CPAW NJ’s 12 Spays of Christmas: A Cautionary Tale

A Cautionary Tale

Every day, CPAW NJ gets requests for help. But rarely do we get ones like this.

“I have 4 adult female cats in my backyard… all of whom just had kittens.”

CPAW NJ volunteers Jen, Kylie and Amanda went to assess the situation. There were many kittens, infested with fleas and even worse, obvious eye problems.

They called around for help, but nearly every rescue contact was overwhelmed with their own projects. Lack of low cost spay/neuter appointments in 2020 due to COVID-19 made this year’s kitten season one for the ages. So we went into triage mode. Our notes from the clinic were dire.

CPAW NJ A5 – Medical visit. Received Strongid, Clavamox, fluid therapy, ophthalmic ointment.

CPAW NJ B1 – Feral Package. Seems pretty blind, if not completely.

CPAW NJ B2 – Feral Package. Convenia & fluid therapy. WAS PREGNANT. Collapsed right eye, cleaned up today. Can hold this cat to see if enucleation is needed after antibiotic course of 7-10 days.

CPAW NJ B3 – Feral Package. Convenia. Healing wound left side of face.

And so on. This was going to be a project for the ages.

During the week, the caregiver exercised a process we call Trap Training, in which a trap is zip tied open and cats learn to eat in the trap. This practice makes the cat more comfortable so that when trapping day comes, they don’t suspect a thing.

Our volunteers visited weekend after weekend. It became clear that the cats were also eating elsewhere. Although we spoke to neighbors, we were unable to identify the other feeder(s). Whenever there is more than one person feeding outdoor cats, the cats are more difficult to trap. We require caregivers to withhold food for 24 hours before volunteers trap so that cats are hungry and the bait in the trap catches their interest. But if the house next door is feeding, the cats will just move on to the next available food bowl. Nevertheless, we persisted.

When the project was complete, we had TNR’d 6 adults. 7 kittens were rescued, including 2 who were adopted by CPAW NJ volunteers! After months of fostering, Sylvio became a permanent member of Trapper Jen’s family. Community cat caregiver and CPAW NJ trapper Erich adopted Tilly, who is sweet as pie.

There is no doubt that quick action on this project saved numerous lives and we are so proud of our volunteers Jen, Kylie and Addie who spent many hours at the site.

Please donate $12 today so that we can continue spaying cats like the ones trapped at this location and help prevent kittens from being born outside. And if you’re feeding outdoor cats, don’t wait until you see kittens to ask for help! Click that “Get Help Here” button today.