Cat Action Trust 1977 Jersey Branch
A lifeline for feral cats

Winter Newsletter 2010

Another busy summer what with fundraising as much as possible and trapping numerous cats and kittens in the wild while trying to find them all good homes which has been no easy feat this year. There have been so many kittens advertised for sale all because people want to make money from their female cats. We have heard all the excuses for allowing females to have litters apart from monetary profit i.e. a) wanting their children to experience seeing their cats give birth (most cats give birth in the middle of the night!) b) wanting their cats to have “just one” litter c) because friends have said what beautiful kittens she would have and they would like one d) because they never have a problem finding them good homes. Checking a local advertising website, we have noticed the selling price for kittens starts off high and over the weeks the same people reduce the price because they just cannot find homes for them. So what happens to all these kittens that are getting bigger and bigger with no homes to go to? Some are being taken to the shelter and some have been brought to us, but we fear some are being dumped (see below). Educating people on getting their female cats spayed is so important. If you know of anyone on a low income who needs help in having their cats spayed/neutered please tell them to ring Jean on 631113 and we will help rather than have another kitten explosion next year.

Dumped - Four delightful 7 week old tabby and white kittens were discovered in a hedge where there were no properties nearby. We were contacted by a caring member of the public and they were brought to us. They were not feral and there was no sign of their mum. They were homed in pairs to loving homes but we will never know what became of their mum.

Dumped- Two 8 week old kittens (brother and sister) were found in the back of a truck full of rubbish near town. Thankfully they were found by one of our supporters who brought them to us. They were frightened but were not feral. Despite checking the area over the next couple of days no other kittens or mum were found.

Dumped - Five 7 week old kittens on Jean’s door step! These 3 female and 2 male tabbies and tabby/torties were in a short sided fruit box sitting quietly in the drizzle early November. We don’t know if there were any more than 5 or possibly mum too but they could easily have climbed out of the box. It is not known how long they had been there as no one saw them being left. “Going to the mainland please find homes, thank you” was written on the bottom of the box.

Dumped - A young black & white domestic female was trapped at one of our north coast sites but discovering she was feeding kittens had to be released back to the area. Perdita was very thin so was fed twice a day with lots of cat food, fish, chicken and cat milk. She was always hungry and would eat everything we gave her including biscuits that were left for her in a feeding box. The area was covered in gorse, brambles and steep valleys of ferns so was impossible to find the kittens. She always came when called but each time would appear from a different direction and after eating would disappear into the thick undergrowth making it impossible to follow her. We hoped she would eventually bring the kittens to us but it took 4 weeks to find them. She was an extremely affectionate cat and one evening after eating instead of retreating into the undergrowth she ran off through a grassy field but kept stopping, looking back and crying. She wasn’t happy till Carole followed her down a steep cotil and began to “call” into ferns at the side of the cotil. Suddenly 2 black and white kittens emerged from amongst all the greenery. By this time they were about 9 weeks old, already feral and were having nothing to do with Carole despite Perdi encouraging them to come to her – they had to be caught with our humane traps.

Perdi was spayed and has now got a very loving home but despite her kittens, Baby Pingu and Cadpig being socialised for a few weeks we are still to find homes for them. Baby Pingu is the image of Pingu, the black and white feral cat we trapped in April in exactly the same area and we are sure he is their father which means Perdi was dumped before getting pregnant. Cadpig is just like his mum. They are very sweet kittens and we would love to find them a loving home together.

A black & white female (feral) was trapped on a private property with her two kittens, Cash and Fraser who were about 3 months old. Mum, Evonne, was spayed and returned to the owners of the property who were happy to keep feeding her. Cash a black & white female and Fraser who is tabby are still looking for homes. Another black & white cat was also trapped on a private property with her two kittens. The kittens, Tara and Pookie were around 3-4 months old and unfortunately mum Julieca was pregnant again. She was an abandoned domestic and has since given birth to five black kittens. Tara and Pookie have found a home together and Julieca is being fostered with her kittens till they are old enough to be rehomed.

Belvedere, a black cat had been living rough in a small garden of a hotel car park where he spent most of his days under bushes. We were alerted to his plight by a couple who had started feeding him daily along with Lisette’s help. We noticed a very nasty sore on his head which needed to be seen to but trying to catch him proved difficult. He was extremely nervous, wouldn’t let us get close to him and kept well away from our traps. Eventually he was caught by hand and quickly put into a basket by the gentleman who had been feeding him but he was so badly scratched he had to go to A & E for a tetanus injection. Once contained in a pen at Jean’s he proved to be a real sweetie so we hate to think what sort of treatment he had received in the past to have been so scared of everyone who tried to help him. Belvedere had a very badly infected wart on his head which had to be removed. He is now a much happier cat and needs a loving home. He has not been claimed so we must assume he was abandoned as well as there were no records of him as a missing cat.

A call from a member of the public had us setting up feeding sites and trapping at Noirmont. A very small black kitten had been seen by several people near one of the car parks until it was chased by a Jack Russell dog. Apparently it was very tiny and was seen in the daytime. It was trying to eat some bread that had been put for it. We think it may have been dumped as a feral mum would still be feeding kittens at such a young age and there would be no need for a kitten to scavenge for food. Despite setting traps on many occasions we have not found it and we fear the worst especially if it is as young as we suspect. When we were first told about the kitten the weather was terrible with flooding and heavy rains but it was not all in vain as we did trap a grey and white feral kitten around 12 weeks old, Helmut, and an adult black male, Manfred. Manfred has had contact with humans as he is not as nervous as a true feral. These have now been neutered and looking for a home. Helmut’s mum still needs trapping as she was seen at the same time Carole first spotted Helmut in the gorse. She too is grey and white. We will persevere as long as we keep seeing evidence that kittens and cats are living wild in this area.

One of our north coast sites is still producing cats and kittens just when we thought we had it all under control. In July a man contacted us to say he had seen a ginger mum run across the cliff path with three kittens in tow and disappear down the cliff face. Two were torties and one little ginger just like mum. We already had two other feeding places further along the cliff path which we’d kept going “just in case” but we set up another feeding box closer to where they were seen with kitten biscuits. We trapped mum, (Sweet) Cicely and five kittens, four of them being torties and the little ginger boy. Two of the torties, Cassia and (Star) Anise have found loving homes plus the ginger boy, Jalapeno. The remaining two, Penny (Royal) and (Spicy) Olida are still looking for that forever home. We are monitoring the area very closely for any others that may still be there.

Since our last newsletter we have found three domestic cats that were microchipped and been missing for some time. Unbelievably their owners didn’t want them back! Thankfully this wasn’t the case with Millie. At the end of October we were contacted by staff of a business in St John, telling us about a little white cat that was roaming the property but she had no ears. She appeared nervous and apparently they had seen her sleeping on the cushioned seat of a fork lift but were unable to get close to her. With a bit of detective work we were able to trace Millie’s owners and it appeared she had been missing for 6 weeks from her home a couple of miles away. A few months previously she had an operation to remove her ear tips due to cancer. Although the owners came and looked for her they were unable to find her. Two days later on the Sunday morning 3 traps were set around the property and checked regularly through the day. Finally late afternoon Millie was trapped much to the delight of her owners who came immediately to collect her. She looked a sorry sight as she was very dirty and her ears were congealed with blood. A trip to the vet next day had her cleaned up and put on a special diet as she was very weak and had lost 1½ kg in weight. She was completely exhausted and the vet said she would not have had the strength to find her way home. All she wanted was lots of cuddles and we hope with all the TLC she is receiving she will make a full recovery.

Many people who adopt cats from us are reluctant to adopt an older cat but a few years ago Pauline T. and family took on one of our oldies aged 17 as a foster cat. Sooty passed away this year having reached the grand old age of 25! Of course we were all sad to hear of her passing but so pleased she had a happy retirement and not been overlooked because of her age. Saffron is another “older” cat who belies her years, all 17 ½ of them – visitors to Jean’s home cannot believe the age of this active tortie as she runs around the place saying hello to everyone who visits. .

Over the years we have been called out to all parts of the island to rescue a feral cat but never to Elizabeth castle. Jean had a call from the caretaker saying their resident feral cat (not from us) seemed very poorly and was hiding in an enclosed area but they couldn’t catch her. The Animal Shelter had suggested he contact us. Armed with a cage Jean went across on the Dukw and within a few minutes was able to corner the old cat and get her into the cage. Unfortunately she had a large tumour in her mouth which must have been causing her distress and was taken straight to the vets where our vet decided that euthanasia was the kindest thing. While in the waiting room a call was received from someone who had four 3 week old kittens looking for a foster mum. The kittens were from a farm and their mum had either abandoned them or may have come to harm. It is unusual for a feral cat to abandon her kittens but these needed a substitute mum quickly as 2 of them were very weak. Wendy one of our disclaimed domestic cats who had given birth in our care to 6 kittens 3 weeks earlier was chosen as their new mum. She accepted them immediately but despite her loving care, sadly the two weakest kittens didn’t survive. Her little brood of 8 have thrived and the other kittens accepted their new brother and sister.

In one of our previous newsletters we wrote about Ebony, an old black cat that had moved around St Ouen for many years and finally found her niche in an area below Grantez. She was regularly fed by Carole and Sam but then luckily a lady Carole knew moved into one of the few properties in this area. Ebony soon came to know that this other Sam was her new feeder and we are grateful to Sam P for feeding Ebony for many months. Springtime, Ebony disappeared and we were all very worried as to what had become of her. One evening several weeks later, we received an anxious call from Sam telling us that Ebony had turned up but looked very unwell and was extremely thin. We went straight away with a trap baiting it with roasted chicken and thankfully it didn’t take long to trap her. Unfortunately Ebony was going into kidney failure and was put to sleep to save any more suffering. Ebony lived her life the way she wanted to and though she had gone “walkabout” we really think she returned to her favourite haunt to spend her final days. She is one little feral we will always remember with affection.

Our AGM in London was held early October and Lisette and Carole attended on behalf of the charity (at their own expense). Once again it proved very enlightening and was well attended by supporters of the charity plus members from 7 of the 9 branches throughout the UK. While we are on the subject of the charity as a whole we would like to re iterate that all the money we raise in Jersey either through fund raising or donations stays in the Island as we are responsible for our own funds. We send our accounts to HQ yearly for auditing by the charity’s auditors and appreciate Jane B’s help here in Jersey in preparing the accounts as Jane is a qualified accountant and does all the work for us voluntarily.

We are delighted with the commission we have received so far from the website - As mentioned in our summer newsletter they are a local website who donate 80% of commission received to the user’s nominated charity. So far we have received in the region of £700.00 from flights, hotels etc being booked on their website. Thank you to Islanders who have used the site and nominated us to receive the commission.

We really appreciate all the cat food that is donated to the food bins in various supermarkets around the Island. This is a great help to us as we have so many cats to feed especially in the winter when cats are hungrier due to the cold and lack of food in the wild. The pregnant and feeding mothers plus kittens that Jean has been looking after in her home this summer have all had healthy appetites as well as the cats that reside with Jean permanently. We have a few places where a colony of cats have been returned to site after spaying and neutering and are fed by the property owner so every few weeks we deliver food to them to help out with the feeding. Without these people we would have had so many more feral cats to find homes for so thank you to Jo, Rosemary, Grace, Helen and Keith for taking on some of these feral cats. A lot of these cats are now entering their homes as they become more domesticated.

We are happy to welcome Nikki back on board helping us with the trapping after an absence of a few years. It makes all the difference if there are a few of us who are experienced at trapping as it can be a very tiring and time consuming job and at night we always trap in twos at least.

Fundraising this year has been successful with Jean and Jenny continuing to do car boots on a regular basis thanks to the generosity of our supporters who donate items for us to sell. We raised around £1,500 during the summer months at the monthly vintage fairs in St Aubin where we had an outdoor pitch. August was a complete washout with continual rain and Lisette, Pat P. and Carole braved the elements under a borrowed gazebo selling china only but got absolutely drenched. They think they made more money out of pity than actually selling items! Thanks to Arthur and Sue who run the fairs for giving us a free pitch again this year.

The Antiques & Collectible fair in May was a tremendous success when more than £1,200 was raised over the weekend. The next fair will be on Saturday and Sunday 27th and 28th November and we hope to have a repeat performance as there won’t be any more fund raising events till Spring. Thanks to Jason Cronin who organises the fairs for allowing us free space each time.

Jayne and Kathleen had a stall at the Steam Fair Museum in September which is another good opportunity to promote our charity. Thanks to Kathleen for making her lovely marmalade, we believe it was a sell out.

Jean Falk, Jayne Plain, Carole Georgelin, Sam Gotel, Lisette Le Creurer and Paula Gibson