I drove these three little nuggets to surrender at Beaver County Humane Society on June 10. They’ll go from there to great forever homes.
My street, 6th Avenue, goes up in a steep hill after my house, but at the top of the hill it comes back down but the other side of that hill is too steep so it dead ends not far from Denise’s house with her colony. At the bottom of that steep dropoff 6th Avenue begins again as if nothing had happened (a few blocks later it becomes a set of municipal steps, then starts again after crossing the next street, for three blocks–makes navigating this neighborhood fun! I call that “the other side of 6th Avenue” because it’s only two blocks away, but we humans have to walk around four blocks to get there. That’s where several cat rescuers and cat-loving people I’ve mentioned live, and where I’ve done a bit of TNR over the past three years. There happens to be one particular house where they feed cats but never spay or neuter, they won’t discuss it, and they won’t let us on their property.
So Michelle Reilly, who lives diagonal from this house, has been picking off the cats who need to be spayed and neutered (Callie), and between her and Peg Bowman on 5th Avenue (F’Ave Tux) there are very few left.
She had been targeting this particular torbie for a while, especially after she saw the suspected male stud who loves em and leaves em and is very hard to trap. She feeds on her porch, but could not trap this cat, who she named Sassy. Sassy was elusive because many people feed and some won’t stop feeding, and she grew bigger and then Michelle posted that she’d seen her walking down the street, skinny again. Michelle and her husband kept watch for her movements, and just a day or two later her husband saw where Sassy was headed, followed her, and saw where she went, knowing this was where she’d stashed the kittens.
She messaged me to kind of decide what to do and decided to bring them in, and she ended up grabbing the kittens and holding them in a carrier, then using them to trap mom, who went for it pretty easily. I contacted HCMT for a possible foster with feral mom; HCMT is so full but they sent a crate, food and litter to help her with them. She is an excellent foster with mom cat or without. Sassy initially permitted petting while she nursed. Later she avoided it and was clearly feral, but she was devoted to her kittens and just moved out of Michelle’s way when she wanted to clean, or weigh kittens, or take them out for some exercise. You might remember earlier this month when I was working on the big TN and remove to farm project I ran to pick up a cat to be spayed in my neighborhood at the HCMT clinic—that was Sassy. The kittens were six weeks old and weaned, and while we’d prefer she stayed with them longer Sassy was really over the crate by then and was staying away from her kittens. She was released after her surgery and Michelle moved them to her spare room with all the kitten things.
Michelle is a teacher and fosters kittens like a bunch of kindergarteners who need all their lessons. She began clipping their claws from practically the time they were born, giving them all sorts of different toys, making a variety of noises around them, handling them in different ways, introducing them to her dogs, and to other people, so that when they would go off to their next step in finding a forever home, they’d be brave and confident kittens with lots of experience. I never had the chance to go over and visit them, but other neighbors did. And there were four kittens, one was eventually adopted by other neighbor Denise who lives just down the street from Michelle and visited them regularly.
I had discussed their adoptions with my contacts in HCMT and Pittsburgh CAT, but by the beginning of June they had so many cats up for adoption they suggested surrendering them to a shelter if we didn’t find adopters through our own review system. We looked into filling out applications for surrender to one shelter, then HCMT let me know that Beaver County Humane Society could take them. Michelle was ready to look for adopters and share them all over, but with a ready place for them to go, rather than potentially hanging out at her house for several months, she agreed. Michelle had to work at the appointment time so I drove them out. They didn’t make a peep, were great with me and other strangers, and I told the shelter about all the amazing things Michelle did for them when I surrendered them.
I know it wasn’t easy for Michelle to let them go, but she managed it. Now that’s one less mom cat out on the streets to produce more kittens, and one less litter out on the streets to go forth and produce even more kittens. And one kitten who has an awesome forever home! I’m also grateful to the Homeless Cat Management Team, who gave Michelle the goods assistance with her fostering, and who made it possible to surrender them to the shelter.
And I’m grateful we can all work together to help all the cats in our neighborhood, especially to help keep them from overpopulating. Teamwork works!
Sometimes it takes a village to save a cat and teamwork works! Thanks to the Homeless Cat Management Team and Beaver County Humane Society. If you get a chance, consider a donation to them for the work they do to help all cats.
And you can donate to our neighborhood group, Cubbage Hill Cats
And now our little group has its own PayPal account so that you can donate to help us care for the community cats we serve. We have about 40 among all the known colonies we are caring for, and plenty who wander among them. They never stop showing up, and we do our best to find out if they belong to anyone, and to give them whatever care they need, whether it be TNR and a shelter, veterinary care, food and love, or a ride to a shelter that will help them find a new forever home. Our name is Cubbage Hill Cats, and you can find us on PayPal at PayPal.me/CubbageHillCats. Donations are not tax-deductible because we are not a 501(c)3, but all donations will go to help the cats in our neighborhood, from TNR to rescue and foster to food for ferals.
And don’t forget—
Tootsie Anne Shirley is still waiting too!
Here’s where you can find her!
The shelter has her listed for adoption too—it was certainly interesting to see that familiar face. She looks a little scared but more bewildered, I’m sure it’s all been very strange for her. I had guessed her age as two to three at least because her face and body looked mature like an adult’s. The shelter has her listed as seven years old, so she would be in the mature adult category. Of course, I will follow her! And encourage you to go and adopt her!
You can also find her on Petfinder.
MARSHALL COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER
37 ANIMAL SHELTER DR
MOUNDSVILLE, WV 26041
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!