Monday, January 3, 2011

To Drive the Cold Winter Away

One of the best bits about being retired is being able to appreciate the beauty of waking up to a winter wonderland instead of worrying about getting into work on unplowed roads.  
What's NOT to love ... its so soft and peaceful here when it snows ... and of course, when we come back inside there is a cozy fire and a full pantry.
Sadly... all around Nova Scotia... there are stray and feral cats who do NOT have that and who will have difficulty surviving the winter without help from the animal loving community. 
Winter is the worst possible time for these little survivors.  Natural food and water sources become scarcer at the very time that the cats need extra nutrition to survive in the cold.   The foliage that offers some protection from predators won't return until spring. 
In real speak .. many of them simply will not survive without more help.  
In the course of maintaining the community cat blog .. I have been touched by how many kind hearts are helping the kitties ... always on a shoestring and often without a lot of assistance or help.
This morning I loaded the latest plea for homes ... this time for a colony in the Tantallon area.   ( Scroll down to read the story)   
Now anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time will remember the tale of Dora and Oscar.  Dora was a feral kitten and Oscar was a stray cat who showed up when I started feeding Dora in an effort to tame her.  
It was three years ago this month that I first caught little glimpses of Dora ... although it would be March before she would be tame enough to tuck into a carrier and take to the vet.
And it would be September before they came into the safety of the house, where they have stayed ever since.  This holiday .. I was utterly gobsmacked to see Dora saunter out to sprawl on her usual footstool .. while my brother was sitting not two feet away ... and stay there for the whole of his visit :)
The point I am making in my rambling way is that I believe its possible to socialize a colony cat into a household ... and that it is actually a very rewarding journey to take.  ( And before the keyboards catch on fire .. yes I know that feral cats with the safety of a warm predator proof shelter and reliable caregivers can, and do, thrive ... but that is not always the case ... as the story below states )
So ... if you really want to 'drive the cold winter away" .... why not open your home and your heart to one of these lovelies listed below?

I don't currently have room to take in any more cats/kittens - wondering if anyone out there might consider adopting or fostering some colony
kittens/cats? [see attached photos of a few of them].
I would trap them and pay for all of their vetting/food/litter etc. -Just
need a warm, caring, indoor place for them.
I have been working on another large colony in the Tantallon/Hubley area - the location is a campground where winter residents rent cabins - I had spayed and neutered a number of cats at this location over the last year and only one of those I neutered has survived (one of the big tabby males seen in the attached photos- the one with the ear notch).  He seems to have become quite tame - he won't let me touch him, but I can get close enough to take photos. It appears that at least two colonies have merged at this location since I began TNR (there was a colony across the road whose caretaker died, so the campground caretaker believes that colony moved to the campground for food).  I am providing cat food to the campground caretaker regularly.
The little calico and tabby kittens are socialized to humans - I was able to pat the calico quite a bit today and the small tabby wanted me to pat him, but was a little too tentative -got very close to my hand after watching me pat the calico...  The calico is very playful and curious - she played with all of the other colony cats most of the afternoon and came into the cabin frequently to watch me clean.  The little tabby doesn't seem to know how to play - he looks like he'd rather be curled up on a warm human lap - he really appreciates the shelters and straw bedding.
Some of the cats have been living in squalor in an abandoned cabin, where all of the windows had shattered - the cabin is full of debris and shattered glass [see a couple of photos attached].
There is now vapour barrier plastic covering all of the cabin windows and I was able to clean two of the three rooms in the cabin by nightfall and
provide fresh straw and shelters my husband made.  He will be building more shelters, but in the meantime, I'd like to trap some of the tamer cats if I can find adopters/fosters.  There are so many predators in that area (coyotes, foxes, raccoons, hawks etc).
Would anyone be able to help with adoption/fostering?  Some seem quite comfortable with humans whereas others may need some extra human socialization in confined quarters.

for more information, please click here

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them humanity cannot survive.  The Dalai Lama

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