Anyone that cares for stray and feral cats or does TNVR knows that it’s a race against the clock to save their lives. Lives that may have never known love, only know suffering and neglect. And these lives can be cut very short. There are viruses and diseases to battle. Seasonal changes leave cats unprotected from the elements. Then there are other cats to contend with, all fighting for the measly scraps of food they can find. A colony of cats will settle into an area, only to then be pushed out by humans or large predators (same thing).
When this happens, where do these cats go? They usually encroach onto another colony, fighting and picking up new diseases. The cycle continues until their last breath.
But for one colony of cats near Spokane, Washington, rescuers only had one week before the cats would lose everything.
And that could include their lives! However, it 100% meant the abandoned and condemned home in which they were residing. Initial counts of the cats in the colony were difficult, and ranged from about a dozen to more than one hundred!
The home had been sold at auction and now was scheduled to be demolished on October 8th. That gave local rescuers and trappers only 1 week to try to save the felines. For the team at Murci’s Mission, they began surveying the home and were able to confirm a more accurate count of felines. But even with the lower guess, that’s a LOT of cats to care for. Especially for rescue that rely on foster homes for the saved cats.
So they launched a plan to get the colony of cats out of harms way. It wasn’t going to be easy or quick though.
Normally, the cats would be TNR’d–Trap/Neuter/Returned–but the “returned” part was the issue here. If there were any felines within the colony that were social enough to be fostered and eventually adopted out, they would be. But what of the truly feral cats that cannot be tamed? Where would they go?
The most important part about this process is that it does not involve hurting or killing the animals and in the case of feral cats, that’s a big win.
Well, luckily these cats would be relocated through the Spokanimal Barn Cat Program. After a vet examination to ensure they are not carrying any viruses, diseases or have health issues to address, they’ll join the program.
Once spayed/neutered, they will stay at the barn until they are ready to become true barn cats. They’ll be an important and cherished member of a family–or at least as much family as they’re willing to accept.
You don’t just go out and easily pick up stray or feral cats to move them elsewhere though. But oh boy, do I wish?!?!
And with the limited amount of time they had, Murci’s Mission knew they needed to be smart about it. FIRST, they obtained permission from the owner of the property to be there, trapping cats. Always remember this is the law!
But these cats would be treated to some “good eats” that were served on a sneaky platter. The cages, later used to trap the cats, were zip-tied open and their meals were unassumingly set inside. After a few days, the ties would be removed. The cats would be comfortable around the cages by that point, making for easy trapping.
THAT IS, if other feeders or trappers in the area followed one rule:
DURING THIS TIME, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT NO OTHER FOOD IS OFFERED SO THAT THE CATS MUST DEPEND ON THE FOOD IN THE TRAPS!
Sadly, Murci’s Mission had one Facebook supporter comment on the situation. Apparently this was a “problem area” prior to the sale of the property too. Other comments stated the resident was a mentally challenged man who’d moved and left the animals to fend for themselves.
The community was aware of the problem there, as well as SCRAPS, and Spokanimal. [They] tried and tried to help this man. He really did not want help. Though Spokanimal trapped over 30 cats this summer in preparation of the house being torn down. I had seen SCRAPS trucks at that place over the summer also.
On the night of Saturday the 5th, the traps went “live”, and the colony of cats began their new lives.
By 11:00 PM that night, the rescue updated their Facebook page with the days’ happenings.
And only a few hours later, at almost 3:30 AM, they had even more to celebrate!
Trapping session number two has concluded raising our total cats to 33; 24 adults and 9 kittens!
This little man saved himself and his siblings by screaming for his life! Thanks to his vocal skills, we were able to dig a lovely little quartet of kitties out of a major pile of trash. Tomorrow we will see about reuniting them with their mom so she can finish raising them up in the safety of the Mission, but if not, we will take the reins.
The final count of felines saved by October 7th, was a staggering 37 cats!
This was the epitome of a successful team effort. And Murci’s Mission were happy to give a “shout out” to all involved in saving this clowder of lucky cats. We second all those thanks!
After carefully screening the property for additional cats and kittens, we believe only 1 cat is remaining but that she frequents a local business as opposed to the home we trapped at. We left a trap with the business owner so that she can be trapped too!
25 of them were able to make the trip to Stevens County Cat Care to be spayed and receive rabies and FVRCP vaccines for only $25 each.
Thanks to Northeast Washington Spay Neuter Alliance, those that had upper respiratory infections were able to be given injectable antibiotics while unconscious for surgery.
We were able to afford this project thanks to Animal Advocates of the Inland Northwest and all of you private donors who helped us cover expenses ranging from trapping supplies, medical supplies, feed and equipment, surgical costs and gas.
We are filled with gratitude at such a herculean community effort for these cats.
The speed and efficiency of this case was so important and every piece of the puzzle had to fit just right for a successful outcome which can be nearly impossible in rescue.
The majority of the cats are now on their way to SpokAnimal C.A.R.E. to be placed in barn homes to aid families with rodent control. If you would like to adopt barn cats, please contact them directly. Remember, these are not tame cats and they will not likely let you touch or interact with them so they would not make suitable pets.
All video screenshots from www.kxly.com/news