The Bottom Line
- Like many, we began our TNR cat rescue efforts by accident. Concerned with their welfare and happiness, one thing led to another. From custom cages to cat trees to KCRs (kitty comfort rooms) and now Kitty City, the end is not yet in sight.
- Though we began with a TNR (trap-neuter-release) mentality, we quickly fell in love with our rescues and began constructing a world that we could inhabit together.
- After the first few rescues, we began to notice a direct relationship between our rescue efforts and the quality of our lives. Believe it or not, within a week of each (and every) rescue, the heavens opened and showered us with unexpected blessings.
- Having long since reached the capacity of our secret sanctuary, we now strive to make the lives of our cats more interesting and rewarding, with the ultimate goal of providing them a career track. Sounds silly, but if we can get them real jobs, then all cats will immediately become valuable; more will be rescued and fewer will be abandoned by their capricious caretakers.
- Caring for cats (or any animal) is extremely rewarding.
- Cats are famous for reducing stress.
- Cats are extremely entertaining.
- We’ve learned much about treating medical issues.
- Cat care is time-consuming and increasingly expensive.
- Losing a pet is a heartbreaking but inevitable occurrence.
- Our custom 6’x3’x18″ cages cost about $200 each.
- Our custom KCRs (kitty comfort rooms) cost about $100 each.
- The new Kitty City Catwalk cost about $1000 (and worth every penny).
- Like it or not, we are all responsible for the care of the earth and its creatures. Regardless of our abilities and resources, we must do the best we can. Far from an expensive and tiresome chore, our secret sanctuary has proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives, especially in this increasingly chaotic and impersonal world.
Three Mousketeers 102614
Rescued as kittens from a northern California dump zone for unwanted pets in 2014, Andy, Sandy, and Mandy are the survivors of a litter of five (we were too late to save their two siblings). Sandy, the runt of the litter was the first to enter the large trap that we constructed especially for this type of rescue.
Placed in an adjacent compartment of the structure, his presence helped to lure his brothers into the trap. Mandy-Dandy arrived the next day and was trapped while attempting to join Sandy. Frightened by the sudden closing of the door of the trap, Mandy-Dandy launched his body at the door and busted out, much to our surprise. He returned the next day in search of Sandy, and again walked through the door of the trap. This time, when the door closed, Mandy-Dandy was safely inside. Thinking him to be a female, we named him Mandy. Upon later discovering his true identity, we named him Dandy. Both names stuck and he became Mandy-Dandy.
Andy, the shy one of the group would come by every day and, keeping a safe distance, would cry loudly for the brothers that he deeply missed. After almost a week, he ventured through the door of the trap and was caught.
Brought inside the house, Mandy cried for a week and peed on the furniture. The bravest of the bunch, he eventually quieted down and allowed us to pet him from time to time.
Sandy became friendly over time but then suddenly reverted to an aloof disposition. We have not been able to pet him since the exodus to Florida (some three months later). Andy has never been friendly, and we have never been able to pet him. Read more about the adventures of the Three Mouseketeers in The Exodus (coming soon!).
The Saga of Stinky Joe 2014
Mister JB, an aged tenant, could not say no when his grand-daughter delivered two rescue kittens (Moe and Joe) to his dilapidated pint-sized trailer.
Struggling with loneliness, one-leggedness, and a leaky roof that rarely kept the rain out, JB could barely take care of himself, let alone the new kittens. I know, because I patched his roof and repaired the incessant plumbing leaks, and I chased down the groceries that often went missing immediately after delivery to his unsteady doorstep.
Unwilling to keep the kitties imprisoned in the tiny coach (and unable to maintain the litter box), JB would let Moe and Joe roam outside for hours at a time. Moe was promptly killed by a speeding vehicle (sigh). I know, because I buried the little guy. A few weeks later, JB went in for heart surgery. My wife and I volunteered to care for Joe in JB’s absence. But, when JB returned home weeks later, we refused to return his kitty. Why? Because Stinky Joe (nicknamed for an unfortunate accident) proved to be such a wonderful little friend that we fell in love him! Needless to say, JB was ok with the surprise adoption.
Unfortunately, JB’s grand-daughter soon arrived with another pair of rescue kittens. Sadly, a few months later, JB’s tiny trailer exploded in a giant fireball and JB (and his furry friends) were gone forever (sigh!).
Stinky Joe was only the beginning. We went on to establish a secret sanctuary in our neighborhood. We learned how to never say no (and mean it), how to make kitty burritos (at medication time), and more. We even began development on a remote capture cage for a TNR program (but then it rained!).
And we’re not alone. There are many secret sanctuaries out there, working diligently with little assistance and few resources, but completely dedicated to the welfare of our furry friends. We salute them all!
Grumpy in the Sink 022618
Grumpy and Stinky Contemplate Nature 022618
Goodbye Little Miracle 030218
The report came in the evening; a small cat scared up a tree by dogs. We set a trap and waited. Next morning, I discovered her in the neighbors yard, alive, scared, but injured and unable to move. She’d been shot by a squirrel hunter in the neighborhood. I rushed her to Milton Animal Hospital but the prognosis was poor. This little kitty would never see the sun again.
I made a decision to end her suffering and I said a heartfelt prayer. I named her Little Miracle to reflect the empathy she invoked in myself and all who cared for her in that fateful hour. Many are the ways to say goodbye, but all are woefully inadequate when it comes to expressing our grief. Maybe it’s best to simply say, I’ll see you in the morning, my magnificent friend…
Kitty Comfort Rooms (No Waiting) 022618
Constructed from plastic storage tubs, our new Kitty Comfort Rooms (shown above) take traditional litter boxes to the next level. The actual litter box goes inside the large tub. A smaller tub provides a front entrance, and another provides a rear entrance (for shaking the litter of their paws). A plastic strap (shown above right) threaded through the front and rear tubs (and looped around the large tub) holds everything together (loosely). Easy to clean and maintain, KCRs provide the privacy needed for the discerning kitties of your colony.
At the heart of the system is the Easy Sift Tray (shown above and below). Constructed of galvanized flashing, wire screen and small nuts and bolts, the tray itself takes about thirty minutes to build. The dump chute in one corner makes it fast and easy to use. You’ll need two identical plastic tubs–one to hold the litter and the other to act as a spare.
How it works: Fill the Easy Sift Tray with cat litter and place it in the large tub of the KCR. Place the lid on top and come back in a few hours. To clean: Open the lid and lift out the tray, shaking it slightly to help the litter to pass through the bottom screen. Then, tilt the tray to one side and use the chute to dump the poo into your refuse bin. Then place the tray in the spare plastic tub. Dump the litter from the original plastic tub into the tray, and then place the spare tub back into the KCR. Note: Clay litter is heavy, so don’t fill the tub more than an inch or so deep. That’s it!
BFFs: Lumpy and Scruffy 060318
Kitty Lunch 091718
Cute Cats Photos 100118
Scruffy Napping 091718
Scruffy is currently accepting contract engagements as a nap consultant (he’s one of the best in the world).
“Crook” and “Tuffy” Join Kitty City 102819
Our Thanksgiving gift this year came a friend at work. “Crook”, the mother kitty is about 9 months old. Her baby “Tuffy” is only about three months old. Both were needing a forever home before Winter set in. Working together with our friend, we were able to add both kitties to our colony. Both have been absolute blessings!
Illustrious Author Joins Tech Team (Salvadore “Scruffy”Popodopolous)
The Tech Team is proud to announce the newest member of our group. Shown here in deep concentration while contemplating superior strategies for advancing the consistency of our support documentation, Salvadore “Scruffÿ’ Popodopolous graduated at the top of his class at Catatonic Tech.
Renowned for an unparalleled ability to meditate, Scruffy has been known to lapse into an introspective state without warning. We hope to learn a lot from his example!
Hello Princess! 030520
We spotted her at night on the front porch cam. We’ve learned that a hungry kitty will roam until it finds food. If it has a home, it usually eats there, and typically stays close. A kitty with a home will not stray far (it’s dangerous out there!). If you put out a bowl of food, a kitty with a home will sample your fare, but that’s about it. A homeless kitty, on the other hand, will gobble it down.
This kitty gobbled it down.
We asked around but none of our neighbors could identify our new friend, so we fed her for three nights, and scheduled a vet appointment. Then we set up the trap. Trapping is never pleasant, but it can surely save a cat’s life. And trapping can be a bit tricky. It’s important that a trap operates smoothly and reliably (you seldom get a second chance!). Kittens should never be trapped (too dangerous!). You need to get a cover on the trap immediately after it’s sprung (to minimize stress), and you need to get to the vet as quickly as possible after trapping (also to minimize stress). Cats are susceptible to stress and must be kept as calm as possible.
We stayed up late and trapped her at 3am, then transported her to the vet at 7am. After the appointment we brought her home and placed her in a segregation cage for two weeks. It takes a few days to understand a “new” cats temperment. It can take several weeks to get a “new” kitty accustomed to an established colony.
We named her “Princess” She’s about four years old and a bit scruffy. We think she had a good home at one time (because she’d already been spayed). We’re not sure why she was turned out, but she now has a new home with us.
A word about ear-notching: Cats that roam are often shot (by neighbors) as a form of population control. I know because I’ve buried too many of them. These shooters will often spare the life of a cat with a notched ear. Thus, if a cat roams at all, ear-notching can save it’s life…
“Blackie”—Our Silent Friend 030520
Rescued as a kitten (in August 2017) from a dangerous neighborhood, Blackie has grown into an unusually quiet and gentle member of the colony. Although he doesn’t purr, he stops by for attention about three times a week, after which he naps nearby for a half-hour or so. And then he goes on his way—silently.
He never played as a kitten. He doesn’t talk. He avoids the more aggressive members of the sanctuary (especially the indomitable Maggie Smith and her Terrible Torty Triplets). He doesn’t shed. He never gets fleas. He doesn’t beg at mealtime. He never makes a mess. He never gets tangled in the wiring in the office. He doesn’t dive onto keyboards from the bookshelf.
His supreme situational sense helps him to steer clear of the spontaneous pandemonium that sometimes erupts without warning.
In short, he’s the most silent and inconspicuous little friend that we’ve ever encountered.
Maggie’s Family 030520
Abandoned in 2016, a tiny teacup (Maggie) found herself starving and pregnant. She gave birth to three female torties and one “panther” male (Tiny Tim, the runt of the bunch).
An elderly couple named Smith discovered their plight and began to set out food. The ravenous babies became highly aggressive, with the exception of Tiny Tim, who remained sweet because Maggie and the Torties always made sure he had food.
The Smiths called us in and helped with the trapping. The first time we saw Maggie, she followed us around, crying as loud as she could, her babies crying from under the hood of a nearby abandoned vehicle.
Maggie needed extensive treatment, including a bladder operation, and remained in isolation for weeks before joining the colony. Tiny Tim was easy to tame and has the sweetest nature imaginable. The Terrible Tortie Trio, on the other hand, became Dennis-the-Menace times four (if you include the leader of the gang—Maggie) and promptly got into every mischief imaginable, and drove the older cats (in the colony) crazy for the next year or so.
At one point, we had to move two of the older cats (Princess and Sheba) into the garage to provide them with a peaceful environment. Tux, the undisputed leader of the colony (weighing in at twenty+ pounds) worked hard to educate the gang, and his tireless efforts eventually paid off. We still hear an unexpected hissy fit from time to time when Maggie or the girls get up to their old tricks, but by and large, the landscape has mellowed greatly at least until Crook and Tuff showed up (that’s another story).
Having touched our hearts deeply, Maggie’s family brought us to a full examination of our commitment to the Kitty Kingdom, and how to make decisions regarding their welfare. There are plenty of times when we walk on by, ignoring the cries and the furry little faces that appear along our paths, assured only by the knowledge that we’re doing our part to the best of (and often exceeding) our abilities.
Social Distancing 040320
Delivery Day 040420
Delivery day is like Christmas—with plenty of new boxes and packing paper to play with.
Purrli—The Internet has a Cat 040720
The sound of a purring cat is one of the most comforting sounds available and can help soothe and calm you down when you’re feeling stressed. Naturally, it’s not just the sound that is important, but it’s also the presence of the warm cuddly cat. Purrli tries to recreate both the sound and the presence of your very own virtual cat through a custom sound engine modelled after real purrs. Click the button below to hear it for yourself:
Blue Bottle Flea Control Treatment (for Dogs and Cats) 040920
If you don’t mind using an eyedropper to administer flea medicine, then you can save lots of money with Blue Bottle Flea Control Treatment. For our cats, the cost of each dose is less than $2 each! We’ve been using it for years and it has proved very effective.
Long Days in the Office 040920
Social Distancing Fail 060320
Kitty City Raw Materials 070820
Currently stacked in the living room to appraise the colony’s reaction, these white plastic barrels will be repurposed to construct Kitty City Towers. Each “tower” will contain up to ten condo and multi-purpose units. Connected by aerial walkways, ramps, and climbing posts, the towers will be reconfigurable to keep kitty life as interesting as possible. Unfortunately, initial indications have not been favorable. It seems the kitties are not very interested in slippery plastic surfaces: They much prefer the coarse rope and carpet textures of their existing “trees” and “platforms”, which undergo daily clawing, napping, and ripping & shredding contests. Stay tuned!
Grumpy Loves Long Beans 070820
Scruffy in Chicken Flavor Box 070820
Scruffy Wakes Up 071920
Goodbye Bandit 110320
9:30pm: Bandit coughs and drops to the floor, apparently suffering from a heart-attack. I rushed in and stroked his fur. Beyond hope, I commended him to the Lord. If heaven is a place without tears, then it must surely be a place where we can be with Bandit again. A dear, sweet friend for seven years, we will miss him terribly. We are not like the heathen who have no hope and thus we will not cry over his passing. Instead, we will rest assured that he is in the hands of the Lord and this surety gives us great comfort. After all, where would we be without such a wonderful hope? We’ll see you in the morning, Bandit!
Kitty City Catwalk 120321
Featuring reconfigurable modules and multiple doorways to the house (including an insulated entry shown at left above), the Kitty City Catwalk helps to keep squirrels out of the garden.
- The lower module (level 1) is equipped with two casters to make it easy to move this unit.
- Four poles equipped with casters are stored at the left end of the middle module (level 2). These poles attach to lifting studs on levels 2 and 3, as needed, to move these modules.
- Filled with concrete blocks and compost, the white barrel at the right end of the unit serves to anchor the top module (level 3).
- Although not connected to the house at any point, the left end of the middle module rests on the windowsill. The remainder of the weight of the middle module is borne by the bottom module.
- All modules are constructed from off-the-shelf parts: 1″ galvanized steel pipe and fittings (typically used for chain-link fencing), 2″x4″ metal fencing, and 1/4″ metal fabric. Custom caster boots were fashioned from PVC sockets and stainless-steel washers.
The residents of Kitty City enjoy the new Catwalk at all hours of the day and night.
Shift change: Scruffy and Fluffy nap through their shift on the top level of the catwalk. Grumpy, on level 3 is preparing to take over, while Grumpy and Tux (on level 2) enjoy their breaks.
Squirrels aren’t afraid of cats, but they prefer to stay clear of them. Cats, being intensely aware of their surroundings, immediately adopt a predatory stance that frightens the squirrels into keeping to the trees where they belong.
Constructed from a 4″x4″ post base (rotated so that one wing sits beneath a paver and the opposite wing is bolted to the cage frame) and a 6″ stainless-steel bolt, the paver anchor at the left end of the bottom module (level 1) keeps the unit from moving around. Note the solar hot water heater on the roof of the house.
A Lexan panel provides rain protection for the window to the house (left). The Catwalk can be extended by adding new bolt-on modules. An upcoming extension will wrap around the corner of the house.
Cameras and sensors provide security. Kitty City has proved so popular (for us and our friends) that we are considering extending the security system to support an online channel.