Tag Archives: Trap-Neuter-Return

Christmas Cards and Calendars 2020

Our Christmas cards and calendars 2020 are out now!

We are very proud of our 2020 calendar, which features the photos and stories of some of the cats we have trapped during the year.  It costs €7 and would make an ideal stocking filler or gift to send abroad.

The stories featured are:

  • Back on Known Grounds in Medieval Youghal
  • Milking Time in Kilbrittain
  • The Ginger Dynasty (Cashel)
  • One Big Happy Family (Shanagarry)
  • The Longest Trapping (Clonmel)
  • A Busy Farm in Ballyhooly
  • The Numbers Game (White’s Cross)
  • Handsome Charlie from Tallow
  • Part of The Solution (Castlelyons)
  • Part of The Solution (Clonmel)
  • The Garden Assistants in Midleton
  • Hiding in the Straw (Burnfort)
  • In Memoriam featuring a gorgeous cat from Little Island

 

We would like to thank the following businesses who kindly sponsored it and helped us to make it possible:

Also to be thanked are the Friends of Community Cats Network who sponsored the months of December and January 2021:

 

We are very grateful to Katie McGroarty from Cobh who designed this gorgeous calendar and to Anna and Steph for helping with proofreading.

Our Christmas cards also feature cats and kittens that CCN have been involved with during the year.  You can find the story of each cat inside the card.

The pack of cards costs €5 and contains 6 cards with a different design on each.  There are three models to choose from.

Model 5 contains cards that were kindly designed by Katie McGroarty and feature the stories of of Daisy the little traveller from Cloyne, some new tenants in Killavullen, the Blarney cats who were spoilt by the lads, a large colony in Cappoquin helped with good will, a colony on a carpark in Clonmel and the petshop pussyfooter from Ballincollig.

Model 4 contains cards that were kindly designed by Katie McGroarty and feature the stories of Little Miss Greedy Guts (Clonmel), the Summer of Love (Waterfall), a large colony in Dungarvan, Bluebell and Sunflower from Charleville, a Carer with a Big Heart in Mallow and a Colony in Ballinacurra. **LIMITED AVAILABILITY**

Model 3 contains cards that were kindly designed by Axelle Rychembusch and feature the stories of a colony in Ardmore, Major Tom from Kilady, a large TNR project in Youghal, a young and beautiful Cork city cat, a well-cared for colony in Midleton and of some unusual customers in Mitchelstown. **LIMITED AVAILABILITY**

We will be happy to mail them to you (p&p to be added).  Contact us at communitycatsnetwork@gmail.com with your order and we will let you know how to proceed.  Don’t forget to visit our online shop for more gift ideas!

Alternatively, you can find them at the following businesses:

If you would like to help us by taking a box of cards and calendars in your business or at your office, please email communitycatsnetwork@gmail.com.

East Cork:

City and suburbs 

West Cork 

North Cork 

Waterford 

Tipperary 

Christmas Stalls

Food Appeal in Clonmel – 3/11/19

Our stock of wet food is running critically low in Clonmel. We would gratefully accept donations of wet food and tinned fish to help us feed ferals during their stay with us.

You can drop your donation and stop for a chat in Tesco, Clonmel on Sun 3 Nov from 2.30pm to 4pm. You can also drop your donation to Southview Vets.

Thank you for your support!

Contact 089 2546320

A few thoughts about CCN – by Mary W

To mark our 7th birthday, we have asked our volunteers to share a few thoughts about their experience with CCN.

Mary, our TNR coordinator in North Cork remembers how she started volunteering with the organisation in 2016.

“My journey with CCN began back in 2016. The first day of a new job, I was brought out the back by staff and introduced to mama cat and her kittens. It didn’t take much time before I realised there were quite a few other cats around too! I contacted a few organisations for help but it was CCN that came to our aid. I had done quite a bit of rescue work up to that point and was eager to continue, so our trapping session of work cats turned into a training session and I have been trapping for CCN in the Clonmel area ever since.

I had never worked solely with feral cats before, I had fed them, knew to be very careful with them and give them a wide berth but that was about it! My first solo trapping was a baptism of fire when a small colony of cats in the centre of town gave me the run around in freezing temperatures for a solid week. I got them, eventually, and learned that feral cats are some of the cleverest, quickest and most admirable of creatures I had ever come across. Over 200 cats later and I’m still learning!

Helping feral cats is different from any of the previous work I’ve done with rescue animals before. These animals are invisible to most, they hide in dark corners, they keep their suffering to themselves, they trust very few and have known nothing but hardship. For each single cat I trap I know I’ve just changed that cat’s life forever. For every cat I release I know its chances of a healthier life have increased immeasurably because someone cared enough to pick up the phone and ask for help. Of course, sometimes the call comes too late and the only kindness I can give is a merciful sleep. I’ve had my heart broken and cried as many tears over ferals as I have smiled and felt a rush of pride at releasing cats over the past 3 years. TNR is not easy on a personal level, it’s emotional, frustrating and physically draining at times but it’s not done for personal gain, it’s done for the cats. It’s done because these cats have been failed by people and deserve for someone to give up their time freely try make amends, and if a bit of time is all it takes to change a cats life forever then my time is truly well spent.”

 

 

Don’t forget to support our Birthday Raffle to raise fund to help even more cats.

A few thoughts about CCN – by Jackie

To mark our 7th birthday, we have asked our volunteers to share a few thoughts about their experience with CCN.

Jackie, our TNR coordinator in North Cork remembers how she started volunteering with the organisation in 2016.

“The first day I came across CCN was a day of chaos, panic and desperation. For years I had been trying to help cats who found their way to me. I had recently started feeding the most frightened cat he would run and hide, but when I left food and watched from a distance he would come for it. Then, one day my mother in law, who lived next door, said that there was a cat running around with insides coming out. After looking out and finding that blood had dripped everywhere, the panic set in. I was convinced it was a female having complications giving birth. I sought advice on a rescue page; Emilie answered and told me calmly she would send help. We managed to catch the cat and put him in a box, and CCN brought him to the vet. That cat changed my life completely – his name is Sam and he is still here. That day he had a ruptured testicle, which was instantly fixed by having him neutered.
I was in awe, and asked if I fundraised would they come and help in Mitchelstown. They agreed, so off I went!

Then I got the chance to go on the first trapping in Mitchelstown and I was hooked. It was that incredible feeling you get when you release cats that got me. The rest is hard work, but that moment when you open the door is magic – the hope and love lights up your soul.

My next few projects were all close to home and work, in places where I had loved these cats. So I brought home my first foster cat, I failed miserably at rehoming him. I knew tnr was the way to go for me, but have since managed to rehome all the foster cats I have taken in, so that’s an improvement! As some of you already know, Baylor -my failed foster- has a tendency to bring home stray cats he finds. It’s as if he felt it earned him his keep! Only this morning, I heard a foreign meow and on investigation discovered Baylor with a new cat, so trap is out and ready! And after 3 yrs and over 350 cats, my heart will still pound like a bass drum in my chest when I am about to trap the cat.”

 

Don’t forget to support our Birthday Raffle to raise fund to help even more cats.

The Cat Purrse

 

We have created a new fundraising Facebook page, The Cat Purrse, to enable our volunteers to raise money online for our various TNR community funds. Each month, we will offer a new fundraiser for a specific area. Please follow (and share) the page and help us to raise much needed funds!

Our first fundraiser is a photo competition taking place this month for the West Waterford TNR fund. Entries will be accepted until the 28th of March. Check out the great submissions we have received so far!

 

Tom or Harry? It’s Your Choice!

In memory of all the tom cats for whom we were too late…

“Hi guys! My name is Tom! I was a cute little thing when I was a kitten, well, that’s what the humans used to say. I wouldn’t let them touch me though. I would do like my mother and run away when they would approach and would only come back to eat the food they put down for us.

13 08 23 c_web

Then I grew up and I started to get interested in girls, so I hit the road looking for some. Oh boy! These were the good times! Always on the road going from place to place to meet the girls. Sometimes, the humans would be nice and throw me a bit of chicken, but often they would just chase me with a broom, screaming ‘dirty tom’. It’s not my fault if I sprayed a little, I had to mark my territory for other cats. I used to love visiting the farm: there were plenty of girls and I would drink that nice white liquid; it tasted so good! But I wouldn’t stay for too long and would keep travelling. I didn’t even have time to go hunting during the summers; I was a busy boy! I got into some pretty bad fights though. We all wanted the same girls, so we had to fight for them. Sometimes I’d lose, sometimes I’d win, especially when fighting with the sick cats, they weren’t very strong and would quickly give up, but I got some bad bites. At the end of the summers, I would be exhausted and hungry from all the travelling. So I would just visit all my favourite spots to get some food and rest, and play with the mice a little. But as soon as it would get warmer and the days would get longer, I was off again! Back on the road!

11 09 01 Wild cat web

Then, one winter, I caught a bad cold. Usually, it would go away with food and rest, but I wasn’t very hungry. When the days got warmer, I started travelling again, but I was weak and didn’t have the energy anymore. I found a nice garden with some shelter and I sat there as I was in so much pain. The woman of the house started to give me all types of food, it smelled nice and I would eat a little, but it hurt my teeth and my throat. I could hear her say ‘skin and bones’ all the time.

One day, another woman came with some strange box with bars on it. She put a lot of nice smelly food in it, but I couldn’t eat. Then she poured some of the sweet white liquid we had at the farm, except that it came from a bottle. I forced myself to stand up to have a bit of that as it reminded me so much of the good old days. When I went in the box, I heard a noise. I turned around, but I couldn’t get out. When the woman approached, I tried to fight but didn’t have the energy. And then it was dark and I calmed down.

Cloyne_Chapel st_Little Tom c_11 12 17

The box moved and me with it. Then I heard the strange noise moving objects make. Next thing, there were other faces looking at me; I heard them say ‘Poor boy!’. I felt something stinging me and I dozed off. I could hear their voices though, words like ‘disease’, ’emaciated’, ‘not grooming’, ‘virus’, ‘aids’. Then the girl with the box was back. She started to rub my head. It was strange, I had never been touched by a human before, but I didn’t care. She was saying that it would be ok, that I wouldn’t be suffering anymore and that I would go to a better place (maybe she meant the farm?). I felt a prick and some tingling in my veins. Then, I couldn’t see the faces anymore, I couldn’t hear their voices and the pain was gone…”

***

“Hi folks! My name is Harry! I’m Tom’s cousin. I was like Tom when I was young, always running after the girls. I guess I was luckier than him though as I found a nice garden. The woman of the house would always give me some nice tasty food and would call me ‘handsome’. There were some girls there too, but they had no interest in me. Oh, it was ok, I would wander to look for others, but I would always come back to the garden with nice food, where I could have a snooze too.

15 09 01 a web

One day, a woman came, she had a box made of bars. She put some food in it. I went to check, but I wasn’t that hungry that I would go in that strange box. Then she put another box out, with more food. It was bigger and I started to feel hungry, so I went in. I heard something slamming. When the woman approached, I tried to run away, but I couldn’t escape. Then it got dark and I heard the noise moving objects make.

Next thing, I could hear new voices and I felt something stinging me. I went off to sleep. When I woke up, I was feeling really strange, a bit groggy and as if something was missing. I saw the face of the woman with the box and again we were in the moving object. When it stopped, it felt very familiar around me. The light came back and I could recognise the garden I liked so much. I ran away, but when the woman with the box was gone, I came back for some nice food. Tasty!

16 08 22

I went looking for the girls again, but it wasn’t the same, so I lost interest and decided to stay in the garden with nice food. I would lie in the warm sun and if it rained I had a little house where I could stay dry. To pass the time, I would play with the mice. The woman of the house would bring me food a few times a day and I loved it, so I started to run towards her and would rub against her legs. One day, she moved her hand towards me and touched my head. It felt really strange. She kept doing it and eventually I got used to it and I even started to like it. Poor old Tom, he had such a rough life! It’s a pity he didn’t find a nice garden like mine!”

Don’t ignore tom cats; give them a chance to have a good life by having them neutered. By having tom cats neutered, you are reducing the spread of diseases and viruses, such as FIV (feline AIDS) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia). Neutered tom cats will live longer and are less likely to roam, fight and spray.

Feral Cats in the Spotlight – 96fm Interview

As part of National Feral Cats Awareness Week, two of our main volunteers were interviewed on Cork’s 96fm Opinion Line to discuss feral cats and the importance of neutering. You can listen to the podcast (at 1:46).

Happy New Year from CCN

We would like to wish a happy new year to all of our supporters!

2014 has been a difficult year as we have come across many difficult cases and ill cats that needed to be euthanised.  Also, at the back of our minds are all the cats that we weren’t able to help, because of the lack of cooperation of some carers.  However, at the eve of the new year, we must look at the positive side of the work we do: all the cats we were able to help one way or another, all the good carers we have met, who were willing to take responsibility or put in the effort to make a project happen.

This year, we helped 755 cats and in December we reached the milestone of 2000 cats helped (in 2 and half years of existence).  This means that so much suffering has been prevented thanks to our TNR programme and the support and encouragements we receive from all of you.

It is not always easy and can be emotionally damaging and often we have thought to give it up.  Yet, we keep going and are already getting ready for another busy year.  Why?  Because we think that all cats are purrfect!

Enjoy the video and happy new year!

How do we carry out a Trap-Neuter-Return project.

The first contact comes from a multi-faceted approach ranging from telephone calls, emails, website, Facebook or direct contact from vets.

Oral contact with the carer:

  • We telephone the carer to establish what physical condition the colony is in.
  • Establish if any cat or kitten needs emergency care and arrange it immediately.
  • Estimate how many cats and kittens are there.
  • Estimate how old are the kittens
  • Establish how often and what time the cats are being fed and if there are other feeders .
  • If the colony is in good health we post or email you an assessment form

https://communitycatsnetwork.wordpress.com/information/tnr/

 

Arranging the colony assessment:

 

  • 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.

 

farms cats photo

 

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.

 

The trapping:

 

  • 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.

hospital cage completed

          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.

 

Eartipped cat                                                     Eartipped cat.

 

Post-operative care:

  • 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.

Our Offsprings are the Ferals of Tomorrow

"Our offsprings are the ferals of tomorrow"

“Our offsprings are the ferals of tomorrow”

Phone rings… “Hi, last winter, a stray cat came to my garden.  It was cold and I felt sorry for her, so I started feeding her.  You know, I would hate to see an animal suffer.  Then, in March, she had a litter of kittens, but it was fine, the farmer down the road took all four of them!  But, at the beginning of the summer, she had another litter of kittens.  7 of them! And now, I think she is pregnant again and I can’t find homes for the kittens.  I don’t mind feeding her as she keeps the mice away, but I can’t possibly keep all of them.  I don’t know what to do, can you please help?”

Sounds familiar?

This is a very common type of call received by animal welfare organisations and our answer is simply to have the cat and her kittens neutered straight away before the situation gets completely out of hand.  We discuss with the carer a way to finance the project and proceed to have the whole family neutered.  Then, maybe a couple of kittens may find a home, but at least they won’t be having kittens.  The problem is solved, but is it really?

Let’s rewind a little, back to spring time: “it was fine, the farmer down the road took all four of them!”  The alarm bell in my head is ringing!  Now, were those kittens neutered before going to the farm?  Did the farmer get them neutered?  The answer is more than likely no.

Now, let’s fast-forward to the following spring.  The farmer is happy, his little cats (3 females and a male) are doing a good job on the farm.  In April though, all three females give birth to a litter of kittens each.  It is their first litter and they only have two kittens each.  “Sure,” the farmer thinks, “a few more cats might come in handy; I have a big farm!  And maybe Jo will take a couple for his own farm.”  It’s still all fine, isn’t it?  Yes, except that during the summer, they give birth to more kittens, and again at the beginning of winter, except that those mostly die because of the severe weather.

13 11 26 a

Two years later, the farmer is looking at all the cats on his farm.  There are so many of them that he cannot feed them properly anymore.  His three little female cats have become useless at killing the rats and mice as they are so exhausted from giving birth, as for the tom, he is constantly chasing the females and has been seen at all the neighbouring farms.  Their offsprings are no good either, they have also started giving birth constantly, and now the younger generations are all sickly because they are inbred.  The farmer is looking at all the cats (he can’t even count how many there are) and is scratching his head “what to do?”.  He must admit that he did try to drown the kittens like his father and his grand-father used to do, but the females are very good at hiding the kittens in the hay, and to be honest, he likes the cats and does not want to harm them.  Maybe he should bring them to the vet to have them euthanised?  But, he cannot even catch the cats; they have gone completely wild!  He’ll talk to the vet though and see what he thinks…

14 02 06 c webThe vet is not too keen on having animals euthanised like that and if the farmer can’t catch the cats, how could he?  He’s heard of organisations doing Trap-Neuter-Return though, maybe they could help?  So the farmer gets in touch with such an organisation.  At first, he has a fit when he hears what it will cost, but it has to stop, and he needs his cats to be healthy so that they can do their job on the farm.  All the cats and kittens get trapped, most of them are neutered, but a few have to be euthanised as they are too sick.  They come back to the farm and a few weeks later, they look a lot healthier and the farm is once more clear of rats.  The farmer is still giving out at the vet bill, but he is glad that things have now gone back to normal.  Next time, he’ll make sure that the cats are neutered beforehand.  “Now, if only Jo could do the same thing on his farm, because how many does he have now?  A good 30 for sure!”

Can you remember what the caller said initially?  “I would hate to see an animal suffer.”  Of course, she hadn’t realised what would happen as the farmer is a good guy and wouldn’t harm an animal, but by rehoming unneutered kittens, she has unknowingly been responsible for a great deal of suffering.  Or maybe she thought that it wasn’t her problem?  How about when the cats start to wander away from the farm because there isn’t any food and start to come to her garden where she is still feeding the little stray, the mother of them all?  Does it become her problem then?

Free ads

Websites are full of “Kittens Free to Good Home” ads, but what does it really mean?

I think that in the work we do, convincing people to have kittens neutered before rehoming is actually the biggest challenge.  Sometimes, it’s just because they don’t know that kittens can be neutered at such an early age (see info here), but most of the time, they don’t see the point since they are going to find “good homes” for the kittens.  Why should it be their responsibility?  Times and times again, we explain that if these are actually good homes, then the adopter will not mind giving a donation to cover for the cost of neutering.  In fact, they are quite happy to do so since it saves them the bother of having to bring the kittens.  In other cases, they think that it is not their problem since the cat isn’t actually theirs.  Maybe so, but we all need to start taking responsibility if we want to put a stop to the problem of cat over-population.  It is not one individual’s problem, it actually has become a society’s problem and we all need to start taking responsibility.

Disclaimer: the story above is fictional, although it is based on real experiences.  It wasn’t written with the intention of criticising anyone, but rather with the intention of educating.  Take responsibility too: educate those around you and spread the word about the importance of neutering!

Spay that Stray