Cindy Lou and her two brothers were discovered outdoors by one of Simply Cats’ volunteers. This volunteer had noticed them before on her neighbor’s property and was concerned about their welfare. They were only 12 to 16 weeks old. It was winter in Idaho, and the kittens were dirty, skinny, and injured.
Cat Town is sometimes asked what they mean when they say their mission is to help the “hardest-to-place” cats. Twiggy is a perfect example. This 13-year-old black cat needs daily medicine for a thyroid condition and tries to disappear whenever a stranger comes by. Add that all up and you’ll find that there aren’t many people who would give her a chance. Oh, and it didn’t help that she was scheduled to be euthanized by her caretakers because she wasn’t using her litter box.
Even though Lowell was abandoned outside the Oakland animal shelter, he still seemed like one of the lucky ones. He tested positive for FIV, but was pretty easy going and affectionate, so he was quickly moved into adoption at the shelter. For the most part, cats in the adoption room at the shelter fall of Cat Town’s radar unless they start to become stressed there. Lowell had all the signs of a cat who’d sail through and be adopted quickly, so they were pleased to see him move into the adoption room.
Sunday arrived at Oakland Animal Services (OAS), the city’s municipal shelter, in a trap. Estimated to be one-year-old, and with a clipped ear, staff at Cat Town knew she had likely lived her young life outdoors. Nothing about her behavior in the shelter suggested that she was accustomed to being around people, and, in truth, we were a little afraid to interact with her, as she would hiss and growl at anyone who came close.
NYC’s Community Cats Provide Non Toxic Pest Deterrent
Recently, four feral cats that we helped relocate to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center have caught the attention of journalists. Their stories and headlines have focused on how these cats are providing the service of driving rats away from the Javits Center’s loading docks. While this is true, many of these articles missed the point that these cats were not simply turned loose to hunt rats. Their original territory was destroyed by construction and, with the help of the non-profit NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, the Javits Center gave them a home where they could live out their feral lives under the care of sympathetic humans. The mission of the NYCFCI, which receives no government funding, is outlined below, including attention to the discrepancies found in recent media coverage.
In New York City, more than 6,000 trained volunteers practice the humane Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) colony management technique to sterilize, vaccinate, feed, and monitor already existing, self-formed cat colonies until they completely disappear through gradual attrition. The NYCFCI provides free TNR certification training workshops throughout the five boroughs. Those who complete the workshop become eligible for free spay/neuter and other free services provided by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, the ASPCA, and other area organizations to support their volunteer work to help community cats.
It is true that neighborhoods and areas hosting spayed/neutered community cat colonies managed through TNR do enjoy the collateral benefit of a non-toxic rodent deterrent. The scent established by hosting and feeding cats regularly in one place is what keeps the rodents away. Breeding female rats will move away from an area inhabited by resident cats that would clearly be a danger to their litters. When the breeding females move out, the male rats follow. Cats will remain in place with the daily food, water, and shelter provided by a colony caretaker, and will not just follow the rodents for survival.
The NYCFCI would never place a cat on the street for the purpose of providing rodent control. Our express mission is to have as few cats living on the streets as possible. The very rare person who offers to adopt a feral cat or colony in need of relocation must pass an application process showing they wish to provide compassionate daily care to the cat or colony at-risk, and are not merely looking for “mousers.”
It was by coincidence that the Javits Center offered to host a colony of cats, and shortly thereafter an already existing group of street cats needed relocation from an area that had become too dangerous for them to continue to be cared for safely. The NYCFCI knew that several cats had already lived safely at the north end of the Javits Center for more than ten years.
Relocating cats is not easy, and it requires careful planning and time. These new cats were successfully relocated from danger to safety and released at the Javits Center after a three-week period of confinement onsite for habituation after confirming their comfort level in an area with heavy traffic and loud noise. As it turned out, the new cats have helped to control the rodent population at the south end’s loading docks, but that would not have been sufficient reason for our placing them there.
They had been offered a permanent home, not conditional to their performance as rodent deterrents. It worked out marvelously to mutual benefit at the Javits Center, but providing “mousers” is not a feature of the NYCFCI program.
Cats have lived near human dwellings for thousands of years because we need each other. Even the most feral community cats rely on humans for food and shelter, either directly or indirectly. Both humans who are cat lovers and those who are not can agree: a well managed, TNR-ed cat colony can provide a mutually beneficial addition to most communities. Cats who become a part of a managed colony are saved, and humans reap the benefits of non-toxic rodent deterrent.
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is supported entirely by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals and receives no government funding. You can help them continue to save the lives of New York City’s feral and stray community cats and humanely reduce the number of kittens being born on the streets by supporting the efforts of October’s Monthly Mojo, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative by donating to their Gift That Gives More Campaign.
Visit NYCferalCat.org for more information
Forgotten Feline: Pinky
Last month, Marie, a concerned Bronx resident, contacted the New York City Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) to request help for Pinky, a young, feral, gray tabby from a local colony, who was in trouble. Marie had spotted her wandering the streets with a rusty, broken can on her head. Unable to eat or drink in the extreme heat of the summer, Pinky was in dire need of assistance.
Marie had tried to get help for Pinky for almost a week, but to no avail. She reached out to the Alliance just in time. Within a matter of hours, Pinky was trapped and brought to a local, feral-friendly veterinarian.
First, Pinky was sedated so that the can could be removed and she could be examined. Due to the amount of time she spent in the can, she was severely dehydrated, and had sustained some injuries from the metal cutting her skin. The vet administered fluids, antibiotics, and treatment for her wounds. After some TLC, Pinky was ready to be returned to her colony. Because of donor support, the NYCFCI is able to care for New York City's forgotten felines, and cats like Pinky can receive the care they so critically need.
"Thank you for helping Pinky... when no one else would! We are very grateful to the Mayor's Alliance. We tried to get help for a week and then called you. She's doing great today!"
-- Marie, Bronx
Supporting the NYC Feral Cat Initiative strengthens our life-saving efforts… one cat at a time! To support the efforts of October’s Monthly Mojo, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, and help them continue the work they do to help animals like Pinky, please donate to their Gift That Gives More Campaign.
The Jackson Galaxy Foundation #MonthlyMojo beneficiary
for October 2016 is
NYC Feral Cat Initiative
A program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
Of NYC, NY
The Big Apple
Tens of thousands of street cats live in alleyways, backyards, and outdoor spaces of New York City. Because these cats are not socialized to humans, they are not candidates for adoption, and most adult feral cats taken in at city shelters are euthanized. In addition, the breeding of these street cats’ results in more kittens entering the shelters taking away homes that would otherwise go to the adult cats already there.
The New York City Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) is a program of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. The program is committed to solving NYC’s feral and stray community cat overpopulation crisis through the humane, non-lethal method of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). NYCFCI helps to reach The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals goal of ensuring that no dog or cat of reasonable health and temperament is killed merely because he or she does not have a home.
What is TNR?
Stray and feral cats are humanely trapped, evaluated, given a rabies vaccination, left-ear tipped, spayed or neutered by a veterinarian, and then returned to the familiar habitat of their original colony. Tame cats and kittens young enough to be socialized are removed for adoption placement in permanent indoor homes. NYCFCI provides free services and resources to TNR caretakers and community cats.
How can you help? Just $5 supports the NYC Feral Cat Initiative allowing them to continue educating and training New Yorkers about TNR, and to provide critical resources and services to NYC's community cats to continue to save lives. See how else your donations help.
Not everyone can go out and participate in the TNR program but you can help in other ways. By purchasing this Feral Cat Buddy catnip toy for your favorite kitty, $5 of your purchase goes directly to New York City Feral Cat Initiative. So in your small way, you are doing your part to help the overpopulation crisis of NYC’s street kitties.
Thanks to the successful community collaboration of partner groups and shelters, NYCFCI has made dramatic progress toward their goals over the last 13 years. Today, 9 out of every 10 lives are saved, as compared to 1 out of 4 when the Alliance began. Since 2003, euthanasia at Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) shelters has been reduced by over 83 percent. What a wonderful success rate.
Each Sunday, a heartwarming story about another successful TNR or re-homing of a community cat will be posted here. Check back to read a story that will renew your faith in human kind and the animals they save.
Connecting with children in underserved neighborhoods
The children in the neighborhoods where Charm City Companions works inspire our team. When we pull onto the block, sometimes dozens of children of all ages, flock to the spay/neuter transport van bombarding us with all kinds of stories and propositions. “I’ll give you $5 for that cat…with the cage.” or “I’m gonna have 12 dogs and 17 cats when I have my own house.” Many of the kids just want to see the animals and ask questions, giving us a stage for sharing information about the importance of vaccinations and spaying or neutering pets. It’s through these children that we’ve been able to build long-term relationships with many pet families.
One of our favorite, young pet advocates is Harmony. She is eight and believes she’s in charge of her grandmom’s dogs. Harmony is precocious and at times ‘tests’ all the grown-ups around her, but she has extended our reach into her grandmom’s home. Our relationship started with a series of phone calls from Harmony, telling us to call her now! She left 13 messages one day, each no less than 60 seconds.
When we spoke to Harmony’s grandmother, Ms. Lisa, we found out one of her four dogs was pregnant. We were able to help by neutering her three male dogs and planned to have Snowball spayed after she had the litter and was finished nursing. Sadly, Snowball died two days after delivering three puppies. Ms. Lisa had no idea what to do with the puppies and was feeding them cow’s milk. After two of the puppies died, Harmony told her grandmom she wanted to call Charm City Companions. Harmony left another series of messages telling us the full story, and again, commanding us to call her immediately. Since then we’ve been able to support Ms. Lisa and Harmony by providing in-home veterinary care and guidance, food for them to nurse their orphaned puppy, puppy shots and four months later, Harmony has called to remind us she needs to get her puppy, Ruffy, neutered.
We’ve also had other calls from people who’ve said Harmony told them to call. We hope when she’s older she’ll officially volunteer for Charm City Companions, although Harmony is already doing an admirable job for animals in her neighborhood.
Extending Our Reach Through Community Ambassadors
Our outreach volunteers all agree that, in addition to the animals they are attending to, meeting the people in our community is especially gratifying. We are taken by the extraordinary compassion displayed towards the animals in the neighborhood by not only their pet guardians, but by all members of the community. During door-to-door canvassing we are greeted with welcoming conversation from those who are caring for a pet and those who are simply pet and/or people advocates. Often an advocate is willing to work with us on the care and feeding of animals.
Brother Reggie, for example, doesn’t have a pet of his own, but he is well connected in his community and is keenly aware of who does. We met Reggie one day while doing outreach following transporting pets to and from the spay/neuter clinic. We first saw Reggie in the morning when we picked up a pet from his neighbor across the street. He was out feeding the pigeons. We noticed that he had his eye on us but unfortunately we didn’t have the time to engage. Later in the afternoon, after we dropped off the pet and started canvassing on the block, we ended up at Reggie’s stoop. We told him who we were and he said he had seen us earlier on his block. We chatted and learned that Brother Reggie runs the outreach ministry for the church next to his house. He’s deeply embedded in the neighborhood and includes outreach to the community as part of his daily routine.
Reggie invited Charm City Companions (CCC) to speak at his church. We were introduced by the pastor who gave us the opportunity to speak to the congregation. We shared our work and the mission of CCC, which was well received by the members of the church and proved to be a very meaningful and productive experience for us. We also learned that Reggie provides people in the community spay/neuter vouchers whenever he finds someone with a pet they want to have altered. Since January 2016 we have had over 30 pet guardians contact us saying, “Brother Reggie told me to call you.”
Brother Reggie's pet guardian story is only one of dozens of other stories. Through these guardian relationships we are able to not only extend Charm City Companions' reach, but in Reggie's case we have helped to extend an important mission of this special neighborhood church. We now meet regularly to talk about ways we can continue to work side by side to meet the needs of the neighborhood and its pet community. Whether our meetings take place on the side of the street, or on Reggie’s stoop, they are as productive as any formal meeting around a table in a boardroom.
All Charm City Companions' volunteers have their own special four-legged companion. We are all devoted to our furry friends and are drawn to this work because of the time we are able to spend with them. While engaging with other pet guardians in underserved communities, we have learned that so many have never had a pet before and that often leads us to reflect on our own personal journey as a pet guardian. How did we learn what to do? Who told us about spay and neuter and how did we know our pets needed access to water 24/7? Basic but critical information to the well being of our pets.
We also found out that these new pet guardians are not necessarily people who opted in. They are often guardians who have opened their heart and their home to another pet guardians in need. There is a significant number of people having to surrender pets for a variety of reasons, often because they simply cannot afford it. But in underserved communities, surrendering to a shelter is not the norm. Instead, people turn to their friends, neighbors, or family members for help in caring for their animal.
One of my favorite stories is of Juanita, our new Charm City companion and client and her three pets that she lovingly rescued from around her neighborhood. Juanita’s new found dog, Pup Pup, brought challenges to Juanita's family, but Juanita met the challenges head on! Pup Pup was free roaming in the neighborhood and when Juanita saw that the poor, defenseless 10 lb. Jack Russell Terrier was being teased, she picked her up and took her home. Fortunately, Juanita found her way to Charm City Companions through her own thoughtful research. We learned during our initial consultation with Juanita that Pup Pup had a growth the size of a walnut. To accommodate Juanita’s busy schedule, that included a full-time job and school, we picked Pup Pup up for her spay appointment. When we returned Pup Pup she was spayed and no longer had the growth. Our local spay/neuter clinic, MD SPCA, removed the growth, at no charge, during the spay surgery for Pup Pup. This was over a year ago and today Pup Pup is doing great! We applaud all new pet guardians, especially those in underserved communities who generously provide for animals in need of care and shelter. These care givers play a pivotal role in preventing hundreds of animals from entering the shelter.
Charm City Companions keeps a special caregiver and his cats together
Near the beginning of summer we received a referral from one of our TNR (Trap-Neuter- Return) partners. It was a timely referral, since we were going to be transporting what we refer to as ‘a large load’ from this client’s own housing development to a distant clinic the next day. That evening, having been told this potential client had five cats, we followed up on the referral with an in-person visit to Mr. Charles Fletcher.
Indeed, Mr. Fletcher, who we came to know as ‘Fletch,’ had five cats that had been roaming in and out of his home. These were all cats that Fletch had taken in from around his court. After a short conversation, we determined that Fletch needed food, cat litter, flea treatment, and another litter box, which, thanks to donations from supporters, we would be able to provide to Fletch when we returned Coco, Black, Faith, Two-Face and Lady Sunshine from their spay appointments.
When we returned all the ‘girls’ back to Fletch, we were surprised when he told us that he didn’t want us to bring them back. We asked him why and he said, “There will be more to take care of.” It turned out that two of Fletch’s cats had litters when he originally took them in, and he had found homes for all seven kittens. He was concerned about his ability to care for any new cats in need of help who might come along. We assured him that we would continue to support him with his efforts helping cats. We explained that now that all of his free-roaming females wouldn’t have any more kittens, we were on our way to reducing overpopulation on his court.
Since we met Fletch we have received at least one call a week from someone who says, “Fletch told me to call you all.” Fletch's generous acts to protect numerous homeless cats have already led to the care of countless others!”
To support the efforts of September’s Monthly Mojo, Charm City Companions, and to help them continue the work they do to help animal lovers like Fletch, please donate to their Gifts That Gives More campaign
The Jackson Galaxy Foundation #MonthlyMojo beneficiary
for September 2016 is
Charm City Companions
of Baltimore, Maryland
“The Greatest City in America”
1. Jackson's Pick
Charm City Companions (CCC) is a community outreach initiative, modeled after The HSUS Pets for Life program, which was co-developed by Annie Pruitt, co-founder of CCC. Charm City Companion’s goal is to extend the reach of animal welfare services, resources, and information to under-served communities in Baltimore City.
They do this by going door-to-door to meet people within the community and learn about their pets. To best serve their clients they make spay/neuter, an important pet wellness service, free to those that live in their Area of Focus. This Area of Focus has been selected because nearly 40% of the people living in these neighborhoods live below the poverty level and therefore struggle with the cost of spay/neuter.
You can help! Just $20 provides basic vaccinations for a cat or dog. $40 provides a veterinary visit. Any donation allows a team of volunteers to provide information and necessary wellness care for free to pet families in the under-served Baltimore area. See how else you can help Charm City Companions continue the great work they do in Baltimore here.
Over 70% of pets in Baltimore City’s under-served communities have not received any veterinary care and 88% are not spayed/neutered. Charm City Companion’s support has prevented 100’s of pets from being surrendered to the shelter in just two years.
Most clients of CCC have no transportation and, in Baltimore City, cannot take pets on public transport if not in a carrier. This further limits access to affordable wellness resources. CCC eliminates the transportation barrier to adequate pet wellness resources by providing free transportation to spay/neuter appointments and veterinary visits.
By improving the relationship between a person and his or her pet, they help to improve the quality of life for both by increasing the chances of the pet staying in the home permanently.
You too can help too by purchasing Jackson Galaxy’s latest book, “Catify to Satisfy”. For every book purchased in September, $5 will go to Charm City Companions to help more pets get veterinary care. Help out here.
Each Sunday, a heartwarming story about the outreach program of Charm City Companions and they great work they do will be posted here.
Templeton had a very traumatic start to his life. At only 5 weeks of age, he was found wandering the streets in Phuket, Thailand with an awful injury to his front leg, most likely from being hit by a car. Templeton’s leg was so badly damaged and deformed that it was beyond repair and have to be amputated.
Thankfully, Templeton has proven himself to be a resilient kitten and has had no trouble learning how to get by with only 3 legs. He can now be a playful, loving and cheeky kitten as all kittens should be and he is now safe. Templeton is now being cared for at the Soi Dog Foundation and is awaiting a loving home and family to call his own.
Coconut was only a year old when found on the streets of Thailand, but her suffering had been immense, enduring pain no animal should have to experience. She was found by a local lady who feeds stray cats in her neighbourhood. The lady contacted Soi Dog Foundation immediately. Both of Coconut's eyes were protruding from her head to such an extent that she could not close her eyelids. Her eyes sadly could not be saved, and Coconut was rushed to surgery to remove them. Once she recovered from surgery, Coconut adapted well and showed herself to be a loving and affectionate cat. She soon captured the attention of Louisa in the U.S., who opened her heart and home to this cat in need.
Coconut now has a home for life and will never suffer again.
The Jackson Galaxy Foundation’s Second International #MonthlyMojo beneficiary for August 2016 is Soi Dog Foundation of Thailand
Soi Dog Foundation's Mission is to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Thailand, resulting in better lives for both the animal and human communities, to end animal cruelty and to ultimately create a society without homeless animals.
And how are they doing that?
Soi Dog was founded in 2003 by Margot Homburg Park and John and Gill Dalley. Phuket was growing rapidly at the time and the stray dog and cat population was increasing at a fast pace. Witnessing the suffering endured by street animals, the three held Soi Dog’s first spay/neuter clinic utilizing volunteer vets from overseas.
Soi Dog Foundation helps these sick and injured cats of Thailand in three main ways:
First, they run spay and neuter clinics to sterilize the streets cats in various areas of Thailand. They believe spay and neuter is the only effective and humane way to prevent unwanted animals being born into suffering and death by starvation, injury, disease, or inhumane culling. Soi Dog's spay and neuter clinics have had a positive and lasting impact. (Soi Dog has reached a milestone of over 115,000 dogs and cats sterilized!).
Second, they run a dedicated cat hospital to treat the thousands of cats that come to their shelter each year. The clinic not only treats the cats in need but also has facilities to house cats that are in need of adoption.
Third, their team works very hard to find loving homes for hundreds of cats each year, and these cats can even be sent to new homes in the US, Canada, the UK and Europe.
You can help! Just $10 helps save the lives of cats in Thailand! See how else your donation can help here, where not even a credit card fee will be taken out of your donation.
Life can be cruel if you are a homeless cat in Thailand. Born into an endless cycle of suffering, these cats are battling disease, malnutrition and injuries caused by road accidents or cruelty. While Soi Dog Foundation runs a mass sterilization program to reduce the number of unwanted stray cats in Thailand, thousands of cats in need of urgent treatment still arrive at the shelter every year.
You can remind yourself every day, how felines all over the world need our help. $5 dollars of every purchase of this “Love You to the Moon & Back Kitty Car Charm” will go directly to the Soi Dog Foundation, helping them rescue another homeless animal.
Each Sunday, a heartwarming rescue story from Soi Dog will be posted here. Start off your week reading a heart-warming story of how another homeless animal was rescued from the streets of Thailand!