Give Me Shelter, One Local Couple Works to Save Stray and Feral Cats
“Valley Vet has been as fantastic about handling our TNR cats as they have been with our indoor ferals,” says Jean.
Jean and Steve moved into their house with three cats of their own. But soon they noticed a few visitors. A population of feral cats was living in the woods and a nearby cemetery. They often wandered into their yard. “We began feeding one of the cats,” recalls Jean. “But we weren’t completely sure we wanted to take her in.” Soon enough, the stray made the decision for them. She brought a few extra paws, too. The mama stray returned with her kittens.
Though they tried to find homes for the feral kittens, no one wanted them. Jean and Steve kept the whole family. “They adjusted very easily to a warm, indoor-only life,” she says.
When the mother of the kittens died last year at age 15, Jean and Steve had her offspring to remind them of how their little family began all those years ago.
The kittens, now grown cats, maintained much of their feral behavior. “Unlike individual ferals of my past experience, they have not become very socialized, but they have been fun
and interesting to have around.”
Many more homeless and feral cats have wandered into their yard over the years. “We’ve adopted a few of them,” she says. All their indoor-only cats are spayed or neutered, and up to date on vaccines. Until 2008, they had been using a veterinarian who was pretty good at handling ferals. When she moved to California, an acquaintance told them about Valley Veterinary and Dr. Shreiber.
“We put Valley Vet to the test in 2009 with Arlo,” says Jean. “He was a battle-scarred black tom cat that I wanted to adopt after feeding him outdoors for a couple years.”
Arlo was caught but had to be quarantined with a bite wound. The Valley Veterinary staff worked to socialize him and the result was an amazing turnaround.
“When we brought him home six months later, he was healthy and happy,” says Jean. “And he had learned to sit on laps!”
That same year, Jean and Steve decided to start doing TNR (Trap Neuter, Release). They recognized it was the most humane way to keep the stray and feral numbers from growing.
“Feral cats surrendered to shelters have almost no chance of adoption, and we wanted to do something better than that,” she says. “Valley Vet has been as fantastic about handling our TNR cats as they have been with our indoor ferals. When the cats have been neutered and vaccinated, we release them; and provide food, water, and shelter. We have recently been pleased to learn that others in our neighborhood are also doing TNR, some with the assistance of Spay and Save or Forgotten Cats. While new cats show up from time to time, all of us are helping to keep the strays healthier, and reduce the number of unwanted kittens. We sincerely appreciate Valley Vet’s commitment to providing excellent care to every cat we bring them, socialized or feral. The entire staff is simply awesome.”