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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Project Save Feral Kittens

It seems that a new blog is extremely past due, so first I wanted to offer my excuse for the huge gap between blogs. I was extremely busy with the animal rescue this year and neglected the blog for My DogPatch, because my hands were too full. Besides having the puppy inside and potty training him, I also had 13 kittens and 3 momma cats in my home at one point during the summer. It was a difficult time for me that involved a lot of hard work, lots of litter box scooping, much carpet cleaning, flea treatments, and more. All the while, I was making sure that all were properly fed, litter box trained, and handled with love, while fighting the horrible battle with pesky fleas and searching for their forever homes. The blog may have been ignored, but the animals sure were not.

I am proud to say that we placed 19 kittens in loving forever homes this year and they were all rescued from feral moms. The feral cat colony around our house is growing too fast. I was looking for a catch and release program for the feral cats, when the new kitties starting arriving into this cruel world. There were so many new litters of kittens, that I had to abandon the catch and release program research, to concentrate on the new little kitten lives that were being added. My husband and I started finding the newborns outside and bringing them inside.

We lost 2 baby kittens that were too sick to recover. It is so sad when you try to save a little innocent kitten, and all your efforts are just not good enough. No doubt, they probably would not have made it anyway, but I sure tried to save them. It upsets me so much when they don't make it, that it is hard not to give up on the project all together. My friends told me that I brought too much heartache on myself when the kittens die, and that I should give up on my project for my own sanity's sake. I always experience a guilt trip, thinking maybe there was something else that I should have done, and it always hurts so much, that I think it is not worth it to put myself through this . . . until I have a success story, and then it all seems worth it.

I was ready to give up my work, when I had a success story with a sick feral kitten that we named Hershey. She was born while I was on vacation and was not found in time to be able to catch her. There were other kittens in the litter that died right away and one other kitten that I was able to catch and bring inside. But Hershey was too afraid and could not be caught. She had been running from me for a couple of weeks, when I gave up on being able to save her. It has been my experience that, if I can't catch them by the time they are 3 to 6 weeks old, they will always be afraid of humans and they will not develop the kind of nature that people expect from their pets.

The excessive rain along with a cold weather snap, was to blame for Hershey's upper respiratory infection. Her eyes were infected and matted together and she got sick enough for me to be able to catch her. We started her on meds right away... liquid antibiotics and Tetramiacin ointment, for her eyes. She was too sick to run from us, or even care that a human was holding her. It was a success story for one sick feral kitty. She became better as each day passed and within a week, she was back in the regular house kitty population and ready for a new forever home. It was harder to give her up than the others we fostered. Taking the extra time and care for a sick baby kitty, has a way of building a bond that is very hard to break. I screened extra closely for Hershey's new home. but was able to place her very soon. I still miss her every day.

Because of Hershey's speedy recovery, I decided not to give up on trying to help the feral kittens. I had been so sad and hurt from the first two kittens that died, that I almost decided to give up my feral cat rescue work. Now I will continue the research for a catch and release program for the adult feral cats. Project Save Baby Feral Kittens is over for this year, but Project Feral Spay/Neuter Program is starting back up.

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