Friday, June 19, 2015

Until There Are Wait Lists for Kittens


Today I said goodbye to Ruby, the last of the three foster babies Steve and I have raised over the last month. We had had Ruby, JT, and Brittany since May 17. They came in to us at about three weeks old, still so young they were being bottle fed, and needed the occasional enema when the formula wasn't processing well.

These three babies were from a litter of four, by a mama who was spayed by Iowa Humane Alliance on April 27. Mama, along with 10 other feral cats near UNI's campus, were trapped by me and concerned neighbors. It was a community undertaking! We all came together, pooled time, money, and resources, and have, we hope, prevented the continuation of lots of babies who are difficult to keep healthy and for whom it is difficult to find homes.


11 Cats at 20th Street and Merner, April 27, 2015

Early that spring, Steve and I had helped trap 5 cats at North Cedar trailer park, in March, 2015. We were thrilled by the success of that enterprise, so when our friends and neighbors approached us about the situation near campus, we were ready to take it on.

At Iowa Humane Alliance
In both TNR cases, the homeowners made it easy. They had already established feeding schedules for the cats and getting them used to the traps over the course of a couple days was no problem.

Two litters were, however, born before April 27--the litter of four, and another litter of 5. The mama of the 5 returned to her litter after her spay, and those 5 were subsequently caught at 5 weeks, socialized, and adopted. The litter of 4, as mentioned, was a tougher go, since Mama didn't return. Taking care of them too, was a community event. We had volunteers bottle feed them and wipe their bottoms every 2-3 hours for the first three weeks. We also had help from Cedar Valley Vet. Drs. Paulsen and Christman and the vet techs there provided useful and compassionate advice and care at a critical period. One of the babies, Runty, didn't survive. He died at the vet with warm food in his belly and having had 3 weeks of love and care. Sometimes kittens have congenital issues that can't be overcome.

The remaining three--JT, Brittany, and Ruby, subsequently entered my care. I bottle-fed them, wiped their bums, gave them enemas, and eventually, weaned them.


Brittany, inspecting her enema implement at about 4 weeks old.

Brittany and JT, May 19, 2015 (just under four weeks old!)
Fostering is a rewarding and emotional experience. We have fostered many babies, and they always integrate into our home and hearts. I said goodbye to Brittany and JT on Wednesday; Cedar Valley Vet has them available for adoption. I know they will get excellent care, lots of love, and find good homes. Ruby went to her new home today, leaving me what felt like an empty nest. The energy and fun of kittens is good for our household of 4 adult cats and dog, just as it's good for the babies.

Even though it is always hard to say goodbye, I know the babies will be in good hands and grow up to be great cats, and that is partially because they were cared for socialized in foster care. Adopting them out means we can do it again....and again...and again.
JT, Brittany, and Ruby, at about 8 weeks

Ruby, on her way to her new home, June 19, 2015


Since we began fostering and TNR, we have saved a lot of lives. I'm listing them below, along with running events (some complementary) for my own memory...

In 2015 so far, the 11+5 TNR + 3 kittens in our care= 18

In 2014 I Ran 2014 Twin Cities Marathon and raised $1000 for CBHS and Waverly Pet Rescue.

In August, we found Lily, now "Mouse" in Fairfield she is now in a wonderful home there.

We also Fostered Jessie and her 9 babies in July-August of 2014 and found Panther 2, aka Lil P aka Peanut in July. We kept Peanut ("foster failure"!).

We fostered Benson, a cat from CBHS, in January, hoping he would integrate with us. It didn't work out, but he found a home not long after.

2013
Omar (adopted from WPR in August)
Kima (Kaylee) (fostered in August and now in wonderful CF home)
Panther 1 found on campus between Union and the Library in July; she died a few days later from kidney failure RIP
Our cat Sophia died in March

2012
I ran 2012 Twin Cities Marathon (supporting marriage equality in Minnesota)

2011
I ran Twin Cities Marathon for Bolder Options
Fostered and adopted Gracie in July-August
Fostered Willa aka "Skidmark" in July-August

2010
I ran Twin Cities Marathon

2009-10
We fostered Cody, a papillon, in December-January

2008
I ran Twin Cities Marathon for Childrens' Miracle Network

That's 38+ animal lives saved and improved (more if you include our already-resident cats and dog)! Here's to 50...and on and on, until, as a sage woman once said to me, "there are waiting lists for kittens".

Update 6/29/15: JT and Brittany were adopted by the same woman from Cedar Valley Vet! Ruby continues to be Miss Independent in her new home.

AAaand I am registered for the Twin Cities Marathon, October 4 2015 and Beat the Blerch, November 14!

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