Friday, December 30, 2016

Holiday Service Project (2016)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Happy Winter Solstice!
Five weeks ago, we found a lost kitten sitting in a corner next to our front stoop. He had mewed/chirped most of the night, making us think he was a distressed bird in our maple tree.
Brynne took him to the Animal Protective League (APL) in the Tremont area of Cleveland, and the kitten (at 4-6 weeks of age) was too young to put up for adoption.
Animal Protective League building
Brynne agreed to foster the kitten until it reached a weight of 2 pounds. She took the kitten into work, and immediately several other of the "girls" in the office wanted to help foster this gray tabby kitten. The next thing, one of the girls wanted to adopt the kitten, who was indeed adorable and entertained itself playing with pet toys, plastic bags, and people's toes.
Every two weeks, Brynne had to take the kitten back to APL to get vaccines and check the weight.
Meanwhile, we discovered that the feral calico cat (that our neighbor feeds) had two kittens. If the gray tabby was part of her litter, it is strange that it was abandoned all night. We decided that we would let these two other kittens stay with their mom until they were big enough to adopt.
The gray tabby kitten tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which means it was probably passed to him by his mother. However, at this young age, the kitten may be simply carrying the mother's antibodies, and he could clear them from his system.  If he does remain FIV positive, he can be adopted but it is understood that he must remain an indoor cat and not be in the company of other FIV-free cats.
Not knowing if "our" feral calico cat was actually the mother, we rented a trap and today set out to capture the calico mother and her two kittens. The mother was easily taken when going for the food in the trap.
The kittens were much more difficult to catch as they hid in the junk-strewn garage of the neighbor. We blocked off the front of the garage, and dug through piles of boxes, lawn furniture, empty take-out food containers, tools, etc., until we finally cornered and grabbed the kittens.
Unfortunately, our decision to let the kittens stay in the care of their mother meant they never became used to humans, and they were not happy to be caught. We ended up keeping them in a dog crate.

Friday, December 23, 2016
The calico cat in the trap rented from APL
We had an appointment to take the feral mother cat to APL this morning to be spayed, vaccinated, and have the left ear tipped so that people knew she had been "treated." The plan was to then release her back into the neighborhood. The last thing we expected to hear was that she needed to be euthanized! But because she herself tested positive for FIV, she could not be released in the outdoors and since she was not adoptable, she had to be euthanized.
FIV is not passed to humans, but is transmitted through an infected cat biting another cat, or through mating and giving birth to kittens. Which meant that the other couple of feral cats wandering our neighborhood, who are likely earlier children of the calico cat, could possibly have FIV. Since we already had the trap, we planned to try to capture those cats as well.

Monday, December 26, 2016
Feral kittens
The two kittens, one a ginger tabby and one a black and white, both males, were taken to APL for our afternoon appointment. They were big enough to be neutered, and will be vaccinated and put up for adoption. If they were to test for FIV, the new owners would have to keep them indoors.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016
The huge ginger tabby cat was caught late yesterday afternoon, after we put a KFC chicken thigh in the trap along with some canned cat food. We took him in to APL this morning for his neutering, vaccinations (including rabies shot), and ear tipping, as well as to be tested for FIV.
Adult ginger tabby - a big boy!
At the same time, Brynne took in the original found gray tabby kitten who had reached 2-1/2 pounds in weight. This meant he could be neutered and put up for adoption.
The gray tabby kitten, "Chief"
In the late afternoon, we picked up a groggy ginger tabby, who had tested negative for FIV. After a night of keeping warm and calm, he will be released outdoors.
We also picked up the little gray tabby, who showed his usual bursts of playful energy, but then he got tired and actually took catnaps! Tomorrow he will be taken over fulltime by one of Brynne's work colleagues.

Friday, December 30, 2016
We were afraid we might trap the ginger tabby again, but we lucked out and caught the gray tabby adult male. It was his turn to go to APL.
Gray tabby adult male feral cat
He tested positive for FIV, and had an upper respiratory infection which he would not be able to fight with having FIV. So he, too, had to be euthanized.
We are sad to have had to put two cats to sleep, but hope it is best for the feral cat community. We have "taken care" of the cats in our immediate neighborhood and hope we don't see any more new wild kittens!
Happy New Year!