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Submitted by Gold River Cat Society via Care2.com:
It’s kitten season! For cat lovers this means pictures of friends’ newly adopted bundles of joy on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and whatever hip new social media sites I haven’t even heard of. But it also means stray fur babies who need help.
What should you do if you come upon kittens outdoors?
1. Assess the situation.
First investigate whether the young ‘uns are on their own. Their mother may be away temporarily to hunt for food, she may be hiding because you are there, or she may be moving the family, one by one, to cushier digs. Back a ways off, stay still, and watch. Give her some time — at least a few hours. If no mom appears, move on to #2 below.
If the mother shows up your action plan depends on whether she is a stray (a pet who has lost her home) or feral (a wild animal who wants nothing to do with you). It’s easy to tell the difference: try to pet her. If she won’t let you close enough for petting, try bribing her with food to get her within arms’ reach. To catch a stray mom, see #5 below.
If she is feral you’re looking at a TNR (trap-neuter-return) situation. Alley Cat Allies has a helpful guide to performing TNR. Keep in mind that kittens younger than eight weeks (here are some tips on determining a kitten’s age) should stay with their mother if at all possible; if they are in a safe location, they are best off remaining there with her. Bring them food, water and shelter (click here for a ton of shelter options).
If the kittens are more than four months old, don’t scoop them up and carry them off — they probably won’t take kindly to it. Treat them like feral cats (meaning they need TNR and not adoption) unless and until they prove otherwise.
2. Do you have time to do it right?
If you have decided they need to be taken in, consider how much time you have to give them. Stray kittens need more than food, litter and toys — they also need you. Without a lot of positive human interaction the kittens won’t be adoptable and will have to go back outside when they are old enough and have been spayed or neutered.
Kittens younger than four weeks require special round-the-clock care. Do a gut check and make sure you are up to the task before committing to take them on.
3. Can you get the kittens spayed or neutered?
If you take them in, you will need to have your little charges spayed or neutered when they are old enough to prevent them from producing yet more kittens who need homes. They will also need vaccinations and possibly other veterinary services too. Can you afford all of that?
If you can’t, do you have access to veterinarians or organizations that can help? Some vets will reduce their fees when the patient is a rescue, and there are groups that will subsidize the costs or even pay them in full. Find out whether there is one near you.
4. Can you get the kittens adopted?
Unless you plan to keep all the kittens you take in you will have to find adoptive families. Here are some tips on how to do that. Are you willing and able to put in the time and legwork it will take?
If you have considered all these questions and decided that you can’t or don’t want to do what it takes, alert a rescue group to the kittens’ location. Petfinder has a tool to find an organization near you.
If you are up for the challenge, here are your next steps.
5. Catching strays, including the shy ones.
If you’re lucky the kittens will be friendly. See #1 above on how to tell whether a cat likes people. If they let you pet them you can pick them up and pop them into a cat carrier to take them home.
For kittens you can’t touch you will need a humane or “no-kill” trap, which is a cage with a door that shuts when an animal is inside. Before buying one look for a rescue organization that loans them out. Read Alley Cat Allies’ instructions for trapping cats.
6. Make them feel at home.
Prepare a somewhat small, quiet space for the feline family. It should have no hidey-holes that you can’t reach into — you will need to touch the kittens to socialize them, administer any medications, take them to the vet, etc. Create a cozy spot in their room or enclosure where they can retreat and feel sheltered, but make sure you can get a hand in there.
Supply food bowls, water bowls, bedding and litter. The litter box must be shallow enough for stubby little legs to climb in. Fill it with a non-clumping litter — kittens can ingest litter, and you don’t want it clumping up in their tummies.
Keep the tots warm, especially if they are orphaned. Wrap a towel around a heating pad (set it to the lowest temperature) or a hot water bottle. Kittens must also have space to get away from the warmth so they don’t get too hot.
7. Socialize the kittens.
Teaching kittens to love people is a gradual process. Some of them take to people quickly, but prepare to be patient with more reticent types. My favorite part of socialization is the last stage, which involves lots of petting, cuddling and playing, but you have to lay the ground work to get there. The Urban Cat League has a video and a written guide to socializing kittens. Alley Cat Allies offers a detailed how-to.
For more information on helping stray kittens, visit the ASPCA, Petfinder and Alley Cat Allies. The Humane Society has ideas about preventing overpopulation and reaching out to help stray kittens even if you don’t stumble upon any yourself.
Here’s to kittens and making sure they are all safe and sound!Email This Post
The Gold River Garden Centre
-by Bridgite Messer
Has spring already sprung? Pineapple Express, El Niño, climate change….whatever it is, gardener’s can certainly take advantage. Just to be able to get outside this early in the year without a rain coat, or mitts and scarf, is very nice and there are many jobs that can safely be done:
So this will be the fifth season for the garden centre. Each season has had a different focus with the intention of enabling Gold River to still have access to a large variety of plants despite only having a small garden centre. Most categories have already been covered, so I plan to start over, returning to Year One by bringing in a large order of trees and bushes. If anyone has any special requests, now would be a good time to let me know. (Until end of March)This order will probably arrive early in April (usually after Easter) with the bedding plants starting in the first week of May. The weather might change this schedule, but bedding plants don’t typically perform very well if they are planted too soon.
The 2015 seeds are in! They are located at the main store until garden traffic dictates to move them over to the garden centre. I’ve got something new for you this year: Sprouting Seeds! Home grown sprouts are up-to-the-minute fresh (they grow until ready to eat) and delicious. These are seeds that can very simply be sprouted right by your kitchen sink, up-to-the-minute fresh and eaten within about three days! Sprouts abound with antioxidants; they’re full of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. And talk about good for you: ounce for ounce, they provide more nutrients than any other known whole food. I’ve been enjoying fresh sprouts for about a year and as your guinea pig, I can soundly tell you that it’s simple and fun, proving that you can enjoy them year-round in juices, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, soups and other dishes. The Sprouting Seeds come from West Coast Seeds and are certified organic: alfalfa, mung, broccoli, fenugreek, pea, sunflower, wheat grass…and more. I can teach you how to get started or you can easily learn from the tons of information on the internet. I found this little blurb onsproutlivinging.com that might inspire you to give “sprouting” a try:
10 Benefits of Eating Sprouts
Via Gold River Cat Society:
The crocuses are up, other bulbs are sprouting, and the salmonberry bushes are budding. All this means we have an earlier Spring than last year’s, if you can believe that, which then means kittens could arrive earlier than usual.
If at all possible, please ensure that, if your cats are not fixed, they remain indoors. If you cannot do that, contact the Gold River Cat Society at 250-283-7606 to help you with your cat’s spaying/neutering.
This offer is open only to people who CANNOT afford to get their pets fixed. Some people availed themselves of this service last year without proving financial hardship and took money away from those who truly needed it. Because of this, we will need those who request our help to fill out a confidential application form and supply proof that they really cannot afford the fees. If they can pay for some, we ask that they pay for their cat’s inoculations, which are cheaper than the surgery. But since private pockets are still the source of funding until we get our charity status from the CRA, please have patience if you are on the waiting list.
BTW, if a person can afford to buy and operate a large pick-up, an SUV, or a higher-end car; buy liquor/drugs; and/or buy cigarettes, his/her application may not be accepted. But we will expect you to get your cat fixed!
We will also take in any unintended litters, so PLEASE don’t throw them away like trash. We would also like to be informed of any feral (wild) litters so we can socialize them and adopt them out. At that time, we’d like you to tell us their precise location(s) so we can trap and spay the mother (vet science had progressed to the point where Dr. Dave can spay a lactating female without drying up her milk).
Giving a voice to those we often do not hear,
The Gold River Cat SocietyEmail This Post
Via Gold River Cat Society
In 2014, The Gold River Cat Society accomplished the following:
Kittens- We had a total of 49 kittens, 4 of whom did not make it because of illness. Of the other 45, two were stolen from the store (theft reported to the RCMP and on social media but have had no progress), and the rest were adopted out through Bosley’s in Campbell River. We’re still in the process of fixing the last, which were our Halloween kittens (2 all black and 2 all orange/ginger) who were adopted out in early November.
Cats- The GRCS fixed 12 owned cats. We also adopted out 5 adult cats through Bosley’s in Parksville; 3 to the CR SPCA; 3 to Cat Span’s Barn Cat program in Oceanside; and 4 to Paw Prints, a rescue based in Gibsons that sends adoptables to Vancouver’s Animals in Action and unadoptables to a barn colony on a property in Kamloops. We rehomed 2 locally.
Village of Gold River/BCSPCA Grant- This year, the GRCS trapped approx. 26 feral cats for TNR’ing (Trap, Neuter, Return) based around the Gold Crest Apts and Larch Place. We’re awaiting formal confirmation of this year’s grant, which we hope will finish the purpose of fixing all the feral cats in town; however, we have trapped the “easy” ones and now must go for those who are trap-wary. Wish us luck.
We also provide food and water to the feral cats, and food and litter to people who cannot afford the supplies.
If you know of any abandoned or feral (wild) cats or kittens, please contact us at 250-283-7606. Speak clearly and give precise locations of the cats along with any other information you think necessary.Email This Post