I have hardly had a minute to breathe as I have been rescuing so many cats and kittens-it is worse than ever on my own doorstep let alone elsewhere and in Spain. I have never known it to be so bad-it is never ending. Please, if you see a pregnant stray cat or suspect kittens have been born outside, please contact as many rescues as you can as soon as you possibly can until you find one who will help-it stops the problem escalating out of control. AND NEUTER YOUR CATS! They need to be neutered BEFORE the age of 6 months-females can and frequently do come into season at 4 months and if your vet says wait until 6 months, find another vet who will do it now! And the males need castrating to stop them catching Feline Aids or other fatal diseases or wandering and getting lost, run over while roaming too far or injured in fights-so, so many lost cats are unneutered boys-every single cat that I have rescued this year, male or female, is not neutered which definitely contributed to them becoming a stray. Obviously, this goes for dogs too-neuter your dogs-the shelters are full of them.
On my last short Spanish trip in April, the night before I was returning to London, I thought I could hear a plaintive cry from bushes just inside the park which was locked for the night. I bent down and tried to separate the thick bushes as I could hear the desperate meows of what sounded to my seasoned ears, to be a tiny kitten of around 4 weeks. It was rustling away in the bushes and crying in response to my voice but did not emerge-there was nothing I could do but wait until daylight in a few hours and go back armed with food-I hoped the poor thing would just sleep as it was now very late. I went back early and put some food as near as I could get-the park was not yet open-and called again. It answered immediately and soon came clambering out of the bush. It was as I thought, a tiny 4 week old-it had obviously been dumped rather than a born outside feral as it was socialised and thrilled to see me. How could anyone dump a tiny barely weaned kitten in a bush to fend for itself? It was in the park where I had previously neutered all the feline occupants and there is a little food left there by a feeder but that is just not good enough-the poor tiny girl was terrified. I bundled her into a box and back to the apartment all the time panicking as I knew I was catching the plane back later that day.
My lovely friends at Jardinet Dels Gats in Barcelona kindly said they would take her but I would not have been able to get there and back on the train in time to get to the airport. I was in such panic! In the end, after dashing around to buy kitten formula and one night of hastily organised foster with Marie, Vanesa at newly formed Amigats in Cambrils came to the rescue! Vanesa personally looked after the little tabby cutie until she was old enough to be placed and then found a most wonderful home with Mia and her new rescue dog who became firm friends immediately!
This is Grace when she was being fed as a stray at a home nearby-they were worried that she was pregnant…
A week later, I was called out to a cat in a front garden near here-she looked to be in a bad way and was absolutely terrified and rigid with fear. On the way to the vet in the car, I thought she had died but she was just in some sort of collapse. At the vets, she lashed out so much that she had go under anaesthetic to be examined. They phoned me to say she had milk! I realised her kittens must be in a shed which had had it’s door closed near where she was found and set about trying to find them-I released her into the shed which was very full of furniture and junk to see if she stayed in there which meant they were there. She determinedly clambered through the piles of stuff so I shut her in there overnight with food, water and a litter tray so she could nurse her babies and stay safe-the last thing I wanted her to do was to try to move them. I went early the next day with my trap but she was not wanting to leave her babies so after going back and forth all day, I had to slowly and carefully start dismantling the contents. I did not know how old the kittens were but if they were tiny, I had to be careful not to let anything fall and squash them. I eventually found them all in a tea chest full of clothes and china and could see that they were just a few days old so it still took me a long time to move everything in a safe manner. When I got them all, I emptied out the rest of the tea chest and found one tiny little kitten who hadn’t made it-it was so small that I don’t think it had made it past birth. I buried the poor little mite in my garden. Once they were all safely ensconced in a pen in my house, I set about calming the mum down as she still flew at me but I really didn’t think she was feral. She wasn’t! It only took a day to have her like putty in my hand and I packed the pen away-she was a poppet-I then realised that this was Grace!
So, now we are a few weeks on and they are almost ready for fantastic homes-I am homing them in two pairs-two kittens will go together and the other with it’s mum. As usual, I am hoping to home with people who I know so that we can stay in contact! If that is you, please get in touch-
I was lucky in finding a fab home for another stray who I named Edie-she was homed just a few metres from where I had trapped her as a very timid young cat. My friend had been feeding her outside for a couple of weeks-as well as feeding Grace before she gave birth in a shed. I had been asking around the street to see if anyone owned her and got talking to someone who said they wanted a cat……voila-it really was Edie’s lucky day!
I was recently told about a situation locally where there were a few cats who were causing problems for a couple of people who objected to them and the mess they were making. Obviously, it is not the fault of the cats but the people who moved away and abandoned them but some people don’t see it that way. It was quite complicated to piece together-there were two nursing mothers and I had to locate the kittens. We put flyers through doors in an effort to find them, (thanks Tash!) but nobody called at first so I used my powers of detection to locate them!
It was quite an undertaking as there were 12 cats and kittens over two gardens and after a lot of clambering over walls, I trapped three adults and nine kittens, all semi feral and unsocialised. Although I have a lot of experience with taming ferals and normally take it on willingly, I already had my hands, (and house,) full with no space or time to spare for the intensive work needed and was so lucky to be offered help from Catcuddles Sanctuary-this was invaluable. Thank you Evina! Three other friendly cats were homed so that was 15 dealt with-sadly no thank you’s from the people who complained though and whose life I had made a lot easier by getting all those cats of the street. I do still need to catch the tom cat. Two of the cats were returned after neutering and vet treatment as they were offered a lovely home with the family whose garden they had been camping out in. This is the story from the point of view of their new family…
16 Strays in 2 Gardens Looking out of the window, over the gardens one morning, I spotted a litter of six black kittens in the neighbour’s garden. I called my children and we watched the cute little lot, hopping about, chasing each other, watched by their mum, a very young looking black cat. The next morning, looking out of the window to check on the feline neighbours, I had a huge surprise: our own litter! Tortoiseshell mum (I noticed her mid April, heavily pregnant, roaming around the area) introducing her little ones to the world – 3 ginger and 2 black cuties, born behind our shed and to my counting about 5 to 6 weeks old. We were thrilled, but also worried about what to do with them. The mum was extremely shy, the kittens were too. We started feeding them, and engaging with them as much as possible – but apart from letting us stroke them (the kittens only – not the mum) while they were feeding, they didn’t tolerate being handled. The mum seemed happy to accept the feeding schedule -breakfast and tea time – and made sure her family were there, calling them to the bowls. We asked around for people to offer homes to the kittens. We posted a video of them on YouTube and successfully placed two – leaving still 3, not counting the mum. Tons of interest, but no takers. My worry grew with the kittens (and the neighbour’s kittens), soon they’d be old enough to climb over the garden walls and possibly run into the street. Meanwhile, our garden smelled like an unattended litter tray, and flies started to buzz around the flowerbeds, now toilet to around 9 cats – our cat family of 6, plus 1 young stray ginger cat that lived in the gardens already, and very sweetly helped looking out as a kind of babysitter for both litters, plus the 2 tomcat/dads roaming the area, spraying the territory at regular intervals. I called the local cat charity, but they didn’t have enough space for the whole family and they wouldn’t come out to collect them, I’d have to bring them. We don’t have a car or cat carriers and how would you trap strays? They gave me numbers for the well known national charities plus another-I called them and gave my details; they promised to call back. One eventually called after some days, leaving a message that they called, I called them – answer phone, leaving a message that I called – this went on for a couple of days. In the meantime I got a flyer from Mama Cat Trust through the door, asking for help with locating the very mums and their kittens that lived in our and the neighbour’s garden. I googled Mama Cat Trust that night. The next day, I had another call from the big charity on my answer machine, that I returned to their answer machine… I turned my mobile up to loud and went to empty the bins when I saw this woman going by the house, looking at the house, looking past me through the open door into the garden, seeing the kittens, and at the same time I recognized her from the pictures on Google as Karen from Mama Cat Trust. I asked her in and within 20 minutes she proposed to pick the mum cat and kittens up the following Sunday and have them neutered and looked after! She spoke to the neighbours and they agreed to the same plan. Karen brought the cages round on Saturday, so the cats could get used to them, and indeed our lot happily had their breakfast and tea in them! We were told to withhold their second meal, to ensure they would want to have what’d be in the traps. Sunday afternoon Karen arrived, dead on time, and went to work, focussed and calm, trapping patiently cat by cat in a 3 and a half hours operation. We were very sad when all the cats were loaded into Karen’s car and driven away, but anticipating their future to be bright, as Karen had secured for all of them to be fostered at Catcuddles Sanctuary until placed. The garden was ours again and we set to it to hose down the toilet areas, disperse the flies and dig out the broken plants. The next morning, not being greeted by our little cat family was tough, but we knew one of them, the babysitter to the two litters, would come back and be our forever-cat. She is here now, our Gingey, recovering from the loss of fur due to the many fleas, and the shaving from her neutering. She had her follow up check and her vaccination, and is becoming more and more confident, even jumping on our laps now for stroking. We follow Karen’s blog for news of our strays; things are looking good for them! Thanks to Mama Cat Trust. I did finally get a call, person to person, from the big charity on the day Gingey came back: ‘We heard you have a litter of stray cats in your garden’. Me: ‘Not any more – Mama Cat Trust took care of it.’
Since this was written, Gingey’s new family also offered a home to the tortie mum who was the most feral of them all so I went and collected her from the sanctuary and took her back to her old home which was now also her new home! A happy ending!
Thanks again to those who responded so positively by pledging to donate by monthly standing order-it is so reassuring to know that people care and that there is some regular money coming in. It really is invaluable and if anybody else would like to make a regular donation in this way, please contact me for the Mama Cat Trust bank account details.
Another way to donate is to buy something from the Amazon wishlist-
Or there is a link to the list on the Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/MamaCatTrust
There is also the Paypal button on this page.
Enjoy the Summer!