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Feral Cat Assistance Program
Although most feedback we get on our trap/neuter/return (TNR) program is supportive, we do occasionally get asked some tough questions about letting cats continue to live outdoors rather than rescuing them and placing them in loving homes. For the outdoor cats we are working with, indoor living is not an option -- they would be like fish out of water. Sterilizing them and returning them to a managed colony, on the other hand, gives them a healthier life and the community a "kitten free" zone to eventually bring our cat birth rate in line with our cat adoption rate.
This does not mean that we believe in the propagation> of feral cats -- much the contrary. Our goal is to limit their numbers by sterilizing them and letting attrition take its course. If kittens under 8 weeks are found in a colony, we recommend socializing them and adopting them out as house cats -- provided there are homes available to absorb them. If not, we recommend leaving them with their colony and sterilizing them before 16 weeks of age.
If you encounter feral cats living near where you live or work,
investigate whether anyone is feeding them --
in many instances that part of feral cat management is already in place.
If there is a caregiver,
refer them to us to apply for our TNR veterinary assistance.
The sooner we get the outdoor cats sterilized,
the better off all cats will be.
Contact us if you'd like to learn more or visit our web site at TLConline.org.
Barn Cat Adoption Program
This process began last fall when we renovated the barn structurally -- cabling the mortise-and-tenon-joined beams together and replacing some of the rotted beams and posts. We added many windows to provide more natural light and re-nailed every plank of barn siding. This spring we power-washed inside and out -- repainted the exterior, whitewashed the interior cat areas and lined the corral fence with chicken wire and netting to confine the cats. Our 100-year-old dairy barn is a treasure of Americana and we wanted to be sure we preserved its character and charm, while still creating a nurturing home for the cats. Through the creativity of volunteer Bill Dergis, the stable has been transformed into a kitty wonderland -- full of ramps, stairs, perches and hidey-holes to entertain and challenge the most curious of cats.
Unlike the elderly companion cats that grace our farmhouse, feral cats are anxious around people so we have provided viewing windows for visitors, rather than allowing direct access. Although feral cats are bountiful, most people have never seen one and we thought a "show-and-tell" colony would let them view how peaceful and beautiful feral cats really are in a natural setting.
While we discourage relocation of feral cats,
in some instances it's necessary.
Our first resident, Bastet, is an example:
Bastet was part of a managed colony near UM's north campus.
She was gone for a few days in March,
and when she reappeared, was dragging her rear legs.
Dr. Meyer of Aardvark & Friends,
determined she had a broken pelvis and prescribed six weeks of confinement
with twice-daily massages.
With our staff caregiver Amy Marcinkowski lovingly providing therapy,
Bastet regained the use of her hind legs.
There is still some minor nerve damage in her rear paws,
which would make living outdoors unsafe, but lucky for her,
she formed a lasting relationship with Bill Dergis
who has moved her home where she continues to improve.
Although our goal is to place our feral cats at farms, we can provide limited rehabilitation services for injured feral cats as well
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