Two weeks ago, the Visalia Feral Cat Coalition (VFCC) conducted its second successful sweep, trapping and neutering ten cats. The property owner, Mindy (whose surname we will not disclose to prevent others from abandoning cats at her property) was especially happy because she had been attempting to trap and neuter on her own.
“When you trap just a few cats at a time, you don’t even put a dent in the colony,” she said. She usually traps mainly males. Out of the ten cats that the VFCC recently trapped, six were females. Five of those were pregnant. When female cats are fixed the entire uterus is removed; the recent successful TNR, therefore, resulted, in 25 kittens being aborted.
The feral cat colony had established itself in a residential area, and all of Mindy’s neighbors were very supportive of her efforts to get the cats fixed. “Only one person was a problem, but after last night he is on board.” Mindy said. “He saw what was going on and all the people who showed up to help and was very happy with the result.” When Mindy first started trapping the cats, he wanted her to just get rid of them, but now he understands what the VFCC is doing.
“The ultimate goal is to have happy healthy kitties,” said Mindy. “The cats don’t want to bother anyone. They just want a peaceful place to sleep. Now everyone can live in harmony with the kitties.”
Mindy still has a few more cats to trap on her property and is thinking of doing a daytime sweep instead of at night. “We were trapping from 6:00pm to 10:30am because when you have a hot spot you want to keep an empty trap there,” she said.
Dr. Nanette Kuswa, owner of Companion Animal Medical Center, said everything went very smoothly. “Everyone was much more comfortable with the system. Everyone knew what to do, and in addition to being fixed, all the animals got their treatments – vaccination, de-fleaed, and leukemia test.”
Dr. Kuswa used the same team as she did during the first sweep in February and finished treating all ten cats within an hour. Now, she said, it’s time to reassess and refine techniques.
As far as Mindy is concerned, the formation of the VFCC is the best thing to happen to Visalia in a long time and will really improve the city. “This is a great thing. The only thing coming out of this is good. If you can get everyone on board to do TNR it works.”
Mindy also pointed out that Los Angeles has become a no-kill community and they are doing it through TNR. “Even Disneyland has embraced TNR to control their 250 feral cat colony. At first they were just killing them and the colony kept getting bigger,” said Mindy. “People just don’t understand the vacuum effect.”
“Hopefully this will show the city and the county that this is the way to deal with feral cat colonies,” said Dr. Kuswa.
The VFCC needs blankets, cat food, cat vaccinations and most of all traps. Cash donations are also always appreciated. If you need help with a feral cat colony or want to be a part of this effort, call 429-5415 or email [email protected].