Thursday, March 14, 2013

Crouch Cat Roundup

   Last spring, when Mary Wilson was hanging flower baskets for the beautification of Crouch project before the visiting Exergy Tour, she noticed how many stray cats there were around the area. She found out from business owners about the problems with kitties getting into vents under the buildings, causing bad odors.
  Wilson was told that it had been the habit of some people to run an exterminating campaign every two or three years, to control the cat population in Crouch.
  She also noticed that while she would be eating on the deck at the Longhorn, there were cats who would beg—and one in particular attracted her attention, as he was very cute and would always be in the same place. She asked herself, “What will happen to him this winter?”
  When Mary Wilson was a little girl, she had a mama cat, and when Mittens would have a litter, Mary made herself a bed next to her in the laundry room and that was where they both slept. Her concern for cats has never faltered. She Googled “deal with cats” and matching recommendations came up from the ASPCA and Humane Society: Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), on the premise of creating a “Cat Colony”.
  “People don’t realize that if they exterminate the existing cats, a whole new group will move in and it will be a never-ending problem,” explains Wilson. “Males will spray and all the females will keep on having babies. When you establish a cat colony with neutered and spayed cats, they will form their own little “families”, and they will chase away new feral cats.”
  Wilson’s goal is to establish these healthy cat colonies with a group of volunteers to help with feeding, to keep an eye on new cats, and to continue to acquire donations.
  Dr. Keith Ruble, of Cascade Veterinary Clinic, who also has an office in Garden Valley, supports the concept for Crouch. He introduced TNR in Cascade, nine years ago, and it is still successful.   
  Mary Wilson would like to align with Cascade Veterinary so she can accept tax-deductible donations. Having collected $300 so far, she has had sixteen cats spay/neutered, and says, “I am taking photos and putting a book together and starting to track which cats need to be caught.”
  Laughing, she describes one day of trapping: “I was watching a trap with binoculars, because you don’t want to be too close, and I kept catching ones I’d already done. The cats sniff and go in and out—they seem skittish but roll and play with each other.” Some of the cats have been tested and vaccinated and so far, no feline leukemia has surfaced.
  Wilson has appointments for twenty cats in March, at $10 each. By the end of March, she hopes to have forty-five cats of the fifty Crouch cats done. She says businesses in Crouch have been receptive to her plan and she hopes to work with property owners, to have 2’x2’x12” shelters put in place, with nearby feeding stations. A cat “family” of two to four can fit into a shelter, which will heat up to around 56 degrees on wintry nights. These will be fitted into spaces that lead under the buildings, thus blocking the entries and eliminating the odors. Cats don’t do their business where they sleep and eat.
  The trapping process involves particular care in establishing feeding patterns; assessing the status of the cats and their families; synchronizing trapping dates with vets; caring for the cats after trapping; and monitoring them during recovery and after release.
  Wilson says she spends about fifteen hours a week, and the trip to Boise for the neuter/spay process is a ten-hour day. She has been educating herself so she can educate people and now is ready for other residents to get involved—to cover for her, feed on certain days and/or to give donations.


    You can also sponsor a cat for $50 a year—it will be your cat but you don’t have to live with her or him!
  “I also want to encourage people to not drop their litters but to call me. I’m learning what to do with litters to keep them from going feral—when to wean and take away from their mothers and find them homes,” she says. “Please call me, rather than dropping them somewhere.”

  To contact Mary Wilson, call her at 462-3538, or e-mail at ishimary@msn.com
  For more information on TNR, go to www.neighborhoodcats.org or www.alleycat.org.
 

2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great program! I'm on board!

    ReplyDelete