Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hitch goes to Sanctuary

We packed up, and headed out early to bring Hitch to her furrever sanctuary, 300 miles away. She did very well on the trip, here she is hunkered down and looking adorable. Hitch's story is one post back: Saving Hitch.
We arrived at the sanctuary, where security was tight.
(The location was formerly a chicken farm, it is now a safe safe, feral cat sanctuary. This was one of the chicken houses, it is now used for storage, and I assume cats hang out in there. I forgot to peek in)

The perimeter is secure.
We approached the check point, and were instructed to wait for someone to check us in.
The manager came out to greet us.
We were patted down.
(This is a feral cat sanctuary, but there are a few friendlies there, who are unadoptable for various reasons.)

 Hitch met the welcoming committee. 
The green house behind her is the relocation house. She'll be in a crate there for 30 days.
 The manager took us on a tour. These are two of the transition houses.
If the staff (all full-time volunteers) do not feel they are ready for release after the 30 days, they use a transition house.
Hitch was transferred to her relocation crate, and quickly found her safe spot. She was a little concerned, but...
she was curious, as ever.
She popped her head out to look around. She has a window to soak up sun and observe her new environment. I told her she was safe, and that I loved her. Then I said goodbye.
Be well, sweet girl. I love you.
Big City Little Kitty

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saving Hitch

OK, I'll say it, and I don't say it very often, but...I NEED HELP!
I'm relocating Hitch to a feral cat sanctuary and costs are totaling $800.
Her fundraising page is HERE.
This is Hitch, one of the first times I ever met her, doing recon for a TNR project in 2009, with North Brooklyn Cats.
 She was a baby then, but old enough to be feral and not able to socialize. She was very curious, always watching us, interacting from a safe distance.
 She was trapped, spayed and released back to her colony. I did not manage this colony, but when one of the feeders was hit and killed by a truck, I filled in until the community started feeding regularly.
 She knew the sound of my voice, and came running when she heard my bike. She was adorable. I stopped feeding there, because they didn't need me anymore, and after that I popped by once in a while, on a run or bike ride to say hello.
 In 2012, North Brooklyn Cats received a call that an exterminator was trapping cats at this colony. I headed over and there it was, a set trap laying in a puddle, from the thunderstorm the night before..., with the exterminator company's tag on it. I tripped the trap and, long story short, a summer long rescue mission was underway. Hitch was in terrible shape and something had changed with her. She no longer interacted with her colony and was very skittish (more than feral skittish, something else) - we found out she went missing for a while, and returned very different. We have no idea what happened. We relocated 4 of the remaining 6. Hitch came to my warehouse colony.
 She did very well here and was happy. She greeted me when I arrived, and followed me around while I refilled the feeders, waterers and litter boxes.
 Changes at this warehouse left Hitch in trouble again. She was very scared and uncomfortable and was living in a very tiny space in the ceiling. It was time for her to move on. But she's already lost 2 homes, is fearful, and another relocation just isn't an option. It's incredibly difficult to relocate ferals, and it's always risky.
 When we showed up to trap, she immediately headed down to the warehouse floor and got into a small corner where we couldn't reach her - either by trap or net.
 The next week, we showed up with netting to net off that whole area, and set traps at every escape point. We got her!
 She saw the vet, looks good, tested negative for FIV and FELV, her blood work is out for analysis and she received vaccination boosters and parasite control.
 The estimate to get Hitch safely to her sanctuary is $800. The sanctuary fee is $350, the vet bill was $370 (copy available upon request) and the fuel estimate for next week's journey is $80.
 She's ready to go! We just need a little help from our friends! Anything you can spare is appreciated.
 Very soon, Hitch will be in a safe, well maintained, feral cat sanctuary. She'll be surrounded by trees, grass and fresh air. I hope she'll again be happy and worry-free. Please help! 
Her fundraising page is HERE!
The full link is below if you can't click on the "HERE" hyperlink.
Big City Little Kitty

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Feral Relocation: Moving in NYC is always hard

Two cats in Sunnyside, who were already TNR'd years ago, are losing their yard to renovation/reconstruction/sale of building. The lovely woman, Robin, who cares for them found a new place for them 1 block away in a beautiful back yard in Sunnyside Gardens. Neighborhood cats asked me to coach Robin because she is a new trapper. I am always thrilled to assist a new recruit!
Robin introduced me to Mr. Miyagi and Red Cat on Friday night. They are, indeed, a bonded and loving pair. I wish I had a better picture of this, they were so loving to each other, note the tails!!!
I chalked night one up to "Recon" because I did not know what I was up against. He was a complete mush and she was a smart, skeptical, and trap savvy female.
Did I mention Mr. Miyagi was a mush?

I set up 2 box traps and the drop. Mr. Miyagi helped himself to the buffet in the drop, tripped the box traps and then trapped himself. I was not concerned about trapping him, I needed to get her, so I just sat and watched him ruin a full night of trapping by showing her how all the traps work.
By the way, when he trapped himself, I pulled him aside to get him out of the way, but he howled the WHOLE time in the most pathetic, neurotic way (stay tuned for videos later), I had to let him out. Robin informed me he calls her like that when he can't find her. Red Cat was NOT going into a trap Friday night. We packed it in and met again on Saturday.
I don't have any pictures or videos of the trapping because it happened so fast I couldn't get any!
I set up the drop, Mr. Miyagi walked straight in and helped himself to dinner. My eyes rolled, "Males." Then, Robin says, "She's going in!" I look up, and there she is in the drop. I pulled the string and trapped them both in one shot. Fastest trapping effort ever!
I showed Robin how to transfer them from the drop to box traps.

Now, this is NYC, and you know how we roll here...with push carts!
Yep, we walked down the street with ferals in traps on push carts. Welcome to Queens, baby. Then, we rolled them through the gardens to their new home.
Robin had the crate set up, all we had to do was transfer them.

That's one.
Voila! Ready for their new life! They will stay in this relocation crate for a few weeks, then they will be released...
into their beautiful new home!
Their little house will be making its way over there too. Yes, they sleep in it together! Awwwwww!
Robin walked away with her reward...
The Mark of Meow!
Robin also takes in, fosters and finds homes for many cats she finds dumped in the neighborhood. She has such a big heart and I'm so happy I had a chance to meet her. I love coaching new trappers because it is such a beautiful thing to see people step up, instead of walk by. I'm always excited to be a part of it.
Thank you, Robin. You are such a wonderful person to care for Mr. Miyage and Red Cat. You've gone above and beyond in relocating them. Blessings to you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

LIC Feral Colony post-Sandy

This storm has been disastrous for many, and for feral cats, it was devastating.
I got out of the house as soon as I felt I'd be safe today and went to check on some colonies.
My bakery colony looked fine. The warehouse where some live did not seem affected structurally, and there are plenty of places high up for the cats to stay if it flooded at all. The cats that live in the production area seem to have been spared the harshest of the weather, the ground under the overhang/partially enclosed area was completely dry - unbelievable. 
So I headed over to LIC. Greasy Paws seemed OK, no sign of flooding and locals confirmed, but I did not see Beetle or Hexbit. Later in the day, a feeder there sent me this! He said he found him on top of a car and he came right over to eat. Atta-boy Beetle!!! No sign of Hexbit, but that's pretty normal, she's super feral and skittish.
Then I went to a colony on the water (location information not specific as this information can sometimes end up in the wrong hands). I don't manage this colony and haven't been over there since the day after Irene, but I was scared of what I might see, and rightfully so. Look at the water level, it is still in the parking lot on the other side of this fence.
This colony is on the water in Long Island City, Queens. I did not even think about them until I saw the LIC flooding pictures last night. Then it hit me, OH GOD, THE --- COLONY! I don't manage this colony, so it just didn't occur to me until it was too late. Half way down the block, not even at the colony yet, I saw a cat in the road who had met a tragic end. 
As I got closer I saw a black cat run off - THANK GOODNESS!
Then, I made my way closer to the colony, and this is what I saw. This area was completely under water by several feet. Massive objects were moved around and debris from the receding waves was all over.
Water was still very high, scary high. As I looked around, I saw another cat, a gray and white cat! So that's two! He ran off before I could get his picture.
 This feeding station was broken and about 100 yards away from its previous location.
Styrofoam cat shelters were strewn about the area upside-down and sideways, full of water, no straw remaining.
Insulation, lids and straw from plastic shelters completely removed.
Shelters buried under debris.
The water was still right up to the dock and I worried about further flooding tonight at high tide, but when we returned later the water level had gone down significantly.
So, realizing I was completely unprepared for this, I did what I could in the interim. I had packed my bike basket with a carrier, towels, a warm snuggle safe disk, some karo syrup, and that kind of thing assuming I might find an injured cat or abandoned kittens. I certainly did not have bales of straw and other supplies I needed. So I gathered some of the shelters, dumped the water out and set them up under the old feeding station, which was moved and a bit mangled but still sturdy, and planned to return with straw to re-fill them so they will be warm, safe and dry.

Here are a couple more, I put them under this plywood.
Then I made my way out, observing all the chaotic aftermath as I passed.
 The water is right there.
And I got a pleasant surprise on my way out. One more cat was seen assessing the situation under a truck. So that's 3 cats alive. Let's all hope there are more still hiding out and playing it safe.  
  So I rode my bike home, tears in my eyes and wind knocking me around and reached out to my friends. Immediately, Eva jumped in an ordered a zip car and said I'm coming to get you at 2 p.m. and Lisa is joining us - Yay North Brooklyn Cats! Shawn and Dolores both donated straw for the shelters (hard to come by in a pinch). I popped in to pick up the straw from Muddy Paws and when they heard what we were up to they handed us a bag of food and wished us luck. Things were looking up - at least for the survivors. Eva and Lisa picked me up at 2 and off we went!
Please note, the following pictures from here on were taken by Eva Prokop, anyone using these pictures should credit her and link to her Flickr site.
We found a box and removed the remains of the one from the street so he could rest peacefully with dignity. Then back to the disaster area.
Time to get to work.
We saw a black bag around a box, which made us all uneasy luckily it was empty.
First things first, we got food out asap!
Lisa found Mary laying on the ground and found her a nice place in a tree to rest.
Then we went searching for more shelters. We knew there were more, just had to find them. Lisa found this one, put it back together, filled it with straw and bagged it.
Eva went to work on this one.
She filled it with straw (no, we don't know what happened to the insulation) and weighed it down with a sandbag we found.
Lisa found another shelter, but the lid was nowhere to be found, we figured we may have to improvise.
Then we kept searching, not just for shelters and the lid to the blue shelter, but for anything that helped us understand what all went down over there. 
We are all happy to report we did not find anything we hoped not to find.
Then...epic find by Lisa! The lid to the blue shelter! SCORE!
Now we were just putting it all together. We used plywood to cover and weigh down these shelters. 
Then over to the old feeding station where I put the shelters I found earlier in the day.
We filled them up with straw.
Then we arranged them around the food and water and made sure the doors pointed in so wind and water entry would be minimal.
Then we leaned some plywood against it to provide more shelter from bad weather.
And there we go! Safe, dry and warm shelter with plenty of food for the survivors.
And here is a sneak peak inside:)
We lost many of our feral friends last night, all over the North East. If you want to help please donate to local TNR rescuers and groups, get certified with Neighborhood Cats to perform TNR-Spay/Neuter, foster, adopt, pledge to spay/neuter 5 cats next year, volunteer...there are many ways to lend a helping hand. My friends and I are not a group, we're not an organization, we don't have any funding, we just go out and do what we can to help, and you can too. You don't need special skills to do TNR, all you need is a desire to help. 
Thank you for reading and please share your own stories with us of your colonies and TNR efforts.