Savannah's Paw Tracks

Autobiography of a Former Shelter Cat

When Community Cats Cannot Go Back


You may remember that Mom L does some volunteering with a RTF (return to field) program. She is doing it now with our county municipal animal services.

Tabby in Feral Den & then released—zooom!

When the county shelter cannot return a community cat (feral) to the location where it was trapped, this presents a dilemma for the cat. Everybody knows that we cats are territorial so moving cat who has only known one specific outdoor territory is a real challenge.

Now you ask “why can’t you simply RTF community cats once they have been trapped, brought to the shelter for spay/neuter, vaccinations, etc.?” Here’s the conundrum. When a member of our community traps one or more community cats and takes them to the county municipal shelter, they fill out a form. On that form they are asked “do you want the cat(s) returned?” and “if returned will you feed them?”  If the trapper says “NO” to both those questions, then what does the municipal shelter “do” with said community cat(s)?”

My county animal services has a Working Cats program which ought to be the answer, right? But, what happens when there are no barns, wineries, warehouses and such wanting working cats at the same time the community cats arrive at the shelter and cannot be returned? It’s a problem for lots and lots of public animal shelters across the USA. Many shelters euthanize community cats without even trying to return them or find them a working cat job.

Thankfully, my county shelter doesn’t do that. But then what can Mom L do when she talks with the community member who trapped the cats and he says “don’t bring them back!!”. Re-homing community cats is hard, but Mom L and a friend, Miss Lisa, took on the task.

First task at paw—find someone who is willing to take on three community cats as backyard cats. Miss Lisa knew someone who had a small colony about two miles (3.2 kilometers) from where these three cats were trapped and they agreed to add three more to their small backyard colony of seven cats.

Second task at paw—build an outdoor enclosure that will hold three cats with litter box, food and water dishes. The cats must remain enclosed at least two to four weeks. This helps them start to realize this location is where they will get their food.

Mom L and Miss Lisa had to zip tie two wire cages together to make enough room for three cats to live for two to four weeks. That took them about two hours! You can see the enclosure being assembled in the photos above.

Next they had to cover it to make it den like for the cats. We cats like to find dark places when we are scared. So Mom L places a small cat carrier inside the enclosure so one or more cats could get inside that. Next they placed lots of “pee pads” down and then soft blankets. Finally they covered the enclosure and weighted down the covering so the wind wouldn’t blow it away.

Cat enclosure for re-homing community cats

Third task at paw—introduce the cats to their new temporary home. Mom L transported them from the animal shelter in their feral dens.

Needless to say, the cats were very worried and scared. (photo taken through the Plexiglass)

What’s happening to me??

Each cat was transferred to their new enclosure and allowed a few moments to decide what to do and where to go.

Oh no! Another new place and I don’t recognize any smells!

We are hoping that these three cats will remain close as they all came from the same location. When they are released the new feeders will do all they can to keep them in the resident colony. But, re-locating community cats is extremely hard. The cats may flee when released and become lost and not find their way back to the yard where they will be fed regularly. Doing this is always a last resort. Mom L tried everything she could do to find another feeder in the area where these cats were originally trapped. But no one wanted them. There were no working cat placements and these cats had been at the shelter for over a month. They needed to have a placement and be allowed to live free.

Keep your paws crossed with hope that these three community cats (all definitely feral and untouchable) will accept their new location. And of course, we hope the resident cat colony members will allow them to join this colony.

Have you ever had experience trying to re-locate community cats? Please let me know in comments. We can always use new ideas.



Friday Memes


Hope you like my memes this week. I created a meme for a kitty who meant the world to his family and to me. Pumpkin rushed over The Bridge this week without even time to say goodbye to his brofur Tiger…

Miss you brofur…

…and his pals Hitch…

Ceiling Cat take care of Pumpkin purrlease

…and Mistletoe…the senior ladycat…

Miss you buddy, really I do

…and his humans Miss Dorothy and Mr Jacob. You see Miss Dorothy has been one of my most long time followers and she is what I call a RWB or Reader Without a Blog. So to honor sweet Pumpkin I made this meme for his family left behind. I hope it will help them smile through their tears.

Next up is a little somethin’ somethin’ TKS made up for you. She looks like this a lot—care to guess why?

And my last meme is more of a kind’a asspurration, but I think it might just put a Friday Smile on some your faces just the same.

Hope to hear from you in comments what’ya think of my memes this week.


A Detente in My Castle


My first question, how many  times a week do you guys have a detente in your multiple animal castle? As for me, I have to have this ‘detente’ situation more than I want with TKS.

Today’s detente started with unmade bed. Mom L wanting a ‘cat nap’

As you can see, I was definitely Queen of the King size bed. TKS was not happy to be on the floor level stuck on the tossed aside electric blankie.  Purrsonally, I say phhfftt to her disappointment!

I am Queen of this King size bed. Tuff luck TKS

TKS was less than pleased, but then as I said before, that is her “tuff luck”!

Why can’ t I come up and join you Savvy?

Ok, ok, I know she has cute golden eyes and such a sweet face. BUT—I was HERE first!!

Ok kid, I get it that you wanna be “me”—not happening!

Finally TKS made the right move and chose to settle in elsewhere.

I have no choice. I must hold my ground and remain in the master bedroom!

You know this is her fall back position, right??

I am near the master bed, and no one can see me

Then Mom L arrived with her special blankie, spread it on the unmade bed. Guess who took advantage as fast as a house panther can be??

Sweet !! Now I am ON THE TOP!!

What can I say—I held my ground and let TKS have her day as the Top Cat!

I WON!!!

Do you ever have a detente moment in your multiple animal castle??? Let me know how you handle it in comments. I sure could use some advice!!




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