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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another adoption -- a couple fell in love with Whitaker today

YAY, Whitaker. He's been in the adoption program with his siblings, DeMartino, Dulcinia, and Wilhemenia, for quite a few months -- he just didn't get enough exposure. Hopefully this adoption gets the ball rolling and his siblings get adopted soon. But wow, I'm going to miss that adorable big lug.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Persephone finally goes to her new home



Sweet and rambunctious Persephone finally went to her new home Friday. She is such a little pill, so full of lots and lots of energy. I wish I could bottle some of that energy and store it for a rainy day because I sure could use some of her excess energy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Remember bath time?

Remember the bath time post in December? The cutest kitten shooting daggers at the camera in utter indignation that he was photographed while all wet? Well, here's Puddin' all dry and fluffy.

Although he's one of the most precious kittens, he's not al that photogenic -- he's a must see to appreciate his adorableness kitten. Really, on a cuteness scale of 1-10 in person, he's a 10. And sweet, sweet, sweet (sweet as pudding' pie). And available for adoption!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Update on Seamus (formerly Kiz, the last Oakville kitten)

Below is a picture and a message from Stephen and Eileen, the wonderful couple who adopted Kiz (now Seamus).

Attached is a picture of Seamus (aka "Kiz") at play.

We're absolutely delighted with this kitten, though he's growing like MAD. His energy level is, shall we say...robust. He has a great, great appetite for play and more play, and then additional play before a final play session, all of which is conducted with us wearing ear muffs because, as a rule, he runs around the recognized speed of sound at sea level.

In all seriousness, he does love his play, but we love keeping him well exercised (realizing it's a double-edged sword), and he's very affectionate and well-behaved. He really is too good -- he sleeps through the night, isn't a bit fussy with his food; has no odd litterbox habits, and we're spoiling him horribly.

He's bringing us a lot of joy, and we're very grateful to you for rescuing him, and allowing us to give him a home!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Overton was adopted this weekend...

We are thrilled that Overton found his "furever" home over the weekend. Although we will miss the chatty little cutie (oops, excuse - handsome fellow). That's Overton on the right all dressed up in his fancy tuxedo.

His siblings Newcomb (pictured with Overton) and Moxie (not pictured) are still available for adoption. And they are both super sweet. Newcomb is a big cuddler. Moxie is a bit shy at first but warms and and is very sweet also.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

What is TNR and why is it important for feral cats?

TNR stands for trap-neuter-return (“R” stands for return not release). In a TNR program, feral cats are trapped using humane safe traps and are then spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped, and returned to their original territory where the feral colony caregiver provides them with food and water on a regular basis and also provides shelter. Any friendly kittens or cats are removed from the colony and after vetting are available for adoption.

TNR is the non-lethal method of reducing the number of feral and stray cats. It is the only effective method of controlling the feral cat population because it stops the breeding. Since the cats are no longer reproducing, the colony will gradually diminish in size. By reducing or eliminating mating, fighting, and roaming, TNR stabilizes the colony, reduces the influx of newcomers to the colony, and generally improves the overall health of the cats. (Note that colony caregiver should always keep an eye out for new cats in the colony and TNR those cats as quickly as possible.)

In addition to helping control the feral cat population, TNR typically reduces the nuisance behavior associated with feral cats (yowling, fighting and mating, and spraying by unneutered males to mark their territory). Sterilize cats will usually roam less and as a result become less of a visible presence but they will still provide all natural pest control. TNR’d cats have been vaccinated and are healthier.

Returning cats to their familiar habitat is the best course of action. Removing feral cats from a location allows another colony to move into its place, creating a vacuum effect. This means that if all the cats are removed, new unsterilized cats will typically move in and thus the cycle begins again. That is why the “R” or Return is so important. The only time that the cats should be relocated from their original territory is if the cats are in imminent danger.

If you have questions about how to TNR ferals in your area, please contact us via email at info@alleycatsandangels.org. We teach the basics of TNR (including post-surgery care) and feral colony management, we loan traps and recovery cages for a fully refundable deposit, and we can provide information on low-cost spay/neuter for the feral cats.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Now collecting items for our March 21st yardsale

We will be having a yard sale on Saturday, March 21st and we are now collecting items for the sale. If you have items you want to donate, please let us know. If they are items you need to get out of your house now, we can take them now and will store them. Contact us via email at info@alleycatsandangels.org or via phone at 919-303-3500.

The following items sell well:

  • furniture
  • home d├ęcor
  • jewelry
  • children's toys
  • stuffed animals from a non-smoking home
  • baby stuff (cribs, playpens, baby seats, etc.)
  • movies: DVDs and VHS
  • books on tape
  • music: CDs
  • video games and game "cartridges"
  • office supplies and stationary
  • unused beauty products
  • tools and power tools
  • gardening equipment
  • home improvement supplies
  • sporting goods
  • collectibles
  • dishes
  • small appliances

We are all volunteer, no salaries, no overhead costs, and extremely low administrative fees so approximately 98% of all donations go directly to the cats. We fund the rescue solely through fundraisers such as this and donations.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A message from one of our adopters

Pam W. adopted two very shy cats from Alley Cats and Angels several years ago. Boo was born in a feral colony and caught around six months old. And Snicker is from the same colony and was caught when she was around 15 months old. This was a backyard colony that we were TNRing but Snicker and Boo showed potential so we didn't return them to the backyard. Pam and Jimmy adopted Boo and then adopted Snicker about 4 months later. Both the cats were extremely shy but with some dedicated love and patience, both Boo and Snicker have become very lovey babies.

Boo is the tuxedo cat and Snicker is the silver gray cat. Both cats have also fallen in love with Pam and Jimmy's other cat, Sammy, and they are all buddies.

"Hello all! I wanted to post a note to encourage the blog readers to adopt a shy cat! We have two of Alley Cats and Angels' rescues: Boo and Snicker. With time, space and most importantly patience, these two shy friends have blossomed! With plenty of windows to keep an eye on the birds outside, and comfy, quiet nooks and crannies around the house to feel at ease, they have developed into very loving and affectionate kitties. If you're willing to invest the time and love, adopt a shy kitty. The reward will be well worth it!" -- Pam W.

Shy cats are very often overlooked and passed by when people are looking to adopt a cat. However, they just need some dedicated time, attention, love, and patience and they will usually becaome some of the most affectionate cats. Please consider adopting a shy cat today -- give them a chance and give them a little bit of time and they will capture your heart. Check out the following links for helpful tips about caring for shy cats.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First 2009 adoption - last Oakville kitten adopted today

The last Oakville kitten was adopted tonight. So sad to see him go, but he is going to a fantastic home. I think he already has them wrapped around his little paw! What a happy ending to their story.

Check out our website or Petfinder for the available cats for adoption. There will be a few more kittens available at the end of next week after they are vetted. We have many wonderful kittens, "teenage" cats, and adult cats for adopt.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Funny barn cat story

We got an update from a family that adopted three barn cats from us. What a great story – we love it and are glad the cats are doing well.

"The three cats we adopted as barn cats are doing well, we see them all the time. Katie (one of the cats) has turned into quite a character. She loves company, no matter what type. Remember the mini [horse] that kept walking into the barn and checking out the cat’s cage? Myth [the horse] and Katie have become friends. The other day, Katie jumped on Myth’s back and Myth is so laid back, he didn’t care. In fact, he took her for a ride! If my husband hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have been able to tell him about it because there is no way he would have believed it”.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Marble Slab Fudge Fundraiser (orders due by Feb 6th)

Creamy delicious marble slab fudge for sale to benefit the cats.

Flavors: Chocolate / Peanut Butter / Chocolate Peanut Butter / Rocky Road / Mint Chocolate Chip / Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip / Chocolate Pecan / Vanilla Pecan

Prices: Half Pound Box $6.00 / One Pound Box $11.00

Orders due by Friday, February 6th and fudge will be delivered on February 11th and 12th.

Fudge will be packaged in delivered in Valentine's Day appropriate boxes.

Email
info@alleycatsandangels.org or call 919-303-3500 to order.

We make approximatley 50% profit on each bar sold.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shy cat blossoms in new forever home

Below is an email from Beej's adoptive family. BJ (renamed Fabio because he knows he prances around the house and knows he's "all that"!!) was very shy when the family met him but they fell in love with him and were willing to work with him as long as needed for him to blossom. It really surprised us all when he settled in so quickly. It just proves with some patience and their forever home, shy cats can break out of their shell and become some of the best pets.

"What a SURPRISE! We were looking for a kitty to be a member of our family and I got in touch with "Alley Cats and Angels". They introduced us to to several cats, but Fabio caught my eye. When introduced to him he was a quite shy. However, after we brought him home at Christmas, he settled right in. I thank "Alley and Angels Cats" for all that they do for these amazing animals. Oh, and Fabio thanks you too!" -- Erin V. and family

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Barn cat program in full swing already for 2009

We relocated two high-risk semi-feral cats to a great horse farm last weekend and have two relocations lined up for next weekend, with each site taking three cats. This is a great start for the barn cat program this year.

As always, we ask that you pass the word to anyone you know that owns land and can take in some feral or semi-feral cats or friendly cats that aren't suited to indoor life. Not counting the cats that will be relocated next weekend, we already have about 15 cats on the waiting list for barn homes. And we are approached on a regular basis to help find homes for feral/semi-feral cats in imminent danger.

We have successfully relocated cats to both large farms, small farms, and large rural backyards (half-acre lots). Cats are relocated in a set of at least two from the same colony and are confined in cages in the barn/outbuilding/etc. for a minimum period of two weeks (three weeks is preferable). We provide the cages and everything needed for the relocation period. The new caregiver/barn cat owner takes care of the cats while caged and agrees to provide food, water, and shelter for the cats after their release. The cats will repay the kindness by helping keep down the rodent population.

Big thanks to Jill W....

Jill is the wonderful lady who created and maintains the rescue website (http://www.alleycatsandangels.org/) and all of her time is donated. She makes any changes we request and is always so great. Jill is always so patient and gracious when I say "hey, I was thinking about redoing this page" or "it is possible to do this". Jill is a real angel to rescue and the two-legged (human) members of the rescue and the four-legged members all thank her from the bottom of our heart.

This week Jill created our online adoption application and is currently working on the online foster application. She's also reworking the adoptable cats gallery page.

And earlier this week, she donated a terrific new cat tree to the cats -- which they are loving.

Jill is also the lucky person that adopted Dexter (named Snarfle when I rescued him because he was all sicky, icky, sticky [had tar stuck all in his long fur], and snarflie). Snarfle (Dexter) was about four weeks old and had such bad upper respiratory, flea anemia, and was very malnourished when rescued that we weren't sure he would make it. But he did and flourished and now has an awesome home. So really, Dexter is also very lucky.

Friday, January 9, 2009

So I really am a crazy cat lady...

After all, someone last year did buy me the Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure (CCLAF) -- yep, there really is one and it's hilarious. http://www.mcphee.com/items/11377.html

The various online descriptions of the CCLAF include
  • Every town has a Crazy Cat Lady. She's the one who lives in a tiny house full of feral felines. Don't be scared of the wild look in her eyes!
  • Crazy (fill in name of your crazy cat lady) comes with 6 cats and that wild-eyed "You just woke me at 5 in the morning for your breakfast!!" look on her face. Also features "the cat slept on my face" styled-hair!
On the back of the box containing the figure is a quiz to see if you are a crazy cat person. I "passed" it with flying colors. I mean, geez, of course my instructions for taking care of the cats while I'm on vacation is longer than a page! And I actually do spend more on medical bills for the cats than I do on my medical bills each year. Of course I can tell which cat is licking me in the middle of the night without looking based on the roughness of their tongue-- what kind of kitty mama would I be if I didn't?!! And why yes, I actually do buy the ice cream my cats prefer instead of the kind I want (because I want chocolate and they can't have chocolate).

But I digress....I won an award at work this week as outstanding sales support key player and all I could think is that with the money they spent on the plaque, they could have bought me some cat food instead! It's a beautiful plaque, not the usual cheap ones a lot of companies give out, so really - we're talking several really large bags of cat food that would have made me happier than something that will collect dust in my office. It is a very nice plaque and a nice honor and the sales executives at work that nominated and voted for me rock. But in case any of them are reading this -- remember, cat food or spay/neuter vouchers are much more exciting to me than a plaque.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Looking forward...our focus for 2009

In 2009, Alley Cats and Angels must focus on:

  • Finding homes for the adoptable cats already in the program
  • Building up our base of foster homes (all adoptable cats are in foster homes; therefore, the number of cats we can rescue is directly tied to the number of foster homes we have)
  • Once the 501c3 comes in, getting into local pet stores such as PetSmart and PetCo so that we may hold adoption events
  • Enlisting volunteers to help staff adoption events, sew catnip toys and cat beds to sell, help socialize cats and kittens, trapping experts to help provide TNR assistance as needed
  • Continuing to reach out to all the local farms in the area regarding our barn cat program
  • Fundraising for the cats: this includes holding fundraisers like yard sales, candy sales, etc., in addition to obtaining donations from individuals and local businesses. FYI, we will be having another yard sale in the spring, so if you have anything you’d like to donate, please email (info@alleycatsandangels.org) or call (919-303-3500) and we’ll be glad to pick it up and hold it for the sale.

We are a 100% volunteer organization with nominal administrative fees (the only administrative fees we have are the website, post office box, voicemail service, and very few office supplies) so approximately 98+% of all donations go directly to the cats and is spent on routine medical care. Routine medical care runs approximately $130 per cat and includes deworming, spay/neuter, rabies vaccination, FeLV/FIV testing, FVRCP+FeLV vaccinations (initial vaccine and boosters), flea preventative and treatment, and microchipping. Additional costs include food and litter and non-routine medical care if needed. Our adoption fees help offset, but do not cover, the cost of routine medical care.

In 2009, we anticipate the following "big-ticket" budget items:

  • We need almost $1,000 to start our microchip program; this includes purchasing two microchip scanners and at least two boxes of microchips. We have done a lot of research and found the most economical, but effective, microchipping option.
  • We estimate we will need at least $3,500 to cover basic routine medical for cats in the adoption program in 2009 and $750 to help cover basic routine medical for cats in the barn cat program (this does not include unplanned non-routine medical care which has historically run approximately $800 to $1,000 per year.
  • In order to successfully continue our barn cat program, we need approximately $500 to buy additional large cages to be used during the relocation confinement period -- currently we do not have enough cages to both quarantine incoming cats and to relocate more than a few cats at one time. When we relocate barn cats, those cages are on loan to the barn home for approximately one month to be used during the confinement/acclimation period.
  • Food and litter: although we were very blessed to have a lot of cat food and litter donated in 2008, these items will be large expenditures for 2009.

2008 "Report Card" for Alley Cats and Angels

2008 was a great year for Alley Cats and Angels. In 2008, AC&A accomplished many things including:
  • We officially incorporated as a non-profit in the State of North Carolina
  • We filed our 501c3 application and expect a favorable determination soon
  • We had a logo designed and donated to us
  • We created a website (www.alleycatsandangels.org) and a blog (www.alleycatsandangels.blogspot.com)
  • We formalized the AC&A rescue programs, including creating policies/procedures for each program. AC&A programs include the adoption program, barn cat program, and the feral cat education and assistance program (check out our website for more details)
  • We adopted out 24 cats and kittens this year either through direct adoptions or working with more established rescue groups (and one additional kitten has a great family committed to adopting her after she is spayed)
  • We placed 58 feral and semi-feral cats in barn homes, with at least another 5 lined up to be moved from their cages to their barn home in the next week or two
  • In addition to helping trap many of the cats that we relocated to barn homes, we also assisted in the TNR of 38 feral cats (helped trap as needed and provided recovery space)
  • We held our first fundraiser on November 22 – a yard sale on what was the coldest day of the year YTD – and raised over $900
Alley Cats and Angels has a waiting list of about 15 ferals and semi-ferals that still need barn homes and we get requests to take cats into the barn cat program on a regular basis. So please pass the word. You never know when the person you tell that tells someone else that tells someone else might need a barn cat!

We still have 19 cats in the adoption program that need homes (adults and kittens), with several more on the waiting list to be taken into the program once some more cats are adopted. Please pass the word on to everyone you know. Until we get the 501c3, we have extremely limited venues for adoption events so right now we must rely on word of mouth.

To everyone that supported Alley Cats and Angels through donations of time, money, and/or supplies -- the two legged and four-legged members of Alley Cats and Angels extend our deepest gratitude. Without those donations, all of this could not be possible.