Latest News Items:
Lulu Finds Her Purrfect Home! -- Friday October 4th, 2019
We received this great update today from Lulu's mom and we wanted to share it with all of you!
Brought this little girl into my heart ❤️ the first time I laid eyes on her. Cindy, from TANK’s inc. cat rescue, asked me to meet her at the vet so I could meet a Persian cat in need of a home. I was hesitant. I already was owned by a rescued Persian male and I didn’t know how they would get along.
One look at the cat and I was totally smitten. I named her Lulu on the spot and promised her right then that she would be forever safe.
She spent the first few weeks in my guest bathroom recouping from a URI and some other issues. She was scared but slowly came around. Adopting Lulu was one of the best things I’ve done. No regrets!!
Thanks Cindy McCollough at TANK’s inc. rescue for all you do and for bringing Lulu and me together ❤️
Landings Residents Establish Model TNVR Program for Feral Cats -- Friday September 20th, 2019
A special thank you to Nancy Ferraro and The Landings for sharing this article about the program in their community! Well done!!!
Landings Residents Establish Model TNVR Program for Feral Cats
By Nancy Ferraro
It’s nighttime in the Landings. You are out for a walk on Starling Drive or driving home from a dinner party. Suddenly, your headlights catch the phosphorescent gleam of an animal’s eyes. Is it a raccoon or a possum? Perhaps, but just as likely, you’re seeing one of The Landings’ feral cats – cats that belong to all of us and none of us. Once they spy you, they may give you a curious look, but then they scurry into the underbrush or slink around the corner of a building. They don’t want to meet you or hurt you.
For several years, Patricia Decker, Landings South IV, and George Khuen-Kryk, Landings South VII, have tirelessly and compassionately maintained a program to manage the feral cat population in their neighborhood. Their efforts have gone a long way to keeping the numbers of these cats contained, and as a bonus, keeping down our population of unwanted rodents.
What Exactly are Feral Cats?
Feral cats have never known human contact. A feral cat is typically born in the wild or outdoors with little to no human interaction. They can rarely be domesticated enough to become pets. They may tolerate some petting once they get used to the person who feeds their colony, but generally cannot be picked up and held. They are distinguished from stray cats which are pets that have been lost or abandoned and are used to people and touch. Unlike a cat who has been raised with humans, feral cats do not raise their tails in friendly hello, but usually carry their tails down and slightly hunch their backs.
Humans who have abandoned and discarded their pets, leaving them to fend for themselves are the cause of the problem. Their abandoned cats multiply, and ultimately give birth to feral kittens. Most are ill-equipped to survive, and if they do, their lives aren't easy without human caretakers. Females may become pregnant as young as 5 months of age and may have two to three litters a year. Within less than a year and a half, one cat can bear 36 kitties or more.
Being pregnant so young and so often, and having and nursing kittens, is even more stressful on female cats who are struggling to survive. More than half of the kittens are likely to die without human intervention. Unneutered males roam and fight to find mates and defend their territories.
Feral cats are a nation-wide epidemic. It is estimated there are more then 69 million feral cats nation-wide. In Sarasota County alone it is estimated there are 60,000-80,000 feral cats. In The Landings you can see them around Heron, Pintail, Starling, the Carriage Houses, and the Tree Houses to mention a few.
Managing a Feral Cat Community
Managed feral cat colonies are a distinct advantage to their communities. First, they keep unneutered ferals from moving into the area. To move or displace managed colonies only opens the door for new feral cats to move in. And the new ones that move in will be more of a nuisance since they are not neutered and will have fights as they seek to mate. Managed colonies keep away vermin. Uninformed opponents of managed colonies who argue that ferals are despoiling their walkways or patios simply show their ignorance of cat behavior since cats cover their waste in order to not attract predators. It's a matter of survival. Droppings in open spaces are more likely to be from raccoons or possums.
The humane approach to addressing community cat populations known as “TNVR” works. The acronym stands for (T)rap, (N)euter, (V)accinate and (R)eturn to the colony and this is the approach used here by George and Patricia. Locally several organizations, including Cat Depot, Animal Rescue Coalition, and Buddy's Feral Cat Program in conjunction with Ashton Animal Clinic provide advice, guidance, traps and free spay/neuter. Once a colony has been neutered it will no longer continue to multiply and will eventually die out, for feral cats have short lives compared to the indoor, domestic cat. (see Cat Depot website http://www.catdepot.org/rescue/maintain-a-colony.aspx.) Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return is a non-lethal strategy to reduce the number of feral cats and improve the quality of life for cats, birds, wildlife, and people.
Eartipping is the universal sign of an altered feral cat. When the cat is sedated for the spay or neuter surgery, a quarter of an inch is removed from the tip of the left ear in a straight line cut. The procedure is swift and painless and healing is rapid. A tipped ear lets you easily recognize a feral cat that has already been neutered.
The Landings Program
In 2007 Karin Friend Dempsy wrote an article in the Eagle alerting residents about the growing feral cat issue in the Tree House area alerting residents of the growing problem.
Then, several years ago, in response to the growing population of ferals and explosion of kitten births in the Starling area, Patricia and George embarked on a tireless effort to manage the feral cats in their neighborhood by implementing TNVR. Eventually and through compassion and perseverance they were able to trap and neuter the feral cats in their neighborhood and establish a model TNVR program right here in the Landings. This task was no simple matter. Under Sarasota County Code, Sec. 14-41, people who are recognized as caring for a feral cat colony are responsible for providing food, water, medical care and if possible shelter on a regular basis and maintain a record of the number of cats in the colony and monitor the cats’ health. Under the County Ordinance, the Animal Services Director has the power to maintain a TNVR program, but given the scarce finances, it’s much better if local residents can do it. The ordinance uses the word "humane" throughout.
It took time, patience and effort but George and Patricia finally did it. The cats in their colony keep out unneutered ferals that will have territorial fights. George continues to maintain the peaceful colony and is happy to share information about setting up a TNVR program in their area.
If you would like to set up a TNVR program in your Sarasota community please feel free to contact any of these resources:
Cat Depot 366-2404
Animal Rescue Coalition 957-1955
Ashton Animal Clinic http://ashtonanimalclinic.com/services/feral-cat-program.html
Ear Tipping -- Friday September 20th, 2019
Spay and Neuter -- Friday September 20th, 2019
Donations will change a life! -- Friday September 20th, 2019
Meet our little pal Star. He is around four weeks old and he arrived at TANKS with a fractured pelvis. A very special thank you to our friends at West Coast Veterinary for seeing him urgently. He has begun his road to recovery and with good crate rest and the TLC he is receiving from West Coast he should recover and lead a full life!
Please help TANKS help those who cannot help themselves and donate today to Star's medical expenses. Donations made be made through PayPal or by mail to 8466 Lockwood Ridge Road #123, Sarasota FL 34243.
We promise to keep you updated on Star and how he is doing.