Many well meaning folks "rescue" socialized cats and kittens every year. Unfortunately they may be setting the cat, its future off spring, or other cats exposed to them to some future pain, suffering and even death. Some rescuers will refrain from taking the cat/kitten to the shelter or humane society for fear it will be euthanized because "their facility is full". However, taking a socialized stray out of the middle of the highway may save its life today, but dropping him off at a friend's barn or some pet stores may be a death sentence tomorrow.
Many "rescuers" do not test for FeLV/FIV first, neuter the cat before adoption, or screen new adoptive homes. To truly rescue the cat/kittens and not unknowingly add to the overpopulation problem, it will take some financial resources, and patience. Getting several concerned people (neighbors, vets, friends and local animal welfare organizations) to help you with the rescue will not put the total burden on you. Once you have chosen to truly rescue and find a home, the following steps will help you provide a safer future for your rescued cat.
1. Isolate cat/kitten immediately until he/she has been tested for FeLV/FIV. Cats who are infected do not always appear sick and could be "carriers" of the viruses, which in turn could infect exposed and even vaccinated healthy cats. Educate yourself regarding these viruses and the limitations of the tests. If the cat tests positive, there are several options. (Look for a loving indoor home with an owner who can and will responsibly manage the illness properly or euthanize the cat due to the risk of infecting others). Many professionals and welfare organizations have different opinions regarding the FeLV/FIV tests and euthanizing positive cats. You should not, however release a cat/kitten that has tested positive (or unneutered) back outside into the community. Once your kitty appears healthy (physically as well as in behavior) you should be able to proceed to the next step quickly.
2. Neuter! Please have all cats/kittens neutered before adopting him/her out. Studies show that many of unneutered cats/kittens adopted out never get neutered, only contributing to the present cat overpopulation crisis. Kittens can be neutered as young as 8 to 16 weeks. Find a veterinarian who has experience and routinely performs early ("juvenile") neuters/spays. You may also choose to vaccinate. This will help the cat/kitten build up its immune system while you search for a new loving home. Unvaccinated cats, especially kittens, are highly vulnerable to upper respiratory illness. A sick animal is not easily adopted.
3. Be Patient. Adopt to loving indoor homes. Wait for that adopter who will care for that lucky cat as much as you have. There are Adoption Guidelines with tips on how to screen for good adoptive homes and sample adoption contracts available at bestfriends.org/nmhp/resources.html#adoptions or petshub.com.
4. Support local pet stores who assist animal rescue organizations with their adoptions. PetSmart is one good example. Other stores may take in stray/homeless cats/kittens for free, give them basic vaccinations that cost them very little, only to turn around and charge the new owner $40-$50. Many of these cats have no records of being tested or neutered nor does the store follow adoption guidelines. This only fills their pockets with profits and does nothing to ensure the cat's future nor helps the community cat overpopulation problem.
If you find you are not able to follow through with this plan or find a contact who is a seasoned rescuer, an animal shelter or animal welfare organization would be the best placement. Finding adoptive homes can be very exhausting, but very rewarding once this has been accomplished.
Thanks to all those who take that extra effort to truly rescue and find cats/kittens "forever homes". At times, it feels overwhelming, but you are making a difference, one kitty at a time.
Presentors: Teresa Lynn and Lisa Frigge, MCHS
Organization: Miami Co. Humane Society
a) Educate about the TNR technique
b) Provide local support (low cost neuter services)
c) Encourage grassroots networking
Questions, feedback and discussion at end of workshop.
2. Viewing of two Alley Cat Allies DVDs (approx: 34 mins.)
“The Humane Solution: Reducing Feral Cat Populations with TNR”, and
“TNR: A Humane Approach to Feral Cat Control”
3. “Basic Facts” List
a) Free Roaming cats in Ohio are not protected.
b) A Queen can have up to 3 litters in one season. (early and late spring, fall)
c) A Queen can have up to 8 kittens per litter. (possible 24 kittens/season)
d) Feral cats do not make good pets and are not adoptable.
e) Feral queens teach their kittens to be feral.
f) Female Kittens can “go into heat” as early as 4 mos.
g) Female Kittens can give birth as early as 5-6 mos.
h) Kittens can be spayed/neutered at 3 lbs./2-3 mos. (juvenile neuters)
i) Queens can get pregnant while still nursing the last litter.
4. Trapping Golden Rules: (Test, Left Ear Tip, Neuter, Rabies Vaccine)
a) NEVER release any cat (stray or feral) without neutering first (Lactating female exception).
b) Always ask property owner for permission to trap.
c) Always Left Ear Tip neutered feral cats.
d) Return feral/stray cats to site only if there is a willing caretaker who will provide 1.) Daily Food, 2.) Water, 3.) Shelter, and 4.) Monitoring
e) NEVER release any cat to another site without: Screening site, Testing/Kenneling, and Rabies vaccine. Releasing a cat to another site should be a last resort.
f) Neuter Male Cats too. (Takes Two to Tango)
g) Kennel (confine) Queens with small kittens while they nurse.
5. Local Successful Efforts (Union Twp. TNR Program/MCHS)
Team: Volunteers, Vets, Community, Businesses, Gov. (Donations/MCHS)
LOCAL CAT SPAY/NEUTER SERVICE RESOURCES
MIAMI CO. Residents
1. The Miami Co Animal Shelter and the Miami Co. Humane Society cosponsor the NOMAD Mobile Unit, which will spay/neuter any cat (feral/stray/pet). Call MCAS at (937) 332-6919 for details. (No lactating, overly pregnant queens or sick cats please)
2. MCHS SPAY/NEUTER PROGRAMS
a) Miami Co. Humane Society Cat Program (b>Ferals Only). Contact Teresa Lynn at (937) 623-0176.
b) $15 off Spay/Neuter Coupon Program. Any dog/cat neutered at a Miami Co.Vet. Contact (937) 339-9955.
c) Low Income Spay/Neuter Program. Any dog/cat neutered at a Miami Co. Vet. Must meet low income criteria. Contact: (937) 339-9955.
MONTGOMERY CO. Residents
1. Gr. Dayton Humane Society (937) 268-7387
2. SICSA (937) 294-6505 (Services multiple counties)
3. PET ADVOCACY (937) 278-8330
SPAY NEUTER CLINIC (for profit/privately owned: low cost neuters for cats/dogs)
2300 E. Kemper Rd. Suite #1
Sharonville, OH 45241
Call (513) 772-1091 for details
Alley Cat Allies: www.alleycat.org
MCAS: www.co.miami.oh.us/. (Click on Services)