Cat Action Trust 1977 Jersey Branch
A lifeline for feral cats

Winter Newsletter 2013

CAT ACTION TRUST 1977 JERSEY BRANCH

2013 WINTER NEWSLETTER

As predicted we had an extremely busy summer dealing with not only feral cats and kittens but abandoned adults, some with kittens, as well as strays. 

It all started in June when we received a call from a lady who had discovered a mum and six tiny kittens in her garden overnight. Mum was a domestic who happily came to us when offered a treat and once in a basket Carole and Juliet caught the 5 week old babies by hand. Some of them had hidden behind the barbecue and others under the garden furniture which had to be lifted. It was quite amusing to see the two little torties hissing and spitting at us because of their size but they were eventually all safely with their mum. Enquiries were made at neighbouring houses but no one knew where they had come from. The four gingers of varying shades and the two torties were mostly semi long haired and could only be described as having very “chocolate box” looks.  They found homes in pairs at 8 weeks old.

 

Four of the kittens hiding behind the barbecue: 

Around the same time we trapped 5 ferals in a wooded area out West and had them neutered/spayed, microchipped and returned to site. A “feeding” mum was also caught close by on a very large private property and was released to return to her kittens. We then had to wait for her to bring them to the feeding site which she did about 5 weeks later. Only 2 kittens were found around 8 weeks old but the first one had the worst case of fly strike in a kitten Jean had ever seen. Little Wiggles was very emaciated and so much smaller than his brother. He was taken to our vet as soon as it was realised he had maggots internally as well as externally which was a horrendous experience for all concerned. He was treated at the vet for nearly a week but unfortunately his internal organs had been affected and sadly had to be put to sleep. This was a very sad day, not only for us but also the girls at the surgery who had looked after him as we had all hoped he would pull through. Thankfully their young mum was re trapped and she has now been spayed and returned to the site where there are woods for her to roam in. Thankfully the property owners are very animal minded and will keep an eye out for any newcomers that may turn up. Feeding sites have been set up to keep them all supplied with regular tinned food, biscuits and water.  Some of them have come to know what a tap on an empty tin means as it echoes the surrounding area. Within minutes there are usually little feline faces popping up in the undergrowth in anticipation of a good feed.  

We are very grateful to all the kind supporters who donate cat food in our bins at the Co Op Grand Marche in town, Benests and the Pet Cabin as this food is such a big help to keep all these feral cats well fed, especially through the winter months.

 

We were recently told about a black kitten of around 8 weeks old that was abandoned in a cardboard box in the pouring rain in one of the town car parks. The box was sodden and the kittens’ head was halfway out of the box and could easily have escaped and been run over by a car. There is absolutely NO excuse for this to have happened when the Animal Shelter would have taken the kitten in or had we been contacted would have done the same. The people who rescued the kitten heard it crying in the bushes and although they searched for siblings, none were found. This little mite has now been adopted by its’ finder.

 

Early July we were told about 3 small black kittens seen at La Collette. Within a few hours we had contacted the men who work in the refuse area and arranged to set traps near where we thought the kittens had been seen. “Thinking” as a cat with kittens and wanting to find somewhere safe for them, the stacked up containers with gaps in between and underneath seemed an ideal place especially as they were surrounded by fencing with no access to the public.   

This made it safer to leave traps and if it hadn’t of been for one of the guys helping us it would have been an impossible task. Initially Jay set the traps daily checking every few hours but there were no sign of cats or kittens. One morning when Carole took some food down, she spotted a kitten alongside the containers but it wasn’t black, it was pure white albeit a very dirty white!  At least we knew we were on the right track and later that morning Jay called to say the kitten was in a trap. The next day a black kitten was caught, about 8 weeks old and we named them Little Jay and Dusty. As the week went on we trapped dad (Big Jay) who was also white, a slightly nervous cat around a year old. A few days later we caught another male, a very large un-neutered tabby and white about 6 years old. Regan had been someone’s pet at some stage but unfortunately had no microchip and had been fending for himself for a long time. He was never claimed and eventually was homed 3 months later to some stables along with 2 semi ferals.  Apparently he is the boss and has become quite a character and getting more confident around people.  

Unfortunately over the next couple of weeks there was no further sign of the 2 black kittens or their mum who was probably going to be black. We started to think that she had moved them but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack to find them.  We had to close down the site and rely on the staff to let us know if they were seen.  It wasn’t an ideal situation but we didn’t have much choice. A couple of days after we removed the traps was the start of our heat wave so would not have been ideal leaving traps out during the day as any cats that may have been around  would have been keeping cool under the containers. 

 

The big black cat we mentioned in our last newsletter from the north coast, Dolmio, was homed to Juliet who had been helping Carole with the feeding and trapping in this area. Within 24 hours of having him at home it was realised that Dolmio, now re named Monvie must have had some human contact in his earlier years. After his initial shyness he became the most loving laid back cat you could imagine.  As he had tested positive for FIV he has adapted so well to being mostly an indoor cat and enjoys going for a walk on his harness and lead or sitting out in the sun with his adoring owners.  He never looks to leave their sides and must be thinking he has never had it so good. What a lucky boy!

 

Another feeding mum was also trapped in the same area as Monvie and she too had to be released as there were little kittens somewhere in the wild waiting for her. A few weeks later small paw prints were seen in the sand which meant mum was bringing them to the feeding box but they proved difficult to trap along with mum. Eventually mid September, Juliet was delighted to find a very young kitten in one of the traps, a female aged about 8 weeks old so this was very encouraging. Also in this same area another black female of around 5 months old was trapped and Sophie now has a lovely home with other cats. She has come on so well and is quite the little lady now. Two young males under 2 years old were also trapped here by Juliet and were returned after neutering as their blood tests were FIV negative.We are still hoping to retrap mum and any other kittens she had, so Juliet will keep up a feeding area and keep trying through the winter. We are very grateful for her help with this ongoing site. 

 

At the end of July we were contacted when 3 small black kittens were seen in a field at some stables with their mum. Within an hour the 3 kittens of about 7/8 weeks old were trapped and the mum and dad were caught the next day. One of the kittens had an eyeball protruding from his eye socket and sadly had to have it removed as there was nothing the vet could do to save it. A couple of weeks later another kitten of about the same age was trapped in fields near these stables along with another mum. The kittens all found loving homes and luckily the 3 adults were able to return to the stables after spaying/neutering.

 

On the Sunday afternoon of the “predicted” big storm in October we were advised of another mum who had turned up at these stables with three tiny kittens. It was a mad panic to trap them before the storm in case part of the very old barn they were in collapsed. Thankfully all 4 were caught in just under 3 hours and the barn survived as well!  Once the mum was spayed she too was returned and the kittens all found homes.

 

In the main newsletter Jean mentioned a large amount of cats that we caught during the summer. It all began when a tiny kitten, around 8 weeks old but very small for its’ age was seen at the entrance to a field. He was caught with a small fishing net as he would have been too light to set off a humane trap. This was only possible while the scared and starving kitten was distracted by food put down for it which he devoured in a state of frenzy.  He had the beginning of cat flu so a trip to the vet had him treated in time as this can be fatal to kittens if left untreated.  Over the next few weeks the trapping in this area didn’t let up at all. We eventually found another 9 kittens from 3 different litters and over 30 older cats aged from 8 months old to adulthood including the mothers of the kittens. Most of them were very thin with dull coats and badly affected with worms and needed a lot of building up with plenty of good food. The kittens with the extremely bad diarrhoea had to endure being bathed several times and our plea on facebook for some old towels proved a godsend as their bedding had to be constantly changed.  Our thanks go to Michelle who fostered three of the worst affected kittens through this difficult period until they were well enough to be homed. Several weeks later pictures of these 3 were posted on our facebook page and the difference in their appearance from when we first took them in was amazing and a tribute to Michelle’s hard work. Apparently they became very mischievous which is what kittens should be. 

 

Thanks also go to Rachel who fostered some of the older cats from this colony to assess their temperaments as to how quickly they would tame up.  In fact Rachel fell in love with one of the older males and decided to adopt him. Thankfully Jean was able to find stables who took several of them on after they were neutered and microchipped. We thought at one stage this situation would never end as it had been several years since we had trapped such a huge colony. Just when we thought we had got to the end of it, there was always one more!  As you can imagine our vet and food bills for this period were enormous. 

 

Four black ferals we’d had for several months from different areas of the Island, Lamar, Sandy, Kingpin and Liesel all went to live with someone we know who has stables which was brilliant news and are doing well.  

 

Sadly the old ginger feral (Rollo) we had re trapped in April 2012 in the Greve de Lecq woods passed away earlier in the year due to kidney failure. We were sad to say goodbye to him as he had been roaming the area for over 12 years but at least he had a warm bed and plenty of food for the past year at Jean’s.

 

A very young feral mum around 8 months old that had taken up residence at a remote farm with her kittens came to us with her 3 babies who were around 10/11 weeks old. The mum was a lovely dilute tortie and though shy had got used to being around people. The little tabby and white and ginger and white boys were very lucky to be chosen together less than a week later. We hoped the mum and tabby and white female kitten would find a home together which they did shortly after.

 

Our site at Noirmont is still ongoing though we have had difficulty in trapping here. A call about 2 kittens seen one morning playing near one of the bunkers had us setting traps in the gorse and sitting it out for a few hours, all to no avail.  This is such a popular area for dog walkers so we have to choose the right time of day or night to set traps and be able to stay around to monitor them. This all takes time and not having enough people to help us we then have to try and prioritise what is the most urgent till we can get back to a site. In the meantime we have kept up a supply of food and water and we do know they are visiting having seen their prints in the sand. Hopefully, before winter arrives we will be successful in trapping them.

 

Fundraising has unfortunately been very slow this year. Jean has had so many cats and kittens to look after that she has rarely had time to do car boots as well. Trips to the vet have almost been daily some weeks and some days twice a day with collecting cats after neutering and spaying.  On the occasional weekend when Jean has had a few hours spare to do a car boot, very little money has been raised for the time involved.  These days it appears that everyone wants everything for 50p!!  The Vintage Fairs at St Aubin manned by Lisette and Sam have also proved to be disappointingly low in takings on the few occasions they did them. This is such a shame with the amount of work involved. It is usually a 12 hour day from setting up early morning and then packing up late afternoon and is very disheartening to make very little at the end of the day. We would like to thank Arthur and Sue who organise the fairs for our free pitch.

 

The CAT’77 AGM in London at the end of September was attended by Jayne, Nikki and Carole (at their own expense). It was nice to catch up with colleagues from various parts of the UK. We are still amazed at some of the stories we are told about involving cruelty and abandoned cats, it doesn’t get any better.

 

Enclosed is our 2014 Membership form (we would appreciate receiving your renewal before the end of March 2014) and the Annual Christmas Appeal. We are hoping for a successful appeal to help us recover from the extremely expensive year we have had. If anyone wishes to send Jersey branch a donation by cheque, please send directly to Jean at Foxleys, 3 Rosedale Avenue, La Route de la Haule, St Lawrence JE3 1LB rather than to our London HQ. This saves a lot of double handling and extra postage incurred. 

 

On a final note we would like to advise people on a low income that our free neutering and spaying campaign is still ongoing due to the fact that so many stray, unwanted cats and kittens have passed through Jean’s door this year. Please telephone Jean on 631113 for further information.   

 

We all wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas and our best wishes for 2014.

Jean, Jayne, Carole, Sam, Lisette and Paula