What happens when BCR gets the call that there are crew members out there in need of rescue?
While the details may vary based on individual cats' needs, our routine tends to stick to these basics. Peek inside the magical world of cat intake! We're using the kittens we rescued from dumpster life as our example here.
One of our foster moms let us know that there was a mom and her five kittens living under a dumpster. Mom would range around, and scrounge in the dumpster, and the babies mostly hid underneath it. That's no way for kittens to grow up!
You can't rescue cats if you can't get them! These babies are about 6 weeks old, but they are already very wary of humans. They would dart back under the dumpster at the slightest provocation. And while we were trying to trap, there were cars and trucks going by, people slamming doors, and trash being chucked in above their heads. As we caught the kittens, we put them in a carrier behind the trap, to encourage the remaining members of the litter to enter the trap as well. Three and half hours later, we had the whole litter! (And an hour after that, we got mama as well.)
Once we have our newest crew members, we snap a quick photo, so we can fondly remember how weird they once were. Aww. Then, we're off to the vet, to make sure that none of our new babies have Feline Leukemia, or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. (FeLV/FIV) While FIV is manageable, FeLV is highly contagious, and bars these kittens from being fostered with other cats. Luckily, everyone tested negative! These kittens all have flea anemia; the blood drawn for their tests was watery and pale. We'll help them strengthen up with an iron supplement. They also get an intake exam to listen to their hearts, and make sure there isn't anything glaringly wrong with them. (So far, so good!)
Once we know they aren't carrying FeLV, all new crew members come to BCR headquarters for their official intake.
First, we deal with the most pressing need...NO MORE FLEAS.
The kittens are given a portion of a CapStar right off the bat. That is a small pill that kills fleas within 30 minute. It's amazing! Because they were living under a dumpster, and infested with fleas, these kittens were in desperate need of a bath. Most of our kittens get their introduction to civilization with a nice warm bath. 4/5 kittens found bathtime calming. ...Eventually...
After everyone is dry and cozy, we continue the war on parasites. These kittens had fleas, ear mites, and big roundworm bellies. Because they are only 6 weeks old, we don't want to overwhelm their tiny systems, so we do smaller doses of everything. They get single drop of Revolution each. Revolution kills fleas, and ear mites. Since fleas in this area haven't build up a resistance to it, it actually works! We kind of adore it. Which is a weird thing to say about poison...
Because of their age, and the mild amount of ear mites they have, we decided against yet another treatment. In two weeks, they will be treated for ear mites with Ivermectin. With the exception of one kitten, everyone has clear eyes and noses! Because they were being fed by staff members, and their mama was taking good care of them, these kittens have nice strong immune systems. Many kittens born outdoors or in neglectful situations have upper respiratory infections. If these kittens were goopy of eye and nose, we would give them a couple of days on Lysine and colloidal silver, to see if that gave their immune systems the boost they needed...and if not, we would utilize antibiotics. Luckily, these kittens are gorgeous!
Once the basic "get you clean and not sharing your friends" parts of intake are taken care of, the kittens are entered into our intake sheet. We record where they were found, any health issues they might have, and what treatments they received when.
We'll continue to support their health with nutritious food, regular de-wormings, and lots and lots of love!
Now all we have to do is figure out what their names are going to be...
Whoo boy. BCR's Captain has had quite the week...month...fuzzy timeline. We are currently on round three of kittens for this kitten season, and have run into some really lousy situations.
There are two ways we can look at this...examples below.
(1) Why did I take in a pregnant cat!? I don't have space for more mystery butts! Mama is kind of weird too...am I going to have to bring her back to her barn, or will she warm up enough to humankind to be adopted? Oh look, she shat in her birthing box. Twice.
(2) I don't even know where that town is!/Over 1,000 miles on my car in one week!? With a teething toddler...what's wrong with my brain?
(3) I only budgeted for 30 feral cats being TNR'd this year, where the hell am I going to get more money for an additional 30?
(4) Death death misery and despair...
(5) Another project? Really? What hours in the day can we use for this, oh fearless leader...
(1) This is the last cat from a barn with 15. After she has these babies, the population there is completely done. And since her last litter was so very ill, its fantastic that these kittens will be born inside, where we can monitor their health from day one. Mama was pretty wild on the farm, and it might just be the hormones talking, but she's got a really sweet disposition. We can make this work.
(2) Word of Browncoat Cat Rescue is spreading further and further...that's more lives we can save! /Wow, productivity! Getting home visits, foster parent support, and feral cat networking taken care of! Now that our summer of rain is done with, its beautiful driving weather. Good thing my kiddo likes meeting new people, cats, and dogs...
(3) Can I really complain that people want to improve the quality of feral cats' lives? Hell no! If they are willing to take that first step, I can scrounge up the funds to make it happen.
(4) While it is devastating losing cats and kittens that we've fought to save, at least their final moments were warm, and loved. We do what we can.
(5) No really, this is a good thing. There will be six months of chaos and stress, and then five plus years of awesomeness. You live in a beautiful and caring community; this is going to be great.
The Captain of Browncoat Cat is a self proclaimed crazy cat lady. Of course, we're all mad here...