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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Prison Cats Update

In the summer of 2010, Alley Cats and Angels did a TNR project at a local prison.  We TNR'd 15 cats, took 8 kittens and 1 cat into our adoption program and 4 kittens into our barn cat program. 

On Saturday, the prison called to let us know they were closing down due to state budget cuts (inmates would be parsed out to other prisons), and asked if we would be able to take the four friendly adoptable cats.  There were five, but one inmate who was released took Max the cat with him. 

The last of the inmates would be moved on Tuesday (yesterday, 9/20) and we would need their help getting the cats.  Went to the prison Sunday after adoption events but the cats took one look at me and headed for the hills!  Marie P and I went back on Monday and were able to catch three of the four cats.  Ok, actually, we took traps, food, and other supplies but two of the inmates actually got the cats.  We were asked repeatedly by the few remaining inmates "you're not going to put Bobo to sleep are you", "you won't kill the cats, will you?".  Of course not, they will be safe with us. We explained they will go to the vet and get checked out and get their vaxes updated, etc.  We let them know the feral cats on the other side of the prison outside the gates would stay but that someone would care for them and make sure they are fed and watered (and if any newcomers show up, they will be TNR'd as well),

The relationship of the inmates and the cats was very touching. 

Upset that we didn't get the last cat, but we had to leave for the day because had to get the cats settled and then move cats into the Petsmart adoption center. 

Called Tuesday and Smokey (last cat) was sighted but hadn't been caught yet.  Was going to try to get him tonight after I cleaned at Petsmart and drove in to put food out for the ferals. However, the prison called and said one of the officers could pick up Smokey and put him in the trap we left if we could come get him. Ummm, absolutely!

So all four kitties (Runt, Bobo, Twinkletoes, and Smokey) are now settled in their individual cages.  They are confused, having never been inside except in traps last year before and after surgery.  Each cage is set up like we set up barn cat cages - with a carrier with door tied open to cage for each cat to hide in, litterbox next to it, food and water up front, etc.  Twinkletoes finally came out of laying in the litterbox and moved to the carrier tonight.  Runt is still in the carrier, but I know she was out of her carrier because her toy ball was in her litterbox -- aha, she was playing!!  Bobo is still hiding in the litterbox.

I'm not sure how "friendly adoptable" they are. But I have been able to touch and pet them on the nose. I'm actually trying to leave them alone some so they will eat and drink because they haven't yet.  Poor kitties.

There are about 6-7 feral cats outside the gates at the other end of the prison.  Fortunately, the storage buildings will be staying (they are raised up on cinder blocks) so on Monday, we were able to put two kitten sized litterboxes filled with food out (they hold a lot of food) - one under each shed to keep it out of the elements and then a large container of water also.  Replenished the food tonight and it seems like that was the right amount to leave for the cats and whatever wildlife would get some.  Unfortunately, I live 45 minutes from the prison so it's not optimal for me to feed there several times weekly (at least every other day). 

We reached out to another rescue group - based in that area - and got an email back already from someone that can take on the care of that colony.  They do travel some for work so we're still looking for a backup, but I am very thankful to IAR in Durham for sending out an email to their contatcts in the area and helping us find someone to help with the prison ferals.

Long post, so I'll close for now. I'll keep you updated on the progress of Bobo, Runt, Twinkletoes, and Smokey.  I keep telling them to just eat their food (it's laced with meds) and they won't have to be caged for too awfully long.

As a last note, there were no kittens born at the correctional facility since all the cats were TNR'd last year.  This proves that TNR WORKS.


Random Felines said...

What a great relationship - we are sad these guys "lost" their home but how wonderful that the guards and prisoners cared enough to call and get help. Paws crossed for the backup and that these guys settle in.

meowmeowmans said...

I remember when you started this program! Yay for TNR. It is really touching to read about the wonderful bonds shared by the inmates and the cats, too. Thank you for everything you do. Really, you all are amazing!

Admiral Hestorb said...

I am so deeply admiring of you..and of all wonderful people who care for the helpless and hopeless in the animal world. Thank you for what you do. xoxoxox