During the summer of 2004, a small black and white female cat came looking for chipmunks in my stone wall. She hung around all summer and then one day disappeared. She reappeared a few weeks later, around Halloween, and with her two kittens, Motley, a female torti, and Mugsy, a gray and white male. They were cold and hungry, so my husband and I looked after them. They moved in under the garden shed where the mother cat hunted for baby rabbits to feed her family. Once the cat food bowls were put out, others came to eat: Bib, a black and white DLH, Benny, a DSH male cat with Holstein design, and Calico, a beautiful tricolor DLH. Motley had an older sister thought to have come from a previous litter, so we had Motley I and Motley II, totaling seven. This became our feral colony. Sadly, Motley I and II were probably hunted by coyotes.
I wanted to take care of the remaining cats, so I contacted SCFAW, Second Chance Fund for Animal Welfare. They sent a nice gentleman named Jeremy to teach me how to trap and how to take care of the cats while they were inside the traps. I attended my first FSS, Feral Spay Sunday designed for feral cats to receive neuter and spay. They also provided rabies shots, ear mite/flea treatments, and antibiotics to take care of upper respiratory infections and other ailments. Benny and Bib went to the FSS and came back happy and healthy. At the same time I was wondering, "What happened to Calico? I haven't seen her." Four weeks later she arrived with four kittens, and none of them looked like Benny or Bib. Now our feral colony increased to eight! We named the kittens Black Pearl, a male; Peach, a female; Motley III, a female; and Halo, a male (he had a gold halo around his neck like his mom).
Well, I have been trapping ever since. Now my goal is to help people and their feral colonies by stopping the numbers of cats from increasing in the Blackstone Valley, hence the name "BV • Cats." Since the start, my efforts have brought me to Worcester, Grafton, Oxford, Charlton, Sutton, Millbury, Upton, Northbridge, Whitinsville, Uxbridge, Douglas, Millville, Webster, and Dudley as well as areas in Rhode Island such as Woonsocket, and Lincoln.
I never wished to get involved with the adoption of cats, but it happened. Why? Because, as I trap, I find friendly cats, abandoned and mixed up with feral colonies for survival. Or, they are not in colonies; they are dumped by the roadside, as dogs and rabbits are as well. This recession has taken its toll on many pets that don't deserve this treatment, but, let's face it, this was happening before the recession.
The kittens on the website are either offspring of feral cats, taken at the best time for domestication, or they are kittens of female cats that became pregnant, and were discarded by their negligent owners.
What happens after I find a feral cat that has had kittens which then go to foster care? I go back and trap the mother cat and get her spayed and vaccinated. If the mother is friendly, I try to find her a home. If the cat is a male, I get him neutered and vaccinated as well. Both male and female cats need their surgery. They become better pets since they are more interested in you, the loving and compassionate owner, than the wild and crazy cat next door that has never been to the vet.
From fundraisers to foster mothers and fathers, there are 20 of us helping one another in the cause for reducing cat over-population. From Worcester to Woonsocket, and all the towns in between that make up the Blackstone Valley, we strive for cleaner, safer homes and neighborhoods so that families, felines, and others can live in harmony by providing compassionate care to friendly and feral cats and by controlling cat over-population.
All felines are vetted up to the appropriate age. Spay and neuter takes place no earlier than eight weeks of age and no later than 6 months of age. Each must have gained enough weight before surgery is considered, rabies shots at twelve weeks or older. And let's not forget the distemper shots . We begin that process too. FIV and Leukemia testing is done when it is appropriate. We want the new adoptive owner to keep the cat indoors, so that all our efforts are not in vain, and the cat stays healthy and safe.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the following vets, organizations, and businesses who have given a helping hand to BV • Cats:
Animal Care Experts, Animal Hospital of Webster, Banfield, Blackstone Valley Vet Hospital, C.J.'s, Clinton Animal Hospital, Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, Graphics Ink, Merrimac River Feline Rescue Society, Paw Planet, Pawsteps Vet Center, Second Chance Animal Shelter, Second Chance Fund for Animal Welfare, Simply Designs, Sports-Minded, Sutton Animal Hospital, The Pet Barn, Tufts, Uxbridge High School Student Council, and ARL Boston.