In middle school, I had a strange, wonderful, strangely wonderful teacher who often urged us: “don’t sit on your hands.” Being a bunch of middle school noodleheads, we would typically take this as an invitation to literally sit on our literal hands. A buncha real comedians, we were.
But Mr. V had a point about keeping busy – and this month, the feral felines of Hunterdon County, NJ, are not affording the humans of Tabby’s Place any opportunity to sit on our hands.
Thanks to your unflagging support, May finds Tabby’s Place up to our whiskers in two TNR projects. First, the epic riot continues at the prison. By “riot,” of course, I mean the feline kind: the cats are running rings around us. The largest women’s prison in the northeast is a sprawling green campus twenty minutes from Tabby’s Place. Its massive grounds have hosted generations of feral felines. In fact, it was a litter of kittens at the prison that started Tabby’s Place’s entire TNR mission three years ago.
Little did we know that, three years later, we’d still be tracking down the wiliest holdouts among the cats. Our staff has been nothing short of superhuman in their patient efforts – yet the prison ferals continue to elude us. More precisely, some of them do…and when it comes to TNR, “some” is as bad as “nine million.” Just one unaltered pair can undo all our labors of love in a few seasons – and so we soldier on.
Happily, this month our team trapped five of the holdouts. Four of these Houdini-like felines have since been spayed or neutered, treated for any dental problems or injuries, and returned to a happy, albeit less, um, productive life. (When it comes to feral cats, we’d prefer that they “sit on their paws” rather than procreate.)
Our vet valiantly attempted major surgery on the big guy’s wounds, but it was more than he could endure. Warm and safe in his final hours, the brave feral passed away at Tabby’s Place. We will always be grateful he was “one of ours,” and we can only pray that, in some way, he knew he was loved.
Fortunately, our second May venue has proved more comical than tragic.
For this tale, we have to rewind to spring 2012. Our setting is a small local salvage yard. This time last year, animal control removed 15 feral kitties, and believed their work was done. Unbeknownst to them, one adult cat remained.
Zoom forward one year, and somehow, that one adult turned into 4 adults and 7 kittens. Oh, the prolific powers of cats!
This all came to Tabby’s Place’s attention over the past month, and we’ve been chasing after kitties at the salvage yard ever since. To date, we’ve trapped, spayed and returned the 3 adult females, who are doing just beautifully. Our stalwart and scrappy team has also captured 4 of the kittens: Mei Lei, Keely, Django & Brunhilda. Despite some initial injuries – especially to poor Mei Lei, who was under an assault from insects – the little ones are all thriving now, as you can see above (brown-tabby Keely with tortie foster sister Neva), and below left (tiny Mei Lei). As Spring sails on, we’re working on getting the last wily male and the final three kittens.
Kindles of kittens mean cascades of comedy, and this spring, TNR has brought much delight to Tabby’s Place through these little ones. Although we work towards the day when there will be no more homeless kittens born out in the elements, it’s our great joy to nurture the ones we rescue.
And it’s a serious delight to serve them with such awesome people as yourself. Thank you for loving our TNR kitties so generously. May your May be overflowing with blessings. And feel free to “sit on your hands” and take time to smell the flowers – Mr. V’s advice goes out the window on balmy spring days, for cats and humans alike.