This summer completely got away from me. I had such big plans to write all the time, keep everyone up to date with our current bottle-fed foster babies, and regale you with tales of the wonderful world of rescue. However, real life got in the way and here we are, in November already!! I may have some posts that are out of order from here on out- in an effort to catch up and get my five or six faithful readers up to date- but I’ll try to make it fun, at least!
In mid-July, we received a phone call from a family that lives in Platteville, a small, rural town surrounded by corn fields and blue skies in eastern Colorado. They have lived there for decades, and over the years have seen a lot of animals dumped off by un-concerned folks, hoping that their once-loved cats would catch food in the fields and survive. However, this is not what ended up happening.
In my initial conversation with the owner’s daughter “C”, she explained that they have tried for more than a year to get some help with catching these cats. They had called every rescue group they could locate. They called animal control. They got in touch with the closest shelters. Over and over again, they were told no, that it wasn’t their problem, and that there were no resources to help. What probably started out as a handful or ten cats had exploded into a cat population of more than 65 cats.
Many of the friendly cats were all put together in a big crate, since we underestimated how many we were bringing back!
“C”, had brought two kittens that the family wanted to keep to a local shelter for a low-cost vaccination clinic, and ran into my mom, a volunteer at the clinic. When she explained the situation to my mother, she told her to call me and see what CAWL could do to help (thanks for that, Mom! just kidding). She called three days later on a Wednesday, and explained that they were looking for help with spay/neuter and vaccinations, rehoming some of the cats, and getting them healthy as possible since there were some with upper respiratories. We had a spay/neuter clinic planned with our friend Holly Aubart from DFL’s Meow Mobile for that Friday, so I agreed to come trap a few cats and get started- figuring I’d take what I could to that clinic and get them fixed a few at a time. ”C” said that was great, so I planned to come up and meet them the next day.
I got there pretty early, when it was still cool enough for the kitties to be out and about. When I first pulled up, there were close to 20 cats visible, hanging out in the front yard, on the porch, and hanging in the shade of the cars parked on the property. I was greeted by the great granddaughter of the owner, “A”, who immediately helped me grab as many of the cats as we could and put them in crates. They were friendly!! Lots of them were totally friendly, happy, adoptable cats. I was so excited! In the first 20 minutes, I think we caught about 25 cats and kittens and placed them in crates. Two other volunteers came up to help, and we spent the next two hours setting traps, netting cats, and continuing to pick up the ones that would allow it.
Tallying everyone up!
By 1:00 p.m., we had 43 cats total. We had to quit- we were out of traps and crates, and couldn’t fit a single extra being in any of our cars. What started as a plan for four or five kitties quickly escalated- but what could we do? We knew the chances of being able to take that many in one trip again were really slim. I had to take the chance and jump on it- especially since I knew there were at least another 15-20 cats on the property.
On that hour long drive home, I called Holly from DFL. This girl has always done everything that she could to help those of us in rescue- squeezing us in during her regular clinics, helping us set up an extra clinic here and there so we could do a bunch of CAWL cats at once, giving us advice on testing and medical issues. I can’t say enough good about her. We physically could not do what we do, in any capacity, without Holly. (She also doesn’t like this kind of recognition, but she sure deserves it. We love you, Holly!) I explained that I had 43 cats coming back to my house and asked what, if anything, we could do to get them all taken care of. I knew we had some other low cost options, but it was so last minute I wasn’t sure how we could make it all happen!
The Meow Mobile!
Spay Neuter Queen, Holly Aubart from Dumb Friends League
Holly somehow talked her vet friend Dr. Jason Cordeiro (http://www.1lastgiftsite.com/) who had already volunteered to spay and neuter the CAWL cats into doing a much longer project- vetting all of my 43 cats in a day (or two, as it ended up). So for two days, I had the privilege of hosting the Meow Mobile in all its glory in front of my house! My neighbors thought it was awesome. (Seriously!) Dr. Cordeiro and Holly managed to get all of the kitties fixed, vaccinated, tested… you name it, they got it done. Meanwhile, Lisa Petri and I ran recovery in my garage, cleaning cages, feeding and watering… 43 cats is a LOT to handle, even if only for a day or two!!
A couple kittens getting ready for neuter!
Afterwards, we were able to place about 25 cats in foster homes so they could be adopted. Since then, we have trapped an additional 20 cats and taken another 13 in to be adopted out. The colony is now manageable! It’s been really amazing to see how healthy the cats have become; many of those that are still on the property were those that hid out and were pretty darn skinny. It seemed the friendly ones would get more to eat, as they didn’t mind hanging with the family when they fed them! Now, though, most of those super friendly kitties are gone- and the rest of the colony can truly thrive. All in all, we were able to trap, spay and neuter 65 cats here.
TNR is hard, and sometimes feels like a never-ending cycle. However, this project (though still on-going as we have a couple cats left to trap!) has been so incredibly rewarding, thanks to huge cooperation between groups!! Big thanks to Cathy from Duncan’s Place in Loveland, Colorado, for donating a pallet of wet food to these kitties; to Holly Aubart and Dumb Friends League for allowing us to utilize the Meow Mobile the way that we did, and for all the dry cat food; to Dr. Cordeiro for volunteering his time to help us out, on the truck and afterwards for follow up medical care; to Ariella and her Brownie Girl’s group for building the feral cat houses for this property; to The Giving Paw for donating the supplies for these cat houses; and anyone else that I’m forgetting!! We could not have made this happen without you guys.
The picture below is a before-and-after of Big Blue, who was formerly the meanest guy on the property (and had facial wounds to prove it). Look how amazing he looks now!! Fixed cats are happy cats. :)
***CAWL is heading back to Deer Trail for another spay/neuter/vaccination clinic on June 2nd, 2013! If you want to reserve a spot for spay or neuter (space is limited!) please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment ASAP.***
CAWL has a diverse group of volunteers, with many different interests and projects. This is one of the things I love most about our group- the ability to work together to see a bigger picture that includes ALL of our projects. I recently had a chance to go on my first spay and neuter trip with CAWL President Lisa Petri and her awesome team to a small town in eastern Colorado that is seriously lacking in low-cost vet care options. This is something she’s been doing for a long time, and I’m really glad I took her up on the invitation to tag along and see how it all works. I understand now, why she is so passionate about this and why she’s so invested in this cause.
Until a few months ago when I first took this phone call to help Deer Trail out, I didn’t really realize how hard it was to find low cost spay and neuter in the more rural areas. People who had brought several pets in for surgery told me that if it wasn’t for this clinic, they would never have been able to afford to fix ANY of their pets; and in one day, they were able to have ALL of theirs fixed and vaccinated as well!
Just a handful of the dogs brought in!
Not only is cost a problem, places like this (not too far outside of the metro area) become sort of a dumping ground for people who don’t want to deal with their pets anymore. We met a couple that has been doing rescue out in that area for a long time to the best of their ability, taking in dogs and fixing them as they can afford, and rehoming them to good homes. Wonderful, kind people who would be able to do so much more if they had the support of low cost veterinary clinics. Needless to say, the need for help in this area is great, and I’m very thankful that we were able to get out and do some work there when we did.
Lisa and friends getting the surgery center set up
One thing that really stuck out to me during this trip was that there’s a stigma that follows low-cost anything, really. An assumption that people only want to do something if it’s free or cheap. That people don’t care enough for their pets to take care of them and get them fixed, unless you’re just going to give it to them. THIS IS NOT TRUE! We met some of the most amazing clients in our time there- families who love their dogs dearly, just like I do, and only want the best for them. Some came back to the clinic much earlier than they were supposed to, because they were anxious to check in on their loved ones and make sure everything had gone well. We met a woman who has been trapping and rehabilitating feral cats, who brought in several to be fixed and vaccinated so they could have a better shot at a healthy life. She’s been paying out of pocket for years, on her own, to take care of these animals. We spent time with a lot of different people during that weekend and it was a wonderful experience for me to be able to talk to them and hear their stories.
Let me just say- to the two vets, the techs and the volunteers that do this regularly, I have so much respect for you! These women are so hardworking and seriously didn’t get any sort of real break for the two days that they were doing this clinic. There were so many unexpected things that come with a trip like this- animals with strange cysts and tumors, animals with some wild behavioral stuff (like the feral cat that managed to escape and had to be chased down… see the picture below!)- let’s just say it’s really hard to prepare for that kind of thing since you really have no clue what you’re in for until you’re standing right there. I’m so impressed with the caliber of work they all did. Very proud to work with you all!
The Great Cat Escape
When all was said and done, we were able to spay and neuter almost 100 animals with two vets doing surgery and the rest of us helping prep, clean, recover, and help out with the animals and supplies. Not bad for a group of hooligans like us. And I only broke one thing- very impressive for me, let’s be honest.
Some of our favorite CAWL volunteers, Nissa and Katie, helping recovery dogs after surgery. These two ladies did such an amazing job!!
If you’re interested in supporting our spay and neuter project, please donate through our website. If you’d like information on volunteering, feel free to email us at email@example.com- we’re always looking for people interested in helping out, with a variety of skill levels! We’d love to have you along for the ride.
I want to invite all of you- past adopters, current fosters , supporters, family, friends, and random readers- to an awesome event we’re having April 27th. It’s called Paw Prints and Cocktails, and is a fun evening of painting (the picture we’re painting is below), socializing, silent auction-ing, and raising money for this group that I love so much.
In the past few months, CAWL has taken in some extra special animals. Back in January, we brought a group of dogs up from a high kill shelter in Louisiana, and almost 50% of them ended up being heartworm positive. Cooper, below, was one of them. (Don’t tell anybody, but he was my favorite.) It’s wonderful that they ended up here with us, because we were able to get them the treatment that they needed to survive, and help them get healthy again. Worth it? Absolutely. Expensive? Definitely.
We’ve also taken some guys like this. This is Munk, a super handsome cat that came from a local municipal shelter where a leg injury had landed him on the euthanize list. He has the best personality in the land and has his whole life ahead of him (he’s only 2-3 years old) so we took him in. He had a total ACL repair and after a couple months of recovery, is good as new! He’ll actually be ready for adoption in the next couple of weeks. Worth it? Absolutely. Expensive? Definitely.
We’re also up to our ears in spay and neuter trip opportunities- which will be a whole separate blog post coming next week!! There are so many communities in need of low cost spay and neuter, and it’s something that makes an enormous difference. I went on my first trip last weekend and I’m hooked. More on that later!! But, guess what? It’s expensive!!
The point is, we’re having this great event this weekend to raise money to help us cover medicine and surgeries for animals like these that would have little chance of being saved without our help. We’re going to have a big silent auction with some really fun packages and items (take a look at the list!), and we will receive $10 from each $35 ticket purchased. This event does have limited seating for the painting class, so if you want to come, please get your tickets ASAP! It’s also dog-friendly as they have a doggy-daycare business as well- so bring your polite, people and dog-friendly dogs along!! We would love to see some CAWL alums. We’ll have a raffle with some fun prizes and a few giveaways as well. Big thanks to Woof and Boots, Ark Pet Art Gallery and Paw Prints and Cocktails (www.pawprintsandcocktails.com) for inviting us to have this event!!
CAWL couldn’t survive without the support of friends like all of you. We couldn’t rescue the animals that we do without your help. I’m really excited to see everyone at this event and get to spend some time with you all!! Please help us sell this out and make it a successful event.
Here’s all of the event information:
What: CAWL’S Paw Prints and Cocktails Event
When: Saturday, April 27th from 7:30-10:30 p.m.
Where: Ark Gallery, 719 West 8th Avenue, Denver CO 80204
How: To purchase tickets: https://secure.jotform.us/form/22116917718153 (Scroll down the page to find our event and buy your tickets in advance)
Why: Because you’ll be supporting CAWL and all the wonderful animals we all love :) Not to mention, who doesn’t love a good cocktail, a new piece of art to hang in your home, and an opportunity to socialize with your friends and dogs? Sounds perfect to me!
Here are just a few of our Silent Auction items:
-Date Night Packages with gift certificates for The Melting Pot (Littleton), Massages, Wine, and more!
- Custom Oil Painting by BFF Pet Paintings, valued at $350 (www.bffpetpaintings.com)
-Rockies ticket four pack to a game of your choice, lower level and mid-field, valued at $168-280 (exclusions apply)
-One Month Unlimited Yoga from Kindness Yoga, valued at $130 (www.kindnesscollective.com)
-An Original Sock Dog customized stuffed dog, made to look just like yours, valued at $95 (www.sockdogs.com) (Chances are, you’ll be fighting me for this one!)
-A 6 week class at High Drive Dog Company, valued at $150 (www.highdrivedogco.com)
-A beautiful leather “Laney” Grace Adele Bag, valued at $200 (https://celeta.graceadele.us/GraceAdele/Home)
And much, much more! Can’t wait to see you there!!
We greatly appreciate these house training tips provided by CAWL dog trainer, Carly Shivers, owner of High Drive Dog Company in Longmont, CO.
Q: Need some suggestions, Jasper who is about 5 months old now has been completely house trained for at least 2 months now. He hasn’t had any accidents since, forever now. All of the sudden he had started peeing on the carpet upstairs. I just don’t get it. He even peed right in front of my husband last night on the carpet. We ruled out any medical issue at the vet yesterday. Do we go back to square one with house training? Which for us was a treat at the door, then following him outside and giving a treat after he does his business.
A: Yes it is a process and even though you’ve made good progress there are a few steps backward often, especially when we’re dealing with a young puppy. In a nutshell to housetrain a dog, you want to minimize the times the puppy goes where you don’t want him to (in the house) and have high value (meaty, moist) treats for when he goes where you want him to (and only use those awesome treats for going to the bathroom outside). To minimize the accidents in the home, keep him close where you can watch him and for those times when you can’t (like you are going to jump in the shower and no one else is home), crate him. A crate is the number one tool for housetraining – just big enough to stand up, turn around, and lie down – not big enough to have a toilet in the corner. For the other times when you might be distracted – phone calls, cooking – or for a particularly wily pup who seems to always slip away just for that split second and you then find an accident, put them on leash and tether it to your belt loop if you’ll be moving around or tether to the kitchen table. It is also helpful to set alarms for yourself so you remember to take him out every half hour or whatever the pup needs. It never hurts to lay too good a foundation for learning!
Well, spring is here! What does that mean? A few more weeks of peace and quiet before the craziness of kitten season starts with a bang!! While everyone is trying to enjoy the first few warm days of the season, the crazy cat ladies of CAWL are preparing for what’s to come by gathering a lot of the supplies that we’re going to need this season for our bottle-fed kittens.
We’re going to be hosting a Kitten Baby Shower in a few weeks (date TBA) in hopes to gather some of our most-needed supplies and have some fun with our supporters at the same time. Keep an eye on the blog for more information- and if you have ideas for a venue that would allow some cute baby kittens to tag along, email me!
For those of you who haven’t bottle-fed kittens before but are interested in learning more, here’s a list of some of our “must have” items- the things that we can’t live without when working with the little guys.
#1.) Formula. Obviously, the kittens have to eat! I prefer KMR formula- in my experience, it gives my kittens the least amount of trouble with constipation and other bathroom issues. This may seem like a silly thing, but trust me, when you’re up at 3 a.m. and your kitten has to poop before you can go back to bed, you’ll thank me for this advice. The powder formula works fine and once you understand the consistency you’re looking for, it’s easy to mix. I try to keep some canned formula on hand too, but it can be pretty expensive!
Welcome to my blog! I’m excited to start writing and hope to encourage people to get involved with rescue and fostering. This has become such a huge part of my life that it’s hard for me to keep from sharing it with everyone I meet! I think having a blog is a great platform for getting people started with kitten care, but we’ll also be sharing happy adoption stories and fun CAWL related things as well.
A little bit about me: I’ve been part of an animal loving family my whole life. I don’t remember a time that we didn’t have pets, many times animals that somehow found us and ended up being part of the family. We were regulars at our local shelters, stopping in on the weekends to play with the dogs and cats. My mom and dad volunteer for a local shelter and foster dogs as well. It’s not surprising that I ended up working in rescue- it’s always been something very close to my heart!!
One of my all-time favorite fosters, Sunshine