July 9, 2007

Ferals and kittens, oh my

Posted in animal advocacy, companion animals, feral cats, rescue at 12:19 pm by nevavegan

Here’s what happened this weekend.

We had agreed to trap a feral cat who’d recently had kittens. Our neighbor had taken the kittens to a shelter in Annapolis (where he works) and was trying to get the mother cat in to the shelter as well. He told us the shelter had said the kittens would probably find homes but the mother cat would be killed as a feral on arrival.

We had tried to find someplace for the kittens, but he’d only told us 24 hours before he took them to the shelter. So sadly that all happened too fast.

We then told him we’d trap the mother and take her to the feral clinic. It seemed the best option since having him kill her sounded bad, and the other alternative, that he’d never catch her and she’d keep having kittens also sounded bad.

I made an appointment at the feral clinic and Saturday evening she was in the trap in our tiny 1/2 bath in the basement. Then I decided to walk the dogs.

As I went past the main area where most of the ferals congregate, which is also where the poisonings have occurred, I saw an orange kitten just sitting in the sidewalk. Then nearby I saw two other orange tabby kittens just like him. He didn’t move out of the sidewalk as the dogs and I approached. In fact he just lay there. I was worried he’d been poisoned too.

When I got closer I was able to just scoop him up and carry him in my shirt while still holding the dogs. I took him home. Luckily once he was back at the house he ate some food and drank some water. He still seemed awfully weak.

Then I went back to check on the other kittens. They were stronger, but still totally friendly, not feral, so I scooped them up too. They were so tame I could carry the two of them home with me, about 2 long blocks. So then we had an adult feral in a trap and 3 kittens in the tiny bathroom.

The kittens kept jumping in my lap, but they also had URI and needed some antibiotics. We’re so crowded in our home that keeping infected cats separate is very difficult. Plus, not being with any official rescue group, it’s really hard for us to adopt out kittens. Because of the feral situation Sean said I might really have to take the kittens to the shelter. We felt we could not put them back out, since they were very tame and trusting, and we have a bad person hurting cats in our neighborhood. Also they needed treatment. I cleaned their ears and flea combed them. I found not one flea, and no flea dirt. To me that indicated that they’d been dumped outside that day–it doesn’t take very long for fleas to get started.

It was a terrible night. Crying over the kittens, furious at our stupid neighborhood, and furious at people who dump kittens outside, and furious at myself for thinking I had no options except the shelter. I did some searching online and found that the kittens would have a much better chance at the DC shelter than at our county shelter. So I planned to transport them to the DC shelter when I took the feral in to the feral clinic.

Then I didn’t sleep.

The next morning we all went off to the feral clinic, Sean and I, and four cats. Quite luckily at the feral clinic many of the cat caretakers there wanted to help us. A young man from Homeless Animal Rescue Team was helping with the clinic and made a quick phone call. To our joy HART would take the kittens, so I gave them a donation to help out (yeah, the money I was going to give to Second Chance, but maybe this will force me to sell some art for Second Chance).

So that was a very nice thing.

The downside was that we trapped the feral cat in a brand new, deluxe, really beautiful trap that we’d just bought and someone stole our trap from the clinic, even though we’d attached Sean’s business card to it. I guess the temptation was just too much for someone. Still we really saved no money going to the clinic since it cost us a $100 trap. The clinic said they thought they knew who took it and they’d call him and ask him to give it back. But they wouldn’t give us his information and we still haven’t heard anything. So that was a downer. We bought the nice trap because we thought we might be rescuing a lot of cats. Between that and the donation to HART it was a really expensive day.

Low quality kitten pictures to follow.



  1. animalperson said,

    They are so precious and you’re such an angel for helping them. I once had a handful of ill, contagious DUCKS in my house for a couple of days until I found someone to help them! I’m a huge fan of direct service to animals and contributing to direct service, though sometimes, as you know, you can end up compromising your ideals with those contributions.

  2. Neva Vegan said,

    Aaaaw, poor ducks. Although there is nothing abolitionist about contributing to rescue, at least in this case there are no people on salary. They put out no literature, so it’s not welfarist publications. It’s just direct care for these animals. But yeah, the main reason I made the contribution is that I felt like I should do something since they were taking three kittens who need antibiotics and neutering.

  3. Kat said,

    That was so good of you…wish there were more people in the world like you…what a wonderful world it would be.
    Thanks for caring and not looking the other way.

  4. Rachael said,

    They are so cute…of course all kittens are cute, but yeah. Those are what we officially call “Steves” in this household, in reference to the eventual day that we shall have an orange tabby named Steve. Thanks for saving the Steves of the world.

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