Cat Action Trust 1977 Jersey Branch
A lifeline for feral cats

Winter Newsletter 2011

This summer we have taken in more domestic cats and kittens than ferals. They have either been abandoned, unclaimed strays or cats and kittens disclaimed to us. A lot of the disclaimers have been in pairs and it has not been easy trying to find them good homes.

As mentioned in the main newsletter we still have young feral cats looking for homes that we trapped last year. Some of these were only 3 months old when we first had them and 12 months on they are still with us. Nikki has kindly taken on Cash and Fraser for the time being, not only to give Jean a bit more space but to give them a bit of one to one as these 2 lovely cats, brother and sister, were trapped a year ago on a private property with their mum. Mum was returned where she is fed by the owner but her offspring have yet to find that forever home. Though a little nervous they have become very affectionate and sleep on Nikki’s bed at night with her own cats. Owlett and Howlett, two black and white brother and sister caught last December are also still looking for a home.

One ex feral kitten we homed last summer to be a friend to a kitten that was obtained privately came back to us recently plus the kitten she had been living with. This must be what they call two for the price of one! The reason was an apparent allergy with a member of the family. The ex feral kitten is now friendlier than her domestic companion and both found a lovely new home together.

Fozzy Bear was another unwanted cat. She had lived at a large country property all her life but at the age of 6 years her original owners moved and asked for the new owners to look after her. Sadly we were asked to take her in as apparently she scared their horse with her miaowing and yet we saw neighbouring cats in the vicinity so hope they are silent around the horse! Thankfully due to the television/radio coverage we received in August, she found a lovely home with a large garden as an only cat and is very much loved by her new owners.

We had to set up a new feeding site late July at Val de la Mare reservoir after a young cat was seen on one of the paths. It proved quite difficult to trap in this area as it was so close to the path that dogs kept discovering the feeding box hidden in ferns and sloe bushes and tipping it over to try and reach the biscuits. Once the ferns died off at the end of summer we had no sustainable cover which meant moving the feeding box to where there was a bit more undergrowth. Initially it was quite a walk to get to the spot but luckily we found a short-cut which meant only an 8 minute walk instead of 20 although it did incur climbing many steps and a very steep slope. A walk around the reservoir is very pleasurable under normal circumstances but at night when carrying traps, sacking to cover them with, food etc it’s a different story. (See article in main newsletter).

We then heard the news that the reservoir was to be closed for 12 weeks due to the general public not observing the safety notices posted along the reservoir which was a complete blow to us. After a few phone calls and meetings we obtained permission from Jersey Water and the Security people involved to keep feeding and trapping at the reservoir. This was music to our ears. We would like to thank Mr Snowden and Mr Morris from Jersey Water and G4 for their co-operation in letting us continue our work during this period.

While trapping at the reservoir we helped to find a missing cat called Tails who had been missing for 7 months and lived about a mile away. Tails was an enormous 9 year old dark ginger cat and went missing while his owners were on holiday. It was wonderful to see Tails back home with his caring owners as he had been very much missed by his family.

Unfortunately it seems to be another year for picking up dumped cats and kittens – it appears that no amount of advertising in English and other languages spoken in the Island, stating that this is an unacceptable way of “disposing” of unwanted kittens, seems to be making any difference at all which is very disheartening. Even offering to help with spaying and neutering is being ignored. Unfortunately the following stories prove this.

In the main newsletter we mention Daisy, a very pretty pale grey tabby kitten that was knocked down in the middle of a road leading off the Five Mile Road. She was only about 9 weeks old but miraculously survived. Initially it was thought she was a feral as she was quite “lively” but once in a loving home environment with plenty of attention she became completely at ease and within a few days was playing like any normal kitten of her age. She was a domestic kitten that had been dumped as she could not have got to where she was found by herself at that age and no others were found in the vicinity. Daisy is certainly one very lucky kitten to have been found by caring people who were actually prepared to give her a loving home. You can see the most delightful pictures of her on our Facebook page.

We are sure that Lottie was abandoned as she was never claimed despite advertising her as found. She was black and white, under a year old, considerably thin, had no microchip and had not been spayed. Concerned CAT’77 supporters had been watching her around an allotment for some time and were sure she had no home to go to so eventually brought her to us. She has since found a lovely home with the family that found her.

We continued feeding at Noirmont Point throughout the year as cat paw prints were still appearing in the sand. Late August Sam went to top up the biscuits one morning and luckily spotted a small black kitten near one of the bunkers as it ran into the gorse. Within the next 48 hours we trapped this beautiful little black boy who was between 8 and 9 weeks old and once again definitely not a feral. He was scared but once he realised he was safe he happily let us stroke him once back at Jean’s. We needed to be sure there were no other siblings so monitored the site for a few weeks looking out for tiny paw prints and leaving kitten food and water at all times. Had we not found Augustus, he would not have survived on his own for long – he had already become thin and must have been very frightened on his own, especially at night with so many predators about. No other kitten prints appeared so we have to assume he was on his own when abandoned or that any siblings didn’t survive. Augustus has since found a lovely home with another cat for company.

Not far from Beauport, a female cat and one of her kittens were found on a private property near one of our feeding sites close to the cliffs. The Animal Shelter collected them both but the owners of the property then heard about our work with feral cats and contacted us the following day as two more kittens were found. Poppy, a dilute tortie and her brother Morse who is black were about 10 weeks old. A couple of weeks later the Animal Shelter asked us if we would take on the mum and other female sibling, Dotty, to join the 2 we already had. The mum Dash, who is a very pretty tortie and white was about 10 months old and although a little nervous was not feral. A couple of weeks later a black and white female, Cody, around the same age as Dash and with the same very distinctive black markings on her nose was also caught at the same place. Like Dash she was not feral so we think these two are sisters and were abandoned several months ago.

At the beginning of October we had a call from a couple who had found two beautiful tabby kittens in their garden - literally overnight. There were very few neighbours in this remote lane in the centre of the Island and no one had any idea where they had come from. They were about 14 weeks old and despite being scared were completely at ease once we had trapped them and been handled. Sadly this had to be another case of unwanted kittens but lucky for them, the couple who found them have since adopted them.

Mid October Nikki was told about some kittens that were seen playing on the golf course near the Five Mile Road. Over the course of a few days and nights we trapped 4 kittens all black and white and mum Yani, a very sweet black and white cat around 10 months old. The kittens were between 7 and 8 weeks old as their eyes were just turning from blue to their permanent colour We also caught a young black adult feral who was possibly their dad. The kittens 2 males and 2 females were slightly nervous but were happy to be reunited with their mum. Yani was quite handleable right from the beginning so we have to assume once again that she was dumped as no one claimed her.

These are just a few of the cases we have been made aware of and dealt with. Unfortunately there must be other cats and kittens in various places in the Island where the same thing has happened but we don’t know about. These cats and/or kittens will no doubt start up new feral colonies over time (if they survive) which makes our work never ending.

Thank you to everyone who supported us for the month of June at Waitrose, St Brelade by choosing us as the charity to receive the green tokens – we received a cheque for £230.00.

If you have been following us on Facebook or are clients of our vets Allan & Rushton-Taylor you will have seen that Adele Trott who is a popular vet based mainly at St Mary’s surgery did the Itex walk for us this year with her partner James, and raised over £800.00 through sponsorship from clients and friends (see photo in main newsletter). We were delighted, not only that they chose our charity to support, but to have raised this sum of money was wonderful so our sincere thanks to Adele and James for their efforts. The weather for the walk was the worst in years and our hearts went out to them and other walkers for their tenacity in completing such a challenge in adverse conditions.

Fundraising this year has been a case of hit and miss due to the weather though Jean did various car boots around the Island when the weather was settled. Apart from September we had a stall at the monthly Vintage Fairs in St Aubin during the summer. July especially was a huge success when we raised nearly £500 during the day probably due to the beautiful sunny day we had which encouraged locals and visitors alike to browse around the stalls at leisure. October was another brilliant day with wall to wall sunshine and we raised £400.00. Once again thanks to Arthur and Sue for giving us a free outdoor pitch at these fairs. Unfortunately the twice yearly Antique & Collectible Fair at Trinity which was organised by Jason Cronin has come to an end. We would like to thank Jason for providing a free pitch for us over the years as this was a great opportunity to sell some of our collectibles. We especially did well at the pre Christmas fairs and these events will be missed.

One afternoon mid August we had a stall at Radier Manor for their open garden in aid of the Animal Shelter but unfortunately the weather wasn’t very kind to us. For most of the afternoon we had our stock under cover and only sold for about an hour and a half raising £140.00.

One thing we would like to make clear re our (Jersey) policy on not returning feral cats to conservation areas or where there is extensive bird and small animal wild life. We have mentioned before that there are many predators living in the wild and yet the poor feral cat gets the blame for most of the demise of birds etc. We have returned adult feral cats to private properties where they were caught but only if the owners are happy to have them back and to provide food for them plus keep a general eye on them. Recently Jean received a phone call “second hand” saying they understood we were returning cats to the north coast where there is lots of wildlife plus the sheep. This is not true and we cannot understand why someone complained to the National Trust instead of contacting us personally. The cats are highly unlikely to harm the sheep and with the large number of wild ferrets and rats in the Island let alone birds of prey it’s a case of once again, feral cats being blamed for a decline in bird life. In the UK it’s a different story and adult feral cats neutered by CAT ’77 are quite often returned to site. They deal with feral cats in huge numbers with few homes for them to go to so it is their only option as none of our branches put cats to sleep unless they are terminally ill. Feral kittens are always put up for adoption along with domestic strays. The areas they are returned to are mostly urban or in the country usually on farms or small holdings, stables etc and even then they try to find someone to supply food for them on a regular basis. This is possibly where there has been a misunderstanding as the main CAT’77 website states that adult cats are returned to site after neutering and spaying but this does NOT apply in Jersey. This has been mentioned to the Executive Committee at the recent AGM and will be amended stating that Jersey is an exception.

Once again Lisette and Carole attended the AGM in London at the end of September (at their own expense) and found that our UK colleagues are having the same problems as us. Many cats and kittens are being dumped as well as people exploiting their female cats by allowing them to breed for profit. Kittens are being advertised for sale predominantly through online advertising sites where sadly it is happening here too. People just don’t see the repercussions of letting their cats have a litter, even just one. The usual reply they give is - they have found the kittens good homes - but it doesn’t stop there as the people they went to may let their cats have a litter too and it goes on and on producing hundreds of cats from just one female.

Although we have been advertising our initiative “Neuterline 2011” at various establishments around the Island including a spot on Channel Television and BBC Radio Jersey we have not had as many people take up our offer as had hoped. This is open to anyone who is on a low income and would like to have their cat spayed/neutered (a donation to our funds if possible would be appreciated) and includes micro-chipping. Please pass this on to anyone you think needs help in this way – they can ring Jean on 631113 and an appointment will be made at our vets at one of 3 different locations around the Island. Own transport is required as we do not have the facilities or the time to take people’s cats to the vet for this purpose.

It’s that time of year again when our Christmas Appeal is up and running. We understand how more and more difficult it gets each year supporting various charities with the economy the way it is these days. We can assure you that any money you can afford to donate to us will be wisely spent. All the money that is raised here stays in the Island. We are very proud of the fact that CAT ’77/HQ have amalgamated the outgoings of all the branches and 92% of funds raised are spent on the actual care of the cats that we all deal with. This includes food, litter and vet bills. We would say that here in Jersey the percentage is probably higher as we don’t have some of the outgoings that the UK branches do.

Next Spring Jenny and a friend will do a couple of car boots for us selling just clothes but at the moment we have nowhere to store them in dry conditions. Does anyone have a bit of spare space in a dry shed, garage, spare room etc where we could store a few bags of good clothing. They have been packed away neatly and at the moment don’t envisage having more than 3 or 4 bags to store. If you can help, please ring Carole on her mobile - 07797 735077 – thank you.

In the summer newsletter we mentioned receiving used stamps in the mail for which we incurred extra postage for. We are still receiving these packages so it would be appreciated if you could telephone Jean and she can let you know where they can be dropped off instead of posting.