local petshop to buy a kennel so that they will continue to be comfortable.  We managed to purchase a very large kennel with front and top opening for easy cleaning.

Thankfully, my four year old son is following in my footsteps when it comes to the cats as my non cat loving husband thinks we are completely crazy!  My mother also thinks we are mad as she wouldn't dream of spending money on feral cats. I, however, feeling completely sane, think the cats have as much right to live as we have.  I don't smoke, I rarely go out at night and I don't buy lots of unneccessary things so, it's up to me, if I choose to save the cats. Don't you agree?

Interesting site to check out on this subject at
Bubbles and Scribbles, brother and sister
Beautiful Boris

Bubbles in her favourite spot, the flower basket which she thinks hubby put up especially for her!

Don't Worry, Be Happy.  My motto not very appropriate here as this cat was taken away