CARING FOR COLONIES
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was originally a play, described in the trailer for the 1958 movie adaptation as “a passionate story of the conflict between people, an intimate, revealing story of the conflict within people.” The story features several recurring motifs, such as social mores, greed, superficiality, mendacity, decay, repression, and death.
Sadly, there seems to be a similar theme within communities when it comes to the topic of feral cats dwelling among them. There have been physical altercations between neighbours over the argument ‘to feed, or not to feed.’ It is unfortunate that residents are not fully aware of the facts about feral colonies.
Summer is upon us, and a large number of people will take time off to enjoy the beautiful, hot days of sunshine at the cottage; oblivious to the need for rescue organizations and the efforts of volunteers which are still very much in demand. Perhaps even more so at this time of year; rescue organizations and shelters are overflowing with cats and kittens.
I was honoured to be asked to write the following piece for rescue organization ‘York Region Change for Ferals.’ Please share this information and help them ‘do some good’.
Caring for the Colony – King Colony
by: York Region Change for Ferals
A group of volunteers has created this project; their wish is to create a safe, environment for an entire colony of cats and their kittens. This is a unique situation in that, ordinarily, colonies would be returned to the exact area from which they were trapped. Unfortunately, their current situation has proven to be a hostile environment resulting in the death of several members and injury to many others. York Region Change for Ferals has searched for what they believe will be an ideal site for this colony, removing them from immediate danger and relocating them to an area where they will be most preserved.
York Region Change for Ferals is a rescue organization working tirelessly to educate the public on the importance of having pets spayed and neutered in order to reduce overpopulation – an epidemic, which, unfortunately, results in abandonment or euthanasia of far too many cats. The growing number of cats in residential areas is considered a ‘nuisance’ by local citizens. Very little action is being taken, however, and sadly, what some consider a solution may, in fact, be detrimental to the colony. Ignoring the situation will not make it go away. As we do nothing the number of stray and feral cats continues to increase.
By assisting, or providing support to organizations like this we can eliminate unwanted situations; fighting and howling – the result of mating behaviour, accompanied by the foul odor of unneutered males spraying to mark their territory. The Trap Neuter Return process is not about rescuing cats per say; it’s about controlling the population and reducing the number of feral cats in the area by stabilizing numbers in current colonies and preventing new litters. When widely practiced, TNR has been proven to reduce the number of orphaned or abandoned kittens and cats dropped off at local shelters. This results in lower shelter and animal control costs and of course, euthanasia rates. As a result, cats already in the shelters have more chance of being adopted.
Although it is possible to find homes for some, less fearful kittens, rescue efforts in the majority of cases are futile given the staggering numbers and manpower required to attempt the process of rehabilitation and socialization of feral cats. Spay and neuter is the only solution. We create balance and safety for the colonies, and the colonies provide natural rodent control within our communities.
The term ‘Trap, Neuter and Return’ is preferred to ‘Trap, Neuter and Release’ or ‘Trap, Neuter, Relocate’ as the prior describes a process in which colony members are returned to their respectful area – familiar territory, and group. Ah colony is an established family, working together to hunt and provide protection for each other. They guard their colony against unneutered cats coming in thus starting another cycle of problems – including overpopulation. Relocation is not ideal as it is difficult to integrate new cats if they are accepted into a new colony at all. To drop a cat off in a foreign area is like sending a person to a different planet. With predators such as fox and coyotes appearing in suburban areas, the chances of survival, for abandoned cats working alone are slim.
Why is this project important?
This particular situation is the result of ‘hoarding.’ The immediate dangers are; kittens being removed from mothers – serious injuries and deaths are occurring as a result. A proposal for a new development in the area has been submitted to the town, which means the house is being considered for demolition. Regardless, the building is located near a main intersection which sadly, has claimed the lives of several cats and kittens from this colony already.
How will York Region Change for Ferals make a difference?
The volunteers at YRCFF will work together to trap all members of the colony safely, transport them to clinics for surgery and vaccinations, provide nourishment and a safe place for the cats to recover, and relocate them together, in an area where they are able to find basic shelter.
Thankfully, seven orphaned kittens are now safe and deemed ready for adoption. Nine others are being assessed in foster care – one kitten was rescued at 3 days of age and thankfully, another nursing mom accepted him as one of her own.
How can you help?
Volunteers are working non-stop to monitor, trap, transport and care for the colonies. The biggest challenges are;
Even with the most generous services provided by Veterinarians, the medicine and supplies required to perform a large number of surgeries comes with great cost. Please donate to this cause which will not only save the lives of this colony, but by cutting down on overpopulation the lives of many cats waiting in shelters for a loving home will also be saved. Sadly, millions of cats and dogs are put to sleep each year due to overpopulation.
Spread the word; have you noticed a colony in your area? Contact your local rescue organization and register the colony online. Neighbours working together can restore balance within communities.
Tipping Point Goal: $1000
In order to cover the cost of surgery for a minimum of fifteen cats and older kittens within the colony, we need to reach our tipping point goal. This goal will allow us to provide basic medical care and basic spay and neuter surgeries for the colony.
Ultimate Goal: $3000
Additional funds will pay for the medical care of the injured colony members (including, eye injuries and two, leg injuries at present). These funds will also go towards the cost of vaccinations, medication for upper respiratory, deworming, etc.
For the first generous donation of $500 or more, we have been provided with a Kobo to give to you as a reward.
Favourite line(s) from the movie (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
Brick: You’ll make out fine. Your kind always does.
Maggie: Oh, I’m more determined than you think. I’ll win all right.
Brick: Win what? What is, uh, the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?
Maggie: Just stayin’ on it, I guess. As long as she can.