Savannah's Paw Tracks

Autobiography of a Former Shelter Cat

When Local Community S/N Resources Aren’t Enough


I sure do hope you aren’t gettin’ tired of me reportin” on my Mom L and the efforts she has been making lately to help all the community cats she can in our county in California. We live in Contra Costa County in Northern California.

CCC map

Unfortunately, as with many parts of the good ole US of A, not a lot of local governments believe they have any accountability to help the small hard working, mostly all volunteer, cat rescues do diddly about the trapping, spay and neuter and return to caregiver programs. You know it as TNR. The most critical component of any TNR program for any size privately funded rescue is the availability of low cost, high volume, spay and neuter clinics. My county doesn’t have any. Period. That’s it. None. And at last count we had about 170,000 community cats in my county compared to our neighbor, Sacramento county, who has about 70,000. And THEY have a very excellent low cost, high volume spay and neuter clinic, publicly funded.

In fact, Sacramento SPCA accepts some community cats from a few of my county’s zip codes into their S/N clinic for only $17 USD per cat. And my county supervisor could care less. Dad P talked with her. She just says “how nice of them”. She feels no shame in the fact that my county’s small under funded private cat rescues are shouldering the brunt of the county’s governmental accountability for managing and humanely controlling our community cats population. Go figure!!!

Fast forward to Mom L’s adventure last weekend. Outcast Cat Help (OCH) where Mom L volunteers as  Feline Express™ Driver, had a call from San Francisco, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA). Privately funded. They offered OCH FORTY free SPAY/NEUTER surgeries over a two weekend period in April, 2016. WOO HOO!!

BUT—there is always that “BUTT BUT”—right??!! The community cats had to first be trapped! And then transported from our county across the San Francisco Bay to SFSPCA.

As they say in Hollywood—”WHO YA GONNA CALL?? ”  In this case, OCH asked for “rides” for the trapped community cats and of course Mom L held her paw hand up high. And then she thought—”How in Ceiling Cat’s name will I get a bunch of cat traps WITH cats in my Toyota 4Runner??” And make that one hour drive to and from SFSPCA without having kitty pee drip on my car mats??


Line the back area with plastic garbage bags, then add layer of cardboard boxes to absorb the kitty pee odor, then add another layer of garbage bags, topped with old beach towels to prevent kitty pee from “sloshing”.


Mom L picked the community cats up at about 6:30 AM/PDST. It was a harsh early morning for all involved. One of her rescue pals, Ms Carol, joined Mom L on this early AM adventure.

Cats waiting for 8 hours plus for transport

Cats waiting for 8 hours plus for transport

Can you guess how many cats in traps Mom L had to get into her cargo space? Let’s look at loading.

ummm...we still have five m ore cats to load???

ummm…we still have five m ore cats to load???

Well, well, well—FIVE more cats in traps. What’ya gonna do? Why of course! Get those last four cats into SMALLER traps. Easy, right? Remember, all the cats are very feral. Terrified and not able to be touched.

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Ms Julie from OCH is a master at transferring these feral cats from a large trap to a smaller trap. And as she always says—”never touch the cats!”

WOO HOO!! Cats moved at last minute into smaller traps. Let the final loading begin. And just tell me in comments how many cat you think Mom L and OCH got into her cargo area??

Yupl that makes "x" number of cats

Yupl that makes “x” number of cats


Cats arrive at SFSPCA—

Headed for surgery

Headed for surgery

Here is the incredible surgery facility where our X number of community cats will be S/N, treated for fleas, worms, ear mites and vaccinated.

Fabulous facility

Fabulous facility


And then Mom L and Dad P joined up to bring the kitties back to Contra Costa County. They were released back to the homes from where they were trapped.

Waiting for their ride back home

Waiting for their ride back home

And of course there was that final loading. And remember, Dad P had not been present for the first loading so only Mom L knew how to get all those cats in traps back into her SUV.

Voila!! Everybody on board!!

Voila!! Everybody on board!!

All cats fit even better the second time around!!

One last HUGE learning Mom L had from this experience. Eleven of the “X” number of cats came from the same “home”. Basically, this site is a cat hoarder, meaning a human who intends good for the cats, but takes in so many, they cannot care adequately for any of them. The cats from this site were so flea infested, that once they received Revolution treatment, the dead fleas and flea feces fell off of them in hours. Enough to look like sweeping up sand from a beach. Mom L had to ask the SFSPCA staff to verify that the blood soaked trap covers were not the cats’ bleeding from surgery. It was, in fact, worse.

These cats were so flea infested that once the Revolution was applied, the dead fleas and flea feces dropped off onto the paper in their traps and then the cats had to urinate, and their urine caused the flea debris to “bleed”. Mom L has not yet been able to get that image driven from her mind.



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27 thoughts on “When Local Community S/N Resources Aren’t Enough

  1. Keep those posts coming! Peeps need to know the good work YOUR peeps are doing, for sure. Purrs, Seville.

  2. It is shocking that a local authority will not help assist in the TNR. This is shameful and this woman (and the council) needs a smack about the head (sorry frustration does that to me sometims….)

    My grateful thanks to SFSPCA for their kind work. This means a huge amount to the animals concerned, and the people.

  3. Another great post about the fantastic work you do, and without the assistance of your local county, which was truly put to shame by the SFSPCA.

  4. meowmeowmans on said:

    Thank you so much, Mom Linda and Dad Peter! You do such great and important work, and we are incredibly grateful and inspired.

    • thanks Kevin, we do what we can. I just hope I don’t cause Savannah’s readers to become bored. I try so hard to share the actual inside, hands on experience of what it means to commit to rescue of companion animals. I cannot begin to do most of what my local rescue contacts do, I cannot foster nor trap and hold, etc. But I can report on what that looks like and it is time consuming and life consuming work

  5. pilch92 on said:

    I never tire of stories where kitties are being helped. Your folks are amazing people, if everyone were like them, there would be no homeless cats.

    • Ms Ellen you are too kind. My Mom and Dad just do what they can. There is so much they cannot do like actual trapping, housing trapped cats after surgery etc. It is time consuming work. We are honored to be able to share how hard it is as we follow those who do the hands on work. Paw pats for sticking with me and my blog

  6. We have the same problems over here but even worse. We have no shelter, no clinic and three towns share the same overpriced animal control dept. UCFCC is working to become the animal control and build a shelter but the mayors don’t even want to talk with them. The few cats AC captures, they have to bring to a shelter 40 minutes away. Thanks to your peeps for all they do.

    • Oh My Cat! CK I had no idea that in such a metro area there would be no service. Shameful! City and county government bodies should not be elected unless they can present a plan for the humane care of the community cats and stray woofies.

  7. We never, ever get tired of hearing the good things the Mom is doing to help those in so much need!

    • awwww…thanks lots Brian. Mom L and I fret that we are boring folks, but then we so enjoy sharing our experiences. Not many “rescue” blogs seem to share the nitty gritty of what “rescue” really looks like. It is not always easy and those who are true professional cat trappers, committed to TNR, are a special bunch of folks. We will be doing a short series on the Life of a Professional Cat Trapper #TNR later this month

  8. Our county has some publicly funded TNR slots, but they seem to usually be on a short notice basis. The largest TNR program here actually drives to the next county’s shelter for spay/neuters. It’s amazing how they keep it all organized, but it’s still not the same as the county taking care of the cats in its own community, so we sympathize with how frustrating that must be for you, too.

  9. Our local rescue made it their mission to open a low cost spay/neuter clinic in our area. I don’t know if it’s publicly funded…they may have gotten some government $$. But I know they applied for grants and raised much needed $$ by applying to businesses (I recall they were heavily involved in the Pepsi Refresh Project a few years ago and won a $50,000 grant from Pepsi). And they do a ton of fundraisers and take donations. We are very lucky that we have this clinic. ~Island Cat Mom

    • My bet is that it is funded through grants. If a 501 c3 started it, then the local government would typically not provide only minimal help. We are working the 501 c3 route but it is very costly. thanks for sharing Sue

      • Yes, they have received a number of grants. Like the Pepsi one and one from PetSmart. It takes a lot of work to get these grants.

        • No kidding! Grant writing is so time consuming and the competition is tough. We are hoping to find a private source to endow a low cost, high volume S/N clinic for cats AND dogs. Our county has a ton of wealth but not many care to share their wealth, especially for companion animals. Very sad, but true. Paw pats, Savvy and Mom L

  10. katie isabella on said:

    I can’t say thank you enough. Thank you so very very very much from my heart for what you did. Love and smoochies from me and Katie Isabella. THANK YOU.

  11. Two French Bulldogs on said:

    Kudos to your mom for helping all those kitties
    Lily & Edward

  12. hannahandlucy on said:

    Reading that piece about the fleas has made our Mum start scratching!!

  13. If only the govt. would put more funding toward animal rescue and safety. Your mom is awesome Savannah.


  14. Yikes, tell wooos mum thanks for all the hard work she does!


  15. edithchase on said:

    I’m guessing 15. Thanks for helping.

  16. What an important thing you’re doing. Kudos to OCH! I’m going to guess 16.

  17. I’m glad your mom could help this kitties… is there a way to help this hoarder too, that he/she will not cause more sad things with collecting cats? I hope so much there is help for people&pets…

  18. My goodness! That is some serious flea infestation. Does your mom have to treat the car for fleas, now?? Mom and I had the heebie jeebies from reading that part of the story. Our guess is X=13. A baker’s dozen of cats.

    Love and licks,

  19. My human says there needs to be someone to run against that county supervisor person who is sympathetic to TNR, and get her out of office! It’s great that your human worked so hard on behalf of these ferals, but it would be even more awesome if there was some support from your own area for this.

  20. Wouldn’t it be nice if people who are really rich see their obligation (like Mr Gates does) – to pay taxes at home so the local communities can afford to pay for programmes like this?
    Wouldn’t it be nice if president candidates and other politicians would not try to outdo each other with “tax reduction” promises for high earners again and again?
    These very important tasks (along with a lot of others!) are only payable if all take a fair share. It cannot be that we live in a world of tax evaders and have no money in a rich country to fund tasks like this one. Or medical treatment for those in need. Or … Or …

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