Animals

Moby enchants in a touching youtube video that promotes adoption Photo, Edwin Luciano

If you love animals, and you care about animal rescue, watch this video.  Moby makes a case for adoption that is sure to win the heart of anyone. You’re bound to smile and become a really big Moby fan.

Animals

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Tony and Trap Neuter Release

Garfield: Saved by Kindness


Some Links to Rescue Organizations
Little Shelter  at:  http://www.littleshelter.com
Last Hope at:  http://lasthopeanimalrescue.org/
Paws at:  http://www.paws.org/
The Feline Clinic/Dr. Laura Gay Senk at:http://www.myvetonline.com/drsenk/general-information.html
League for Animal Welfare at:http://www.lfaw.org/

Tony
“Feral”. Rescued from the Streets. Trapped, Neutered, Adopted
By A.G. Moore

Tony showed up under a front bush one morning and was offered a bit of tuna.  Apparently this was enough to convince him that he had found a safe place to stay.  He never left.

Eventually, Tony moved into an igloo in the backyard, and then to a cedar house on the front step and eventually, as the cold NY winters wore on him, into my house.

Tony died a couple of years ago.  As the end neared, he sought and received the comfort of a human caregiver.  His life and death were as peaceful as any creature could wish for.

Tony was the first of many ferals to turn up on my doorstep.  I established a relationship with Last Hope Rescue in Huntington, New York and began a very modest Trap/Neuter/Release program.  I never had a plan to feed or care for these “feral”cats.  As they showed up I responded to the need that was in front of me.

Trapping is not always easy.  One cat eluded me for weeks, but I sought advice from the rescue community (which is quite large and dedicated on Long Island) and eventually got my man.  There are low cost veterinary resources across the country to help in the trap/neuter process.  Several towns have programs (among them, The Town of Oyster Bay) to facilitate sterilization of ferals.

The level of involvement required from a trap/neuter/release effort varies on the inclination of the participant.  Once an animal is sterilized, the most important part of the program is accomplished, because at least there will be no more propagation of the feral population from that one animal.  In my case, the involvement grew because I could not turn away from the obvious need of the animals.

At the moment, there is a small number of cats who come to feed regularly at my home.  The feeding area is in an igloo, which is situated on the far side of the garage.  There are two igloos for habitation and also Tony’s cedar house, which has turned out to be quite sturdy and has endured through many New York seasons. In winter, there are small electric heating pads in the shelters.  The cats huddle in groups over the pads and seem to do quite well with this arrangement.

The population of ferals who feed and spend the night is not necessarily stable, though there do appear to be some regulars.  Each of the ferals has a notched ear – which means that someone somewhere has had the cat sterilized.

There have been a few tragedies.  One cat, I called him “Fuzzy”, was killed by a vet who was supposed to neuter him.  “Fuzzy” apparently had feline AIDS and this vet had a policy of killing cats who tested positive for the disease.  I signed the form agreeing to this procedure, but I did not realize when I dropped “Fuzzy” off that I had signed such a form.  I returned to pick up the animal at the end of the day and came home with an empty cage.  I learned that animals can live for many years with feline AIDS and that the test is not always reliable.

I never used that vet again and warned others about him.  I have also warned others to make certain they know the policy of the vet before leaving an animal and that authorization be required before the animal is killed.

Another tragedy occurred in front of my house.  A cat was startled, ran across the street suddenly and was killed by a fast-moving car.  On my small street, fast moving is more than thirty miles an hour.

We found the cat’s body hours later in a neighbor’s back yard.  It expired under a bush.

For those who would like to participate in a trap/neuter/release program, there are many organizations that can help  For those who do not want to become directly involved, there are many organizations to which you can donate and, as the saying goes, do your part.

Garfield
By A. G. Moore   June 4, 2011

The cat we came to know as Garfield appeared on our doorstep one day and begged for food. We named him Garfield because he was large and orange, just like the cartoon cat (we discovered later that orange cats are almost always male). Ferals are skittish, but Garfield was unusually fearful.  He not only avoided us, but also shied away from other cats.

Over time, as he learned that it was safe to eat at our house, Garfield became more approachable. At this point we were faced with several problems. For one thing, it was evident that Garfield was not used to the streets and that he suffered from encounters with ferals.  He would show up sometimes with wounds that had apparently been suffered in battle.  As we observed his behavior around cats in the established community,  the source of conflict was clear:  he did not respect the pecking order that existed at the feeding igloo.  Ordinarily, a dominant cat feeds first and then allows others to eat.  Sometimes the dominant allows others to feed at the same time, but this privilege is only granted to a select few.  Poor Garfield would blunder in the middle of the feeding routine and suffer the worse for his offense. We had to provided food for him separately and make certain that we fed him before a more dominant feral came along and muscled him out.

Another issue that we needed to deal with was his fertility:  there was no way for us to know if he had ever been neutered.  However, Garfield was really hard to trap. Someone from the animal rescue community recommended we contact Dr. Laura Gay Senk, who runs a clinic for ferals, and she advised us on trapping techniques.

Besides the issue of sterilization, Garfield had another problem: he was ill.  He drooled constantly, his fur was matted and dull and he generally seemed to be suffering from some kind of systemic distress.  We had to trap him so he could receive appropriate medical care.

Finally, we were successful.  We took him in the trap over to Dr. Senk’s clinic for neutering and evaluation. As we arrived at the clinic in the morning, we noted a group of people – all of them carrying cats in cages –   clustered around what appeared to be the entrance to a warehouse.  When the door to the clinic opened, we were ushered into a large, unfinished area where we were greeted by Dr. Senk and a couple of her assistants. Dr. Senk  asked about the cat’s history; I gave a brief summary of our experience with him, and we were told to return for him later in the afternoon.

I knew that Dr. Senk was highly regarded in the rescue community.  I knew that she treated hundreds, probably thousands of cats in her clinic every year, and yet the bare-bones environment….

Several hours later I made the trip out to Farmingdale and collected Garfield.  The assistants were dressed in medical scrubs – it was obvious that the “warehouse” had been converted into a sterile operating room.  Dr. Senk instructed one assistant to bring Garfield out and while we waited she gave me a full report.

Garfield was definitely male and had been neutered long before he ever appeared at my doorstep.  However, he had a tumor near his salivary gland and this caused him to drool. He also had lost all of his teeth and thus had difficulty in consuming certain foods.

Dr. Senk told me that she removed Garfield’s tumor and administered antibiotics to address a secondary infection.  She also had him de-wormed and treated for fleas.  The whole procedure – including the medicine I took home – cost me about a hundred dollars.

Garfield’s condition did improve – while Dr. Senk did not promise that he would remain well (because there was a chance that he had cancer), she did say that the procedure she performed would definitely help in the short term.

Eventually Garfield moved onto the front step of our house and began to compete with Tony (see the essay, Tony, above) for living space.  Garfield pushed Tony out of one cat residence and then another.  It became evident that Tony, warrior of old, was no longer able to defend his territory, so we took him into the home and turned the step over to Garfield.

I don’t remember how or why it happened, but Garfield began to stray away and then one day we didn’t see him anymore.  He had begun to look sick again, to drool and eat less so we figured he had gone off somewhere to die.

But this tale, unlike so many feral stories, has a happy ending.  Apparently Garfield found another home and wherever this home was, there was someone who procured for him further medical care.  We learned this because Garfield returned.  He was still a bit messy – but he’d put on weight and his drool seemed to have disappeared.

Garfied didn’t stay, but from time to time he still feeds at our house.  Whenever he does drop by we make sure to put some soft food out so he can mash it with his gums. Sometimes he doesn’t want to eat – he just sits and stares at one of us.  To be sure, his eyes are watery and cloudy; Garfield may never be a completely healthy cat.  But when we see him now, he isn’t fearful or hungry.  He walks with a confidence that reflects the new truth of his life – he has a home.

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