At ACR we emphasize the importance of TNR, which helps free-roaming cats live a better life and helps shelters by decreasing intake. This is even more apparent during Kitten Season. If adult cats are fixed, future generations don’t have to suffer like sweet Jelly Bean did.
Jelly Bean’s mom, Sally, and one of his siblings were brutally attacked. This left mama cat with an infected wound. Sadly, the kitten that was attacked had to be euthanized due to his injuries. Because of the trauma from the attack, Sally stopped feeding the other two babies. Then sadly, overnight, a second kitten passed away.
Jelly Bean then stopped eating altogether and we had to rush him to the bet. We had to visit two specalists to find out what was wrong, and eventually had to feed him around the clock with small drops of kitten milk. Finally, just as we were losing hope, he started gaining weight!
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of Jelly Bean’s troubles. We found him unresponsive one morning and he was rushed to the emergency clinic. He was diagnosed with a gallbladder infection and was put on antibiotics. He also had to spend the night in the ER. Fortunately after his stay at the clinic, Jelly began eating beautifully and is a growing normally! While recovering, he loved purring and snuggling with Pudding, an orphan kitten who was definitely in need of some company! His mom, Sally has been spayed, vaccinated, and healed from the attack as well.
We are also happy to report that sweet Jelly Bean has found his furever home and is living life to the fullest. Here at ACR we are committed and persistent when it comes to sweet babies like Jelly Bean. If his parents were fixed through TNR, none of this would have had to happen. Not every cat or kitten gets a chance at treatment, especially feral cats. Therefore, sterilizing cats through TNR is vital to make sure there is as little suffering as possible.
One of the biggest frustrations amongst neighbors of community cat colonies surrounds the cats digging and using the bathroom in their yard or garden. This can lead to calls to animal control, which will ultimately lead to the cats ending up in shelters and most likely, being euthanized. So how to address this issue?
An outdoor litter box is something all community cats want, and can benefit from. An outdoor litter box provides the cats with a proper place to use as a toilet, thus reducing the chances that they’ll do it where they’re not wanted. Outdoor litter boxes benefit everyone, as cats are happy to have a safe, quiet, private place to use the bathroom, as well as allows them to more easily coexist with neighbors.
So the next step is to build your cats their own outdoor litter box. There are different variations, but it’s smart to follow a similar blueprint as to how indoor litter boxes are built. First, build a frame. Start with a frame of four walls that are the correct height for the cats in the community. If there are kittens present, make the walls shorter so they can get in and out easily. If you’d like to cover it, feel free. This is especially important if you live in colder, rainier, or snowier parts of the country where the litter is likely to frequently get wet. However it can also be left open in drier, warmer climates. Covering the box makes it more like a shelter, which will help the cats feel hidden and safe. There’s no need to build a bottom, as you’re looking for easy drainage. Choosing the right litter is also key. Traditional litter won’t work unless the box is fully covered. Otherwise, use materials such as sand or peat moss. Finally, don’t overfill. Use just enough litter for cats to comfortably dig in, which is a big attraction for them in the first place.
When it comes to placement, choose quiet, hidden areas that would be attractive to cats. Out of the way areas that have little traffic are good choices. Also, keep it away from the cats’ food and water. Spend time observing their favorite spots, and place the boxes there, in particular where you’ve seen them use the bathroom before. If your litter box is uncovered, place it in an area surrounded by bushes or other plants so they can use the bathroom in private. Be sure to keep it clean, and scoop the boxes regularly, as you would a box indoors. Finally, give the box appeal by mixing some of the area’s natural soil and leaves into the litter so it appears familiar to the cats, and therefore safe. Discouraging cats from using other areas with humane deterrents will also help encourage them to use the boxes you’ve set up.
How to Make a Cat Condo
Now that the weather is turning chilly, it’s important to provide your community cats with adequate shelter to keep them warm. Cat condos are an excellent way to provide your cat with a place to stay warm when it gets cold outside.
First, you’ll need some materials. Purchase a large, dark-colored, plastic storage container.
Then for insulation, buy one roll of silver milar house insulation, brand name Reflectix Insulation. It looks like quilted tin foil and can be purchased at home improvement stores, like Lowes. Finally, you’ll need a roll of silver Venture Tape UL181A-P/UL181B-FX. It is important you buy this brand, as it is the only one which will work. Also get some straw from your local gardening store.
Now that you have all your supplies, take a sharp knife or razor and cut a cat-sized door at one end of the container. If there is a natural indentation on the container, it will make the perfect door, so cut that out instead.
Take the Reflectix Insulation and line the inside of the container, on both the side and the bottom. Tape it down securely with the Venture tape. Tape off all the seams, as well as line and tape the top of the container.
Place some straw (NOT hay, blankets or towels) on top of the insulation, and then place the lid of the container on top. To check if your cats are using the condo, lift the life and check for a cat-shaped indentation.
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.