December 29, 2019 1030h – About half of the cats have moved out of the rescue centre into foster care or to our TNR Recovery Centre for more socialization. The remaining ones are keeping the volunteer caregivers busy. Most of these are truly feral cats so they will likely go into the barn cat program.
This lucky fellow has moved into a foster home where he will receive love and care from an experienced foster mom. It looks like she is making some headway already – good luck Rowan!
December 29, 2019 1000h – A few pics from Friday’s media visit to the rescue centre:
December 28, 2019 1300h –
December 27, 2019 2100h – We made the news! THREE times!
December 26, 2019 2030h – Today is Boxing Day in Canada, another official holiday. Unless you are a volunteer caregiver which means everyone still needs cleaning, feeding and loving. Today was another recovery day for the cats as they await the next phase of their adventure. Caregivers report no major problems – everyone is eating and continuing to adjust to life as mainlanders.
As always, the volunteer caregivers were generous in sharing pics and videos for me to post so here ya go:
Someone’s getting spoiled rotten!
Another one soaking up some lovin’.
Mr One Eye gets his Elizabethan collar removed. Caregivers report that he’s doing very well. 🙂
December 25, 2019 1330h – A few more pics from the Christmas morning shift and a video update from Tracey Galusha about three sick little ones:
December 25, 2019 1030h – Merry Christmas!
While we were all opening our presents the LBI Cat Rescue Centre volunteers were busy tending to the cats. Everyone got clean bedding, litter, fresh food and water early this morning. According to Pat, “everyone seemed fine.” Tracey took a few of the feverish ones home a couple of days ago and she reports that they are also doing well. We hope to start moving everyone out very soon so stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, here are a few more pics compliments of the volunteers:
December 24, 2019 0845h – The caregivers at the Rescue Centre are kind enough to share some pics so we can follow their progress. My favourite comment from the caregiver Facebook page: “This morning’s discovery was that Mr Mom is more of a baloney hound than Muffy!”
December 23, 2019 2130h – A quick update… The cats are doing very well. There are a couple of ones that are being watched closely because of fevers but nobody is in any serious trouble. Generally appetites are good and they seem to be adjusting to the routine. We hope to begin moving them out soon so they can begin adapting to their new lives.
A couple of pics and a short video:
The kitty in the video below is #25. Volunteer Brittany says “#25 is such a charmer, loves cuddles, head butts & long walks on the beach lol”
December 22, 2019 1530h – Many people are wondering what happens at the LBI Rescue Centre. Some of our volunteers were kind enough to share their experiences with us.
Why did you become involved in this rescue mission?
All of us who volunteered to care for the cats did so because we love animals, cats especially. Some of us have years of experience, others are new; they heard of the plight of these cats and were moved to help.It is a fabulous team of hard working, dedicated, and compassionate people.
Describe the usual routine for a typical visit to the Rescue Centre.
We have modified our routine a bit from our permanent TNR Center because of the facility we are in, and the number of cats we are caring for.
For each shift we get everything organized before we clean the kennels. One person will go kennel-to-kennel and fill out the tracking sheet that records how much the cats ate, and what their ‘litter action’ was; this also gives you a chance to assess the cat and see how they are doing. Another person will fill the disposable cardboard litter boxes and put them on top of the kennel, another person will dish out and distribute the dry and wet food to the top of each kennel. If there are more than 3 people the tasks will be shared. When everything is ready we start the actual cleaning.
We have two carts that we take down the long aisles of kennels. They are much less fancy than the ones flight attendants use, but they have the same function. On the carts are gloves, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, jugs of water, spare towels, and hand sanitizer. We also have a garbage container that we drag along, for the used litter boxes and litter.
At the kennel we change the litter box, remove used food dishes and give fresh food, and change the water. We also freshen any bedding as necessary. This is our best opportunity to assess the cat and see their response to us. We assess the body language – posture, eyes, ears, vocalizations, etc – and may decide to attempt to pet the cat either with a backscratcher or our hand. If we think the cat is ready and it is safe we will remove the transfer cage and give them a ‘cuddle box’.It is a gradual process and it is important that this happen at the cat’s own pace. They are all different.Medications are also given if required and any medical issues are noted and reported appropriately.
We are very careful to follow infection control guidelines. We are fortunate to have had the support and guidance of the NS SPCA in establishing the protocols.
There are two shifts per day – morning and late afternoon/evening. The caregivers have a private Facebook page that we use to communicate updates and issues, and share photos of course. Everyone in the group is 100% dedicated to the cats – both in this project and previous and current ones. We cheer when a cat is deemed friendly and upgraded to a cuddle box, we clamour to hold the kittens and pet the friendly ones. And we cry if the news is sad. Luckily in this project the news has been good so far!!
With our current 37 cats, if we have 5-6 people in the morning the shift will be approximately 2.5 hours. The late afternoon shift usually has 3-4 people and can take 2 hours.We use an online tool to self-schedule.
How are the cats responding to your visits? How many are friendly? How many are feral? Has anyone been scratched/ bitten?
The cats are doing well! They have been eating well since they arrived. They are a healthy weight and are in good shape – this is a testament to the care they had on their home islands.
We aren’t exactly sure how many are friendly yet. We know a few are for sure, some are starting to trust us, and others don’t seem keen on us at all. They have been through a lot however and they adjust at their own rate. Each cat will get a chance, and be carefully and fully assessed. It is exciting to see their progress each day, as they start to trust.
I don’t think anyone has been scratched or bitten by this group yet, but we have a first aid kit nearby just in case.
Do they make much mess? Are they using their litter boxes?
Some of the cats are very busy through the night – and by busy I mean messy! Morning shifts are always busier (more to clean!). We always say that they ‘partied hard’ when their kennel is trashed. The ones who like to shred their cardboard litter boxes get upgraded to plastic litter boxes if we have any.
It can take a feral cat a couple days to figure out about using litter; they have never had a litter box before, plus what we use (yesterday’s news or similar) is not recognizable to them. It is common for them to use their towel initially. We try various things to encourage them – we add a bit of clay litter, take away their towel, add litter attractant, etc.
Is everyone eating? Do they have any favourite foods?
They are eating well! As a treat we give a few temptations per day, and the ‘squeeze ups’ are also popular. Treats can also help with socialization if the cat is food motivated.
We heard that one of the cats – Muffy – enjoyed bologna as a treat from their caregiver back home. A couple of the volunteers bring him some as a special treat.
How are the ones doing who had spay/ neuter surgery?
Everyone is recovering well from their surgeries. The cats arrived late Sunday night, and as of today (Saturday) all have been spayed/neutered except for the 3 who have an upper respiratory infection. Amazing effort!
How is the cat who had his eye removed?
The cat who had his eye removed is recovering well. He was also neutered. He was given an injection for long lasting pain control, and antibiotics. To protect the surgical site he is wearing a collar. To minimize the stress we have given him a soft one. He is eating well and seems comfortable in his kennel. Everyone believes that he feels better already.
How are the ones with URI responding to their medication? Are they cooperating with taking meds?
The 3 cats who have upper respiratory infection (URI) are in an area quite a distance from the other cats – we refer to it as isolation. The intent is to prevent spread of the virus. We tend these cats after all the other cats are done, and we never go back to that area or touch anything related to the other cats after we have been in isolation.
These cats are on oral antibiotics, and one is also on eye drops. They take the oral meds in their food in a pill pocket – they are all still eating. We were concerned that perhaps it would be difficult to give the (feral) cat eye drops but that has not been so. He takes them very well and is not at all aggressive. We think they are improving.
Is it hard getting them into their transport cages when they go for surgery?
Some of the cats like to tuck away in their transfer cages, so they are the easy ones to slide the door on to close the cage.
Some of the cats are more feisty (out of fear) so they are harder to wrangle. They have no idea what is going on. There are a few tricks that we have learned over the years that make it easier for them, and for us. We keep the transfer cage covered as it gives them a sense of security; they will often retreat in there for comfort.
We are very fortunate to have these transfer cages for our work with feral cats. It keeps everyone – cats and humans -safe.
Have any of these cats escaped their kennel?
Fingers etc crossed, no. We are very careful to guard the door when we open a kennel, and if the cat looks the least bit ‘dodgy’ we will secure them in their transfer cage. We have reachers to retrieve any items at the back of the kennel so we don’t have to open the door very far. We never trust any cat in our care – an escapee is our worst fear.
A couple years ago one of our most experienced volunteers had a feral cat escape. He literally flew out of the kennel – over the transfer cage, and over her shoulder. Well, he ended up escaping into the ceiling, where a ceiling tile had been moved. It took a couple days to trap him, but we did get him back. He was neutered and returned to his colony but the memory remains!
Have you worked with rescue cats before? If so, how do these cats compare?
Many of us have years of experience working with rescue cats. We have seen all types of feral cats, from very aggressive to very shy, and all kinds of sick and malnourished cats. Many of us have also fostered and socialized or rehabbed cats. There may have been a few foster fails along the way…
The Little Bay Islands cats are all a very good weight and in great condition. We were pleasantly surprised that these cats are used to people and are (mostly) not aggressive. It is clear they have had people who cared for them. They are a pleasure to work with, and help.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the people who are watching this from afar, especially the folks in Newfoundland and Labrador?
We would like to say THANK YOU!
Thank you to the people on Little Bay Islands for taking such good care of the cats, and for working with the rescue groups to save them. We would also like to thank everyone who donated to this rescue mission – either monetarily or with supplies. These are wonderful cats who deserve to live, not be euthanized for convenience.
Do you have enough food/ litter/ cleaning supplies or is there anything people can donate?
People have been so generous with the donations, it is wonderful to see the support! With 37 cats now and more on the way, we are going through the supplies quickly; we use 30-40 cans of cat food every day! Donations of food and litter are always welcome.
What’s happening to the cats over the Christmas holidays? Will there be people available to look after them?
Our group of caregivers is amazing! They are committed to the cats and will provide full room (kennel) service twice a day, every day.