This post is being edited to sit at the top of my journal for a while, it was originally written May 27, 2010 and will be updated as events progress. I figured this would make it easier for people to find and point to and track if you so desire.
Long story short, I got involved in this because two tortoiseshell female kittens (roughly six to eight weeks old at the time?) got into the ductwork of my house in the winter and took up residence. I pulled a grate up in the bathroom and provided them food and water, but couldn't capture them and take them in because the roads here get impassable in winter sometimes. I had no idea female cats went into heat as young as five or six months, so was quite alarmed when I noticed them getting pudgy, and a few weeks ago they both had litters in my bathroom. (one of them will interact with on a small level, but is still rather wild. The other wants nothing to do with me.) So....I am trying to get the mothers and their children spayed/neutered (spuetered) and find homes for the kittens as I'm actively working with them to domesticate them. The mamas however, will never really be "pets", sadly, they were on their own for way to long.
A meeting was set up by a lively lady named Marian who lives not to far from the complex I live in regarding what to do about the feral cats. She is very active working with a group called S.P.O.T.S. Here is what I found out at the meeting and what a few of us here in my housing area have decided to do.
Apparently what I was told about the local humane shelter or whatever it is was wrong. They will NOT take in any cats, not even kittens. They do have some sort of reduced fare for shots/spaying but you have to take the cat back.
Marian has something set up with a vet out in Cloverdale where she can bring in cats and they will give them their rabies shot (law says they have to have a rabies shot for the vet to do ANYTHING) and will spay/nueter (speuter) for a nominal fee, I think 25 dollars total, shot, surgery and recovery for a couple of days.
They operate on the trap/speuter/return concept. A feral cat really can't be turned into a house pet no matter how much you really wish you could. Basically, we will be bringing the cats back to this area, certain people will set out food for them and provide small shelters (old dog houses, etc) for the cats to stay in, and just kind of keep an eye on them. Trying to domesticate them just results in a lot of heartbreak and often a cat that will become so terrifed it will injure itself trying to get back out to the wild and what it knows.
The eight kittens I have in my home however I REALLY do want to try and find homes for. I can't see putting them out at eight weeks and just speutered. I am disabled however and minimal income which really doesn't even support me, I get assistance from my family. I will keep them until they are at least roughly six months old (not sure how I'm going to feed them but I can probably get a couple of the other people here involved in helping me out there, we can buy a huge bag of feed from the tractor supply company) and anyone I haven't been able to find a home for I will gradually introduce back to the outdoor living thing. I really don't want to do that, if there was any way I could keep them...but I live in a tiny three room modular house, my garage has more space than my house...and financally I can't afford the food and cat litter.
There are something close to 130+ ferals here in the very small homeowners association I live in. A few of us are going to be trying to catch them and turn them over to this lady to get them spayed and then re-release them, I suggested she get a homeowner to sponser her giving a speech at the next POA meeting outlining this plan and request donations and for people to set up the traps she will proved. I told her though, dear god, don't get into talking about COMPASSION for these animals, no one here will care, they'd rather trap them and DROWN them or shoot them. Talk about the BENEFITS it will provide them. Pest control without increasing cat numbers, that within a couple of years the cat population will dwindle to very few, outline the rabbit math of how cats go into heat every six months and with an average of four kittens and there usually being mostly female adds up to a lot of cats very rapidly plus the danger of rabies, the fact that lot of the homes here are trailers or modular homes and cats get under them and tear up the insulation and duct work, they poo in people's flower beds, etc etc etc so reducing the population in this manner STILL gives us protection from mice, rats, voles etc but since a feral cats life span is only a few years usually, it will rapidly reduce the population to a reasonable number!
I have no way to contribute money, but told her I would post here and other locations and boost the signal and try to find folks who won't mind sending in five bucks here, 10 bucks there...whatever they can.
I am familiar with a lot of hideous people who have pulled stunts like "my cat was set on fire and I can't pay her bill" and getting massive donations and it was all a scam. (I'd really like to swat her, HARD) I've been on LJ for years, many people on my list know me personally and have known me for years, I'm not some silly teenager acting on a dare..I'm a 43 year old disabled woman living in rural Indiana who is a big sucker for animals. (and they know it.) I'm willing to provide proof in many forms for those who are skeptical.
I will post the woman's email and phone number if people want to verify with her.
The womans name is Marian "Patience" Harvey, her number is 765 522 3506, she gave me permission to provide this information to you, so please don't anyone start yelling about TOS. She is THRILLED at the idea of having people call and verify this and that I am getting this out on the net.
She can give me copies of reciepts from the SPOTS org that I can scan and post as each cat is taken care of. I will endeavor to get a before and after pic of each cat so that you can see that they truely have been taken care of.
A number of people on my flist and on other peoples posts where I have mentioned my kitten escapades have offered prior to this to contribute to spuetering the kittens I have. I can provide my paypal address for anyone who wishes to contributein that manner just please leave a comment in this post and I will IM you with my paypal account.
You can write out a check and send it directly to SPOTS yourself if you wish.
The organization is called "S.P.O.T.S. ( can't remember what the acronym is for) The Clinics number if you wish to verify with them is 765 795 4336. Thier email is email@example.com, thier website is www.seespot.org. Please leave a comment or IM me if you send a check so I can let them know it's coming in, who it's from and which animals it's for. You can make out a check directly to S.P.O.T.S As the Payee, for whatever you wish to donate, EVERY little bit adds up. Please put in the notation area that is is for the "montefund Vanbibber colony-Michelle" so that the money will go to the right area for the cats we bring in. Initially donations coming through me will go to take care of the two mamas and babies that I have, then everything after that will go towards the catch/speuter/return ferals in the area.
If by some miraculous event we manage to catch them all, we will either close down the speuter program, (probably hold a bit more money back as often there are cretins who will take a load of kittens and drive them out to this general area and DUMP them....grrrr) or if people wish to continue helping the Van Bibber Feral Pride as I've taken to calling them, the money will go towards creating feeding stations that we will make attempts to keep the recoons and opossums out of XD and for the cat homes we are going to try and set up. (sort of like bat boxes or bird houses, we're going to try and put up old dog houses or construct other places to give them safe and warm places to stay and hopefully discourage the whole "getting under houses and trailers and wrecking the underside" process.
I will keep the eight newborn kittens and endeavor to home them at least until they are older and more capable of fending for themselves before setting them outside. I hate to do it, but being disabled and with very limited funds and very small house I can't keep eight cats indefinitely, no matter how much I'd love to be a crazy cat lady :)
So basically, over the next few weeks I'm looking for donations to help spueter the mamas and the babies once they are old enough, and people to home the eight kittens.(who have always been in my home and are not feral like the mamas, I handle them regularly trying to socialize them. Even my little old dog loves on them and lets them crawl over her, though she gets a bit unnerved when they try to nurse!) So the cats will also be familiar with at least small old dogs, and litterbox trained.
I already have a very old cat and a very old dog, I could probably swing caring for 1 more furred overlord XD.)So I may wind up keeping one myself, but even that's going to put a stretch on my finances.
PLEASE NOTE ONCE AGAIN, this is very important, I am NOT trying to home the adult ferals we are trying to trap/speuter/return, it would not go well. We are just trying to make sure they have a better living environment and curb the population.
Please pimp this message, pump up the volume, boost the signal...however you want to put it. I also have a link to the "puddle o kittens" photoset on Flickr. puddle o kittens If you know anyone in the mid western area of Indiana who would like to adopt one of these guys in roughly nine weeks, send them here. I can't drive very far, but will make an attempt to up to 50 mile trip to Indianapolis if need be, I'm willing to meet people and bring them the kittens, my only requirement is that they are speutered either by the service or by the persons vet and that they prepay the vet and bring me a receipt as notice of intent to spay.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and whether you just pass the link on, donate, or send will wishes and hopes and prayers for good luck our way it is all appreciated.
EDIT UPDATE MAY 31 We've got enough money in already to spueter two of the cats and a promise for more to help towards the rest. I'm really hoping I can get enough together by the time they are all old enough to get them done all at once. Thank you so much guys, for pinching and helping these guys!! Please keep pimping to your friends in the midwest area who might like kittens, I'm working hard with them to get them lovey and sweet for someone to adopt! (and then break my heart!)
EDITED UPDATE JUNE 1 I've now gotten enough money through paypal to take care of four of the 10 kittens (that's counting the mamas) so we are roughly a 1/3 of the way there already! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to take them all in at once. Thank you so much guys!!
EDITED UPDATE JUNE 2 We are now up to 155 for the Puddle fund, + some really good flea stuff so they little guys don't get sick and itchy! That is six cats out of the ten taken care of and it's just amazing me. You guys are so awesome :)
EDITED UPDATE JUME 3 We are now up to $225 in the Puddle fund! THATS NINE CATS FOLKS!!! Just need to get enough for one last cat and all the little stinkers in my house are spuetered and those much closer to having homes!!
You people are all totally amazing and made of win, and I thank you so VERY VERY MUCH! (the kittehs do too!) I'd really like to post names of everyone whose contributed because you totally deserve to be honored, but have held off of it on the odds that not everyone wants people to know they will hand over money, especially in today's economy....which just makes you guys that much more awesome, pitching in to help out when money is so tight everywhere. So you know who you are and I am so VERY grateful to you all!! Kitty kisses all around!