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Starost: 60Pridružen: 10. avg 2004Prispevkov: 210Kraj: Ljubljana/MariborStatus:Offline
Objavljeno: 27. nov 2006 18:39
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Tole pisanje svoje prijateljice, je z nami javno delila ameriška vzrediteljica in je danes zvečer prijadralo na eno od maling list, katerih član sem.
Sem sicer razmišljala ali naj tole delim z vami, se mi je pa zdelo zanimivo branje zato ga kopiram.
Morda se bo porodila kakšna ideja, komentar ...

Simona


************

Sent: Saturday, November 25, 2006 9:52 AM

Subject: Re: culture shock (cat culture in Montana) - long

....

I **** had one of the greatest days of my life....
I ve been out here almost three weeks and ALMOST done unpacking......its a huge house, and I write this to you from my loft, looking out the A-frame windows at the mountains and the deer. It s stunning and I am full of joy.

Anyway, I m not working yet, but thought I d better at least volunteer at something so I start meeting some people here. I found out there was a spay/neuter clinic being held in town today, called yesterday to volunteer, and was told to show up at the Park Country Fairgrounds at 8 a.m.
I brought a book in case it was too boring, and already had a few excuses in mind if I wanted to leave by noon to watch football.

Well.........turned out to be one of the best days of my life.
In this small community of 7000, more than THREE HUNDRED volunteers showed up. No nut job cat ladies (LOL - know what I mean, those small rescue groups often dominated by several crazy cat ladies?) ...the nicest folks, grandparents and grandchildren and men and women. Dozens of volunteers **** staffing the kitchen, homemade baked goods plus every restaurant in Livingston rotated delivering l00+ meals each hour - free to volunteers and "owners", although we drafted most of the waiting "owners" to work too. **** everything.......even McDonalds sent over l00 Big Macs and fries, and the local office supply place donated cases and cases of sodas. I must have eaten 4000 calories, every time I turned around there was something else "intriguing"!
The clinic was FREE, and I mean free....they are very direct in asking people who can afford to neuter their own pets to do so, and leave this for the others. They don t even ask for donations.
People were showing up in vans or pick up trucks with ten or twelve cats in traps......this is a primarily rural community, some of them have had those cats trapped in their barns for a week **** to get them here.
More than 3/4 of the cats admitted were ferals, and about 75% of those were females.
Interestingly....more than half were longhairs. Only three were polydactlys.

We had seventeen tail-less or bobtail- looking cats (not sure of genetics of that, but thought it odd we had so many tail-less cats)
ALL........and I mean ALL, whether ferals or pets, were outdoor cats. We saw only ONE cat with mats, despite the high percentage of longhairs.
We saw ZERO evidence of fleas. We saw NO ticks.
And of all those females, not a single one was pregnant already. Not ONE. Was pretty shocking to me how the outdoor life influences these cats...our indoor cats would ALL be pregnant if given the opportunity...... l00% of these cats were in sync with nature, and won t go into heat until right before warm weather arrives. Interesting.
I only met one person all day who had indoor only cats.
The largest two cats we came across, that had everyone oohing and aahing, were only l3-l4 lbs (and of course, both were identified as Maine Coon mixes.....and I found it interesting that not another single cat was identified as anything else but "mix"). Saw not a single purebred cat. To my amusement, every stray brought in was firmly labeled "FERREL!" in big red letters on the top of its info sheet. I thought someone should have pointed out it was spelled "feral" to the admitting persons, but a moot point.

What an assembly line. The final count was 160 cats neutered in a 9 hour period, 3 vets working nonstop. The traps, pillowcases, beat up carriers, and dog crates kept coming in the front door. Someone got the basic info on an admission form. Two extremely brave souls spent the entire day in a bathroom, extricating the cats from containers, sedating them, then sending them back out the door in black sacks. You cannot imagine the horrific noises that came from that bathroom. The black sacks were unceremoniously tossed out the door. A vet tech grabbed the sack as soon as it stopped moving, dumped the cat onto a concave tray, and handed it off to one of two volunteers who shaved either the belly or the scrotum. Another person tossed the cat on a scale, recorded it, put Puralube in its eyes, and handed it off to a runner, who brought it across the cafeteria to my "INPUT" table. My job (I acquired a staff during the day LOL) was to then run masking tape around the cat, pulling front arms over its head and back legs down for a spay, and trussing the back legs up like a turkey for the neuters.......the table, with all these cats lined up, passed out, and taped to their trays, looked like a science experiment gone amuck.

The vet techs would then come in turn, grab a cat on its tray (we all started to feel like waitresses halfway thru the day), and bring it to a table about ten feet away.........right in the middle of the cafeteria, rigged with a bright light and an anesthesia machine. Runners kept coming in with "cat packs" of surgical instruments that they were sterilizing in the other room.

Honest to god, it took exactly 30 seconds to neuter the males, under 5 minutes for most of the spays, and this was conducted right smack in the middle of the cafeteria, everyone welcome to wander in and lean on the table and watch.....
and I have to say, the most exquisite stitching I?ve ever seen. Then the vet techs would return the cat-on-tray to me, I d clean up the incision and mark it with a dark green permanent ink (if female) to "tattoo" it (so if ever captured again, you could tell it was spayed) - and while they were expressing the bladders of all females prior to surgery, they didn t do the same to the males......so every (expletive deleted) male peed himself, whole male pee, during the surgery and I d do my best to mop it up a bit (but I had to carry the cat eventually....... I got home tonight and my dogs think I m incredibly fascinating due to the huge variety of scent attached to me....and my dark green tattoo stained shirt marks). So then, I pulled off the tape, picked up the cat and his/her paperwork, and headed off to the ten long tables, with

200 volunteers seated, awaiting a kitty.......we had the ferals separated from pets......all volunteers were set up with bedding to wrap the cat up in, and young boys were running the aisles with socks, filled with rice, microwaved, to serve as warmers......and these volunteers would then spend 30 minutes to 2 hours rubbing and petting the cat until it awoke fully and could be safely placed in its carrier. (Another interesting thing to me was that 100% of the cats awoke calmly and smoothly........
I haven t had such consistently calm reactions in my own cats waking up from surgery).
Another group of young girls were the "detectives", looking at the paperwork for each cat and going off to find the related carriers...with l00% success.

Tragically, and for the first time in their history, we lost a cat today.
I had handed off a four month old pretty brown tail-less Mac tabby w/w girl to a young volunteer. She was a feral. An hour later, I was passing by when an adult asked me to look at the cat......they thought something was odd, as the kitten had peed copiously about ten minutes before and was still pretty unresponsive........I took a quick look at the kitten and ran for a vet, with dread....I thought she was already dead and that was the case. The poor young volunteer didn t realize she had stopped breathing, and I can understand that.......the kitten didn t look much different than the other sedated cats around her, and the blankets disguised that her chest wasn t rising and falling. The vet came running, and took the cat right back to the table.......it was a pretty tough time while every adult in the room directed their attention to that table, hoping for good news........the young girl who d been handling the cat was with the vet, **** devastated.........all three vets spent twenty minutes trying to bring that cat back, to their credit, while the rest of us quietly hoped and prayed. But most of us knew, the cat was gone when they noticed it, and finally the vets gave up.....and immediately took the young girl off to another room to reassure her, and then did an onsite necropsy, which revealed the kitten had had pneumonia in one lung.
It was a sad time........but handled with dignity and respect by all.


I had to be super careful about distributing the cats, the group was worried that if each volunteer didn t feel needed, they might not participate the next time, so I was constantly being asked to detour and hand off a cat to someone not feeling properly "needed" - it was pretty funny.
It was absolutely extraordinary, incredibly effective, and I was SO impressed with the efforts of all these people, in this small community. And I was kind of afraid that my background as a breeder would be looked upon badly, but the opposite was true - people had lots of questions, and the shelter can t wait for me to get in there and assign their cats the much fancier (and correct) color descriptions for their cats. LOL,
I had people coming up to me with a completely sedated cat drooping out of their arms and saying "what color is this?" and were DELIGHTED to discover it wasn t simply a grey tabby, but a dilute patched tabby with white, or something else that sounded far more exotic.
I loved my job, since I got to see and handle each and every cat. The two cats everyone kept coming to see were the two largest - as I said, only 13-14 lbs, both identified as MC mixes, one a blue tabby who arrived in a squeeze trap (with a dense luxurious and nonmatted coat) , and the other a lynx pointed domestic longhair with four white feet - hey, what genetics lurk there?? LOL - and (again) nterestingly, everyone seemed to know that the ONE chocolate colored kitten was special and unusual.

No vaccinations, no testing, and only notching of ears if specifically requested, but there wasn t time for that.
One of the shelter volunteers told me that they do this three times a year, and started three years ago........and this year, about half of the cat cages at the shelter are empty, while they were overrun four years ago, so it?s working in terms of population control. The rest will come later. But even the *pets* had never had shots, it wasn t **** the ferals. And again, "indoors only" not even a concept.

And I met tons of great people, and I m already assigned to walk in the Christmas parade in town....apparently, for EVERY parade, EVERY dog in the shelter gets a walker and participates.
I saw the shelter on Friday and it?s wonderful and clean and no-kill and has a very high adoption rate. I ll be there as soon as I get back from Boulder CO after Thanksgiving. They love the idea that I am good at birthin babies and socializing kittens and have such great equipment to foster and raise kittens.

Odd, in an area that is adamantly pro-hunting, anti-wolf, anti-mountain lion, anti-bison.....this level of devotion to the strays is really impressive.

I know on the other side of the building, they neutered 30-40 dogs, but didn t get a chance to check that out.

Anyway, home and exhausted and my feet are KILLING me (sounds like a cat show weekend!) and exhilarated.....they roughly estimate that the 160 cats neutered today will prevent more than l0,000 cats being born in the next two years. Makes you feel pretty good about the day s effort.
Came home and looked at my cats and thought about how lucky they have always been............and how lucky I am that I ve already found my niche here.

One of my favorite tangents is that the newspaper invited me to judge the 4Hause cat show this summer........oh, those kids are going to get a real surprise in the quality of ribbons they receive this year LOL! I have ten boxes of rosettes **** looking for a new home!

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