From the 8th to the 14th of August, we will be celebrating National Feral Cat Awareness Week, an initiative from Feral Cats Ireland. Throughout the week, some vets across the country will offer discounted rates for the neutering of feral cats. Most importantly, this is a week to raise awareness about the plight of feral cats and about the solution to the issue of cat over-population: TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return).
The small group of volunteers at Community Cats Network will, as always, be busy trapping cats for neutering, but throughout the week, we will attempt to post some information about caring for feral cats and about how YOU can make a difference and help to solve the problem. Raising awareness is key as, at the origin of the problem, is not only a set of old-fashioned attitudes towards cat care, but most importantly a lack of information about how feral cats can be helped and enjoy better lives. It is down to every one of us to spread the word about TNR programmes and about the benefits of neutering and we count on you in this endeavour.
We will be launching the week with two information stalls in Maxi Zoo on the 6th of August, one in the Midleton store, the other in the Douglas store. We hope you can join us for a chat on the day and will be happy to share information about the work we do with you.
To enter the draw, just make a donation here (€2 per line or €5 for 3 lines). The draw will take place on the 10th of April at 9pm and the winner will be announced on our Facebook page. All proceeds will go towards the cost of neutering of stray and feral cats in Mitchelstown.
The more lines you buy, the better your chances to win and the more cats we can help!
We thank you in advance for your support! We would like to thank CARE Rescue for their kind donation to help cats in Mitchelstown!
The carer fills the assessment form on site or has sent it back to us.
We arrive on site at feeding time to visually assess the colony.
We discuss the financial cost of the neutering with the carer.
We explain the trapping procedure.
We arrange a trapping date with the carer.
Arranging the neutering and veterinary care:
The CCN welfare officer makes contact with the nearest partner vet to the colony to arrange a time and date for the neutering.
The physical health of the colony is discussed with the vet or the veterinary nurse.
Extra treatment will be discussed when the vet has assessed the cats in surgery.
Depending on the number of cats to be trapped the Community Cats Network welfare officer decides what traps and cages to bring.
The CCN welfare officer arrives 30 minutes before feeding time to set up the traps.
The cats are trapped humanely and transferred into feral cat handling cages.
The carer signs the Community Cats Network consent form.
Depending on the time when trapped and availability of vets, the cats are either taken straight to the vets or held overnight to be taken to the vets the following morning.
If the cats are held overnight they are transferred into humane comfortable cages with food water and litter for the cats’ comfort and welfare.
Hospitalisation cage in the opened position to show the bedding & feeding area.
Veterinary treatment and neutering:
The CCN welfare officer transfers the cats back into the transport cages and bring them to the allocated vets.
The transport cages have information on each cage pertaining to that specific cat. The veterinary nurse or vet will complete the forms once the surgery has been completed.
In the veterinary surgery the feral cats are transferred into a cat restrainer cage to make it safer for the veterinary practice to sedate the cat and cause less stress on the cat.
Once the sedative has taken effect the cat is taken out of the cage and given a full health check. The cat’s mouth, ears, teeth, eyes, legs, pads and body are checked for any anomalies or abnormalities.
If any abnormalities are found the CCN welfare officer is contacted immediately by the vet to discuss further actions.
If everything is normal the surgery continues
Female cats will be spayed on the left flank – this is always the left hand side of the body. It provides faster access to the organs being removed. The female will have her uterus and ovaries removed to fully ensure that procreation can never take place. Spaying also removes the possibilities of life threatening uterine infections. Additionally, it also greatly reduces the risk of developing potentially fatal mammary tumors later in life.
Male cats will be castrated. Both testicles will be removed. This will remove their ability and want to mate with females of the species. Neutered male cats become less likely to fight after neutering and are less likely to become involved in fights, resulting in bite injuries and the risk of contracting viral infections. Sexual contact in cats can also lead to transmission of deadly viruses.
Both female and male cats are left ear-tipped. This is a universal method indicating the neutered status of a cat.
All cats in our care receive a flea and a worm treatment.
The CCN welfare officer collects the cats from the vets after surgery.
The cats are put back into the hospitalisation cages with clean bedding, water and food.
The males are kept for a minimum of 16 hours after surgery and females 24 hours.
The cats are checked post-op on an average of every 2 to 3 hours to make sure the bedding is clean and they are recovering well.
The carer is contacted to make arrangement to return the cats.
Returning the cats:
The cats are transferred back into the transport cages and returned to the carer.
The carer receives a quantity of food, CCN’s feral cat aftercare handbook and a photographic and health journal of their cats.
Sterilisation of the equipment:
After the return of the cats the CCN welfare office has to clean and sterilise all the equipment: traps, transport cages, hospitalisation cages and holding area used for the specific colony to avoid contaminating the next colony or transferring infection.
Feral cats colony information:
The CCN welfare officer inputs all the information that they have gathered about the colony into our computerised database.
Photos and descriptions are then uploaded to our Facebook page.
CCN welfare officers are always available for contact with the carer at any stage.
At the end of April, we will turn one year old (already!), so grab your sombrero and join us in Sober Lane at 8pm to celebrate Mexican style!
We have plenty of surprises in store for you…
The party will begin with a Chilli Eating Contest (we would like to thank Khan Spices of North Main Street and Southern Fruit in Togher for sponsoring the chillies). At 8.30pm, our 50 contestants will sit down and go through 5 rounds bringing them to new levels of heat. Whether you want to take the challenge or just watch the pain on their face, you can’t miss it!
You think you can do it? Then, we want you there!
There are only 50 places, so hurry up! You can register by calling in to Sober Lane, where the staff will take your registration, or by downloading the registration form (CCN_Chilli_Disclaimer form_Registration_Final), filling it with your initials on the first page and your full details on the 2nd, and returning it with your €5 fee to Community Cats Network, PO Box 50, Midleton Delivery Services Unit, Ballinacurra Business Park, Midleton, Co Cork.
Our winner will receive a magnificient trophy sponsored by Gerald McCarthy Gifts and Awards. The 2nd nd 3rd place will get a certificate. All three runner-ups will get lovely prizes. Every contestant will also receive a souvenir badge of the night to prove their bravado!
Our Facebook event will be updated on a daily basis to give you tips to learn the tricks of the trade.
Don’t worry if you’re not brave enough to enter the Chilli Eating Contest, you can still come along and have fun!
We will treat you with delicious food served to the sound of Mexican music. There will be a guessing competition for all to enter (no, we won’t tell you what you will have to guess!). We will also hold a fantastic rifa (Urban Dictionary: spanglish. literally means “raffle”. but used as saying a certain gang or area is “the baddest” or “untouchable”. mexican slang.) with prizes for all to enjoy! If you cannot come to the party, you can still take part to the rifa by buying your tickets online and make this birthday a special one for all the feral cats in Cork (see here for more details).
We would like to thank Colm and his staff at Sober Lane for hosting the event and offering great feedback, Gerald McCarthy Gifts and Awards for sopnsoring the trophies, Zia of Khan Spices (North Main St, Cork) and Jim of Southern Fruit for sponsoring the chillies and all the businesses that sponsored prizes for the night.
A massive thank you goes out to all our supporters who have followed us along the road to help the feral cats in Cork county. Thanks to your support, we can change their lives, so here’s to the 2nd year!
Breda and I went to pick up this cat today. He wandered in a garden in the Ballyfinn area of Cloyne (East Cork) on the 17th of May.
He is about a year or a year and half and is not neutered, nor microchipped. However, he is very friendly (with dogs as well).
His tail is badly damaged, which could be a sign that he travelled in a car’s engine. He is at themoment staying with Sinead, who has named him Crawford because of his beauty spot, at The Cloyne Veterinary Clinic. She will examine him properly tomorrow and do the necessary.
If you know someone who has lost a cat of this description, please contact Em on 0861583501.
Could you also help by printing this poster and putting it in local vets and pet shops please, as well as in local shops in East Cork? 12 05 17 Cloyne
It was pure chance that I was sitting in front of my computer when I saw the appeal for a nursing queen on Facebook. I rang Tracy to get more information. Her neighbour’s spayed cat had brought three tiny kittens to her home. Apparently, she is in the habit of “robbing” kittens, although she had never brought back such young kittens before. Tracy and the neighbour tried to locate the mother, but could not find her anywhere. She thought that the kittens were one week old and they had been on their own since that morning; it was around 4.30pm.
I offered to help to try to find a nursing mum and started texting everyone I could think of. The clock was ticking and I knew the kittens wouldn’t make it if they weren’t fed soon, so I grabbed my bag with the kitten fomula and kitten bottle and jumped into my car, thinking that something could be sorted out later.
When I arrived there, I found three tiny kittens, not even a day old – they still had their umbilical cords attached. They looked really poorly in their pet carrier, so I tried to feed them immediately, but one barely ate anything. The only time I had fed a new born kitten was when we rescued Spica and I didn’t really feel like facing this task on my own, so I headed to Maggie and Jim’s.
Bottle-feeding kittens is tiring, physically and nervously. You need to make sure that they eat enough, that they are in an environment at the right temperature – since they cannot control their body heat themselves, you need to make them go to the toilet by stimulating them, etc. Basically, you need to do everything a queen would do, knowing that you are not a cat and cannot provide the same comfort as a mother and that a kitten might die very quickly for no apparent reason. But what else can you do? These little lives are there, needing help and you certainly cannot let them die without even giving them a chance. All you can do is your best…
While at Maggie’s, we got a fright as the smallest one nearly stopped breathing, but Maggie helped him and he regained a bit of energy. After a couple of feeds, I felt more comfortable going home with the kittens. We had also been in touch with Sara, who told us that she was in the process of trapping a nursing mum and her kittens and we had planned to try to introduce the kittens to her if Sara was successful. Should that fail, we had arranged to do shifts, so that I would have the kittens during the week and Maggie at the weekends, in order to make things easier on everyone.
How difficult were those first night feeds! Yet, what pleasure did I get from hearing the little one giving his first screetch! I must admit that I was exhausted after two nights. Feeding three new-borns on your own is exhausting, but it was also a satisfying feeling to see them eat and “making it!”.
Some will say that only experienced people can bottle-feed new-borns. Experience will help, but we all need to start somewhere, and sometimes, you just don’t have the choice… It takes dedication, patience, time, common-sense and a lot of love. As with a human baby, the little ones become your priority; you must give up on nearly everything else and give them all your attention.
Nowadays, we also have the help of the internet, and I would recommend to visit the following websites should you ever find yourself in the same situation: FAB Cats has a very good and detailed page on hand-rearing kittens; The Cat Practice in Michigan has a dowloadable guide covering all the major aspects of hand-rearing kittens; Feral Cat Coalition also has a page that is worth viewing and kitten rescue offers a simplified feeding guide with some good tips.