Official Feline Express™ Driver!
Hello All, Mom Linda Here!
I am now an official Feline Express™ Driver. I passed my trial “do it yourself” training ride with flying colors! At least that is what I was told. Given the enthusiasm from Savannah’s readers when I posted about my training as a Feline Express™ driver, I am certain you are going to enjoy coming along on my last training ride. Please follow along all year to learn more about Savannah’s new Paw It Forward Project.
The final certification ride means I had to do everything and Julie, the founder of Outcast Cat Help who began this lifesaving program with our local public shelter, was the ride along.
But first I want to clarify how this Return to Field (RTF) program differs from the classic Trap, Neuter, Return program (TNR). Several of you asked “what’s different?” And the difference is LARGE. The difference is all about who trapped the cats. RTF is a public shelter dependent program.
TNR is not. Any rescue can launch its own TNR program whether the local public shelter assists them or not. No transfer partner (rescue) can do RTF UNLESS the cats they are returning were first trapped by the PUBLIC and brought to the shelter as a feral, stray surrender. RTF does not involve any of us who participate to do any trapping. We are the “freedom ride” back to their neighborhood for the community cats brought to the public shelter. We set them free rather than the shelter having to euthanize them.
Allow me to share the four cats who joined me on my certification Feline Express™ ride. Enjoy the joyful very short (2-5 seconds) videos
I had four cats to return—one male and three females. I have a 2000 Toyota 4 Runner of which I have been a kind and caring caretaker. I love my car, but for this ride, I draped the cargo section in black plastic garbage bags, and then placed old towels over the plastic should any kitty decide to leave me a urine sample!! Towels absorb, plastic protects from absorption into my cargo mat.
My first cat was the male. Orange tabby. BIG guy!! Once I released him, it was clear that not only did he know he was home, so did his neighbors. They never ever barked even once.
Clearly Mr. Marmie knew where he was and heard the dinner bell chiming. His neighbors also recognized him and never barked once.
And Mr. Marmie was clearly headed for his dinner chow!
The joy of being a Feline Express™ Driver is enough to make one both heady at the thought of a life saved and yet, also filled with concern as to what will happen after I drive away. I always leave with positive thoughts and feelings just to send the cats on their way.
My second release of my certification ride—Ms. Cow Cat dashed for cover, then stopped to look back at us. Let me tell you, that is one very special moment—I can hear her saying “thank for the ride guys! I am home now!” And then she dashes up the front walk to look for her expected dinner. You may ask, “how do you know what happens once they are released?” And I answer you “I don’t.” But I have faith in my heart that these cats always seem to know they are home.
My third release that day was pretty fast, once she decided to end her nap in her feral den!
And my fourth release of the day, Ms Midnight, just did what black panther cats always do—she slipped off into midnight.
In our county, we serve a lot of different cultures of animal ownership. Feline Express™ drivers never know the neighborhoods in which we release cats. But thus far, almost two years later in program operation for OCH, we have had no extremely negative experiences.
I personally want to thank ALL who chose to donate to Outcast Cat Help (OCH)after my first post about my training to become a Feline Express™ driver. OCH continues to be challenged with the realities of being a small, all volunteer, RTF transfer partner with a very very large heart. Once again, I invite anyone who is so inclined to give them a boost by shopping on their Amazon wish list or—even better—give them the gift of freedom by donating funds to allow them to purchase all the needs required to keep the Feline Express™ alive.
My thanks to all Savannah’s readers for supporting her current Paw It Forward Project.