College student Joy Reyes calls herself and her sister Jane, “amateur cat rescuers.” The sisters love cats and as kids they brought home a variety of strays. Each time they saw that the cats were examined by a Vet, spayed or neutered and adopted into a good home. Last year Joy ran into her first feral cat colony and after seeing so many cats living on their own, she thought there must be a better way to save these animals.
Joy turned to the Internet for answers and learned about Heaven Can Wait Animal Society’s feral cat clinics that sterilize and vaccinate free roaming cats. HCWS loaned traps to the sisters and they returned to the clinic with 10 cats. All of the felines were fixed, got their shots and had their ears-tipped so they could be identified by other trappers. Joy and Jane returned the cats to their colony. On their next trip to HCWS, the girls had 19 cats in tow.
The Reyes sisters learned more about the plight of feral cats who are susceptible to starvation, predators and the elements. They volunteered to hand out flyers for the HCWS program called Operation Clean Sweep that spays and neuters every free roaming cat and owned pets in at-risk neighborhoods. The girls were especially helpful because they are bilingual and could answer questions from the Spanish speaking neighbors.
While handing out flyers, Joy came across a house with cats running everywhere. The situation was the perfect example of how fast a colony can grow if the cats aren’t fixed. She spoke with the owner who agreed to let her trap all of them.
The project became a family affair for the Reyes clan, which included help from the girls’ parents, Tony and Sofia. Shortly after dark the family set out traps on the property and waited in their truck until they heard the clap of a trap shutting tight. Then one of them would grab the trap, label it and stow in the truck. At about 1a.m. they would move the cats to the clinic, give them fresh food and water and go home.
“It was exhausting, but nice that our family worked together,” said Joy.
The process took nearly a week, but a total of 40 feral cats were caught. Members of the Reyes family checked in on the felines every day and were especially attentive to those that were held for recovery.
Of the 40 cats, a litter of 4 kittens, one friendly adult and a friendly youngster were kept by Heaven Can Wait for adoption. All have been placed into new homes.
That made Joy especially proud. “It’s nice to know that you helped reduce the number of feral cats, but it’s really nice to know some were adopted,” said Joy.
The woman living on the property has moved away so Joy and Jane have become the guardians of the colony. They go to the feeding site often and the neighbors know to contact them if any new litters are born nearby.
Judy, the HCWS Clinic Coordinator, is very proud of Joy and Jane and says with their help, “The feral cat population in that neighborhood has been greatly reduced.”
HCWS Feral Cat Clinics are held monthly. To date we have spayed and neutered more than 80,000 free roaming and owned pets. If you would like to get involved or learn more: CLICK HERE.
Filed under: Community, Programs | Tagged: animal rescue, animal welfare, feral cat clinic, feral cats, HCWS, Heaven Can Wait, Heaven Can Wait adoptions, Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, homeless animals, homeless pets, nature, Spay and Neuter, volunteers | 5 Comments »