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Feral Kitty Nation Under New Management

A box to donate cat food for the feral project's spayed and neutered feral cats has been placed at Town Hall. The population of feral cats that live near the Swampscott Train Station was climbing and threatening to climb even higher before volunte

 

Their numbers have been tamed but not their natures though these feral cats will not bite the hand that feeds them.

Each night they emerge in groups of two or three, sometimes a skunk or possum among them. A few of the cats have paired with wild animals for companionship in their neighborhood near the Swampscott Train Station. 

The hand that feeds the colony and their friends belongs to Kai Breen of Swampscott.

She arrives late at night, every night, with $7 to $10 worth of wet and dry cat food.

Out of the darkness come the adult cats, like children to an ice cream truck, she says.  Some of the cats get so excited they roll around and rub against each other.

Most of the 21 adult cats share a family resemblance, as do their offspring, black splotches on white.

This year's kittens have been captured.

That's where this story starts.

It starts with a reproducing colony of cats that first came to the attention of Swampscott Animal Control officer Diane Treadwell about three years ago.

The cats were loud. Screaming in the night as they fought.

An elderly lady, who has since passed away, fed the cats. Neighbors complained about the noise and worried about the cats clawing children.

Local officials worried about the feral colony population exploding into a public health problem.

This past spring the animal control officer came up with a plan.

She volunteered her time, as did other volunteers, Marblehead Animal Control Officer Betsy Cruger and Kai Breen.

The Swampscott Board of Health agreed to pay for the spaying and neutering of the animals.

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital did the spaying and neutering and volunteered services including housing the animals and caring for them.

Meanwhile, the four volunteers were on the train station scene nightly over the spring and summer, counting and trapping and returning and feeding the animals.

They got permission from neighbors to locate homemade feral cat houses and feeding stations on their properties.

The cat houses are plastic tubs with holes cut in them, the lids and insides lined with insulation and carpet remnants.

The goal is to let the animals live their short lives and not reproduce.

First, in April, the four women did a head count. They lured the cats into an alley with food and took their pictures.

The volunteers named the 21 adult cats.

There is Pepe, and the professor — who hangs out with the possum. There is carjacker, who runs low to the ground.

There are Big Benjamin, Lil' Benjamin and Willow and Mickey and Rosie
and Phantom and Pretty Pretty Prince and Pretty Pretty Princess II.

There are others, too.

And the kittens. There are 14 or so. All have been trapped and most of have been adopted.

Feral kittens will take to humans, and give and receive affection. Adult ferals will keep their distance from humans, though a few have ventured close to Kai.

Diane Treadwell said it took some creativity to trap the adults — in one instance attaching a trap to a kittie carrier, with kittens inside.

The volunteers brought the adult cats to temporary adoption houses and then the vets to get them spayed and neutered and checked out.

The kittens went to the Marblehead Animal Shelter.

Two of the remaining handfull of kittens were adopted on Saturday. Tidbit and Lil'Bit. Lil'Bit was originally found under a Dunkin' Donuts bag. Hungry and dehydrated.

The feral project took time and energy.

"It's not an easy fix, it's a commitment," said the Swampscott animal control officer.

Volunteer Kai Breen continues to work nightly in the last stage of the project. Making sure the animals are fed and have water.

It is a financial hardship — she maxes out her credit card buying cat food each month —  but she has made a commitment and can't help but follow through with it.

"I hate seeing them when they are cold and scared," she said.

She also worries about the animals.

Here is a snippet from a recent email from Kai: "Well, Pretty Pretty Prince, the happy cat who ALWAYS greets my arrival with joy has been missing since the night before the new neighbor moved in."  

To help defray the cost of feeding the feral cats, the group of volunteers have placed a feral cat food donation box at Swampscott Town Hall.

It is against the wall, straight ahead, as you walk toward the Town Clerk's Office.

Food has ben a key to the project.

Sometimes, the skunks come over and eat the food, too.

The skunks do not spray the feral cats and they do not spray Kai.

The wild animals and ferals apparently appreciate the hand that feeds them. And maybe the mind that named them.

 

Here is a comprehensive list of the cat's names: 
Penelope
Professor
Smudge
Carly
Mia
Mimi
Big Benjamin
Lil' Benjamin
Willow
Mickey
Rosie
Phantom
Pretty Pretty Prince
Pretty Pretty Princess II
Kahuna (neighbor's cat, eats the feral's food but not feral)real name is Sammy.

Kittens: (*=adopted)
Rocco*
Rosa*

Speedy*
Isabella
Franco
Lombardo
Tidbit*
Lil'Bit*

5 unnamed skunks 
1 possum

If you feed the feral cats, don't you make more?
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Stray-Cat Feeders TRAIN Feral Cats To Attack Humans These cat-lovers always like to claim that feral cats run away from humans, and therefore aren't the cause of all the thousands of new rabies cases. Google for: feral cat attack rabies Don't be surprised at the numbers of search-hits you get, nor the thousands of horrendous stories that go with them. The numbers of rabies cases or required rabies shots caused by feral cats have been exponentially growing as fast as the cats breed. These cat-feeders are TRAINING these disease-infested cats to approach humans for food. And what happens when that child (or foolish adult) doesn't have food and reaches down to "pet the cute kitty" or pick it up to try to take it home? The cat lashes out and bites or scratches the hand that has no food for them. That means MANDATORY $1000+ painful rabies shots for the child (or any adult that is just as ignorant and naive). Paid for out of their OWN pockets -- because NOT ONE of these cat-feeders carries even ONE PENNY of liability insurance for the DEADLY danger they bring to their communities. Rabid cats and kittens are even being adopted direct from shelters after being illegally wild-harvested by TNR con-artists without the LEGALLY REQUIRED SIX-MONTH QUARANTINE.
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Here's how TNR lunatics have caused rabies outbreaks in many communities where this astoundingly foolish and criminally irresponsible practice has been allowed. Cats destroy all the native predators' food sources. Skunks, raccoons, and other assorted native wildlife are then driven to find new sources. They congregate around feral cat-colonies that are being fed, trying to use the food of the very animals that have starved them out. Cats' predilection to attack anything that moves will often find a rabid bat dying on the ground and use it for a play-toy. That cat, whether vaccinated or not, will then transmit that fresh rabies virus to any other animal it comes in contact with, or through fresh saliva left on the food and feeding dishes. Or any human it approaches. Rabies Outbreak Caused by TNR, 50+ Pets Euthanized, ALL Stray Cats Destroyed, More than a dozen homeowners pay for their own $1000+ rabies shots. Google for: Rabies prompts Carlsbad cat program suspension Google for: Rabies Outbreak in Westchester County Google for: Rabid Cat Adopted Wake County Google for: Rabid Kitten Jamestown Exposure There's hundreds more like those on the net showing everyone how their phenomenally ignorant and foolish lawmakers "help" their community by allowing TNR cat-hoarders to continue their criminally negligent behavior.
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Here's how these ignorant, self-serving, and uneducated TNR-advocates are destroying your planet and all life on it. The TNR CON-GAME FACT: Trap & Kill failed because cats cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control. FACT: Trap, Neuter, & Release (TNR) is an even bigger abject failure because these man-made ecological disasters cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control, and they also continue the cruelly annihilate all native wildlife (from the smallest of prey up to the top predators that are starved to death), and the cats continue to spread many deadly diseases that they carry today -- FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO VACCINES AGAINST THEM. Many of which are even listed as bioterrorism agents. (Such as Tularemia and The Plague -- Yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA. No fleas nor rats even required. The cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.)
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:44 PM
FACT: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY _NOTHING_ HUMANE ABOUT TNR. Nearly every last TNR'ed cat dies an inhumane death by road-kill, from cat and animal attacks, environmental poisons, starvation, dehydration, freezing to death, infections, parasites, etc. And if very very lucky humanely shot to death or re-trapped and drowned (the two most common methods employed on all farms and ranches to protect their gestating livestock's offspring and valuable native wildlife dying from cats' Toxoplasmosis parasites). This doesn't begin to count the thousands of defenseless native animals that cats skin alive and disembowel alive for their daily and hourly play-toys. The only difference in destroying cats immediately and humanely instead of trapping, sterilizing, then releasing them to an inhumane death; is that money isn't going into an HSUS or SPCA board-member's pocket, veterinarian's pocket, cat-food company CEO's pocket, or a drug-company CEO's pocket. And that's the ONLY difference!
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:45 PM
FACT: Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any other caused by man. Cats are even worse than an oil-spill of continent-sized proportions. They not only kill off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines from run-off carrying cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found. From smallest of prey gutted and skinned alive for cats' tortured play-toys, up to the top predators that are starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. (Precisely what cats caused on my own land not long ago.) FACT: Hunted To Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than a species like cats can exponentially out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially a man-made invasive species like these cats that can breed 2-4X's faster than any naturally occurring cat-species.
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:45 PM
FACT: In _TWELVE_YEARS_ Alley Cat ALL-LIES of NYC have only reduced feral cats in their own city by 0.08% to 0.024% (as the months go on that percentage becomes more insignificant), allowing more than 99.92% to 99.976% to exponentially breed out of control. Here's how Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES' deceptive math works: If you TNR 4 cats and 3 get flattened by cars this translates to 75% fewer feral-cats everywhere. Alley Cat ALL-LIES can't even reduce cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it. FACT: When researching over 100 of the most "successful" TNR programs worldwide, JUST ONE trapped more than 0.4%. Oregon's 50,000 TNR'ed cats (the highest rate I found) is 4.9% of all ferals in their state. Yet, by applying population growth calculus on the unsterilized 95.1% they will have trapped only 0.35% of all cats in their state sometime this year. Less than 0.4% is a far cry from the required 80%-90% to be the least bit effective.
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:46 PM
FACT: Their mythical "vacuum effect" is a 100% LIE. A study done by the Texas A&M University proved that any perceived "vacuum" is just the simple case that CATS ATTRACT CATS. Get rid of them all and there's no cats there to attract more. I proved this myself by shooting and burying hundreds of them on my own land. ZERO cats replaced them FOR 3 YEARS NOW. If you want more cats, keep even one of them around, more will find you. That university study also found that sterilized cats very poorly defend any territory. Non-sterilized cats, being more aggressive, take over the sterilized cats' resources (shelter & food if any). If there is any kind of "vacuum effect" at all, it is that sterilizing cats cause non-sterilized cats to restore the reproductive void. FACT: During all this investigation I have discovered something that is unfaltering without fail. Something that you can bet your very life on and win every last time. That being -- IF A TNR CAT-HOARDER IS TALKING THEN THEY ARE LYING. 100% guaranteed!
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:49 PM
The ONLY difference between rats and cats these days is that people who own and love pet-rats aren't severely mentally unbalanced and trying to hoard sterilized feral-rat populations on other people's public and private properties -- while also relentlessly petitioning all their lawmakers to do so. Pet-rat owners, and all other types of pet owners, at least have THEIR sh** together. If only the same were true of all these mentally-ill TNR cat-hoarders. (I still think it's their cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasites in the cat-lovers' brains that make them so unfalteringly blind to their own stupidity, hypocrisy, and absolute absurdity.)
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:56 PM
These are just the diseases they've been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, Tularemia, and Rat Bite Fever can now also be added to that list. (Links to proof of cats spreading many of these removed per post requirement. Businesses have even been ruined by some of them. Like those in Miami being shut-down due to feral-cats spreading hookworm in all the beaches there. The most surprising in my research is that people have already died from cat to human transmitted plague in the USA. Fleas and rats not even required if you have cats around. The cats themselves are carriers and spreaders of the plague. Totally disproving that oft-spewed myth about lack of cats causing the plague in Europe. Cats would have made it worse.)
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Cats' most insidious disease of all, their Toxoplasma gondii parasite they spread through their excrement into all other animals. This is how humans get it in their dinner-meats, cats roaming around stockyards and farms. This is why cats are routinely destroyed around gestating livestock or important wildlife by shooting or drowning them. So those animals won't suffer from the same things that can happen to the unborn fetus of any pregnant woman. (Miscarriages, still-births, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly.) It can kill you at any time during your life once you've been infected. It becomes a permanent lifetime parasite in your mind, killing you when your immune system becomes compromised by disease or chemo and immunosuppressive therapies. It can last over a year in any soils or waters and not even washing your hands or garden vegetables in bleach will destroy the oocysts. Contrary to cat-lovers' self-deceptive myths, a cat can become reinfected many times during its life and spread millions of oocysts each time. It's now linked to the cause of autism, schizophrenia, and brain cancers. This parasite is also killing off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines from cats' T. gondii oocysts in run-off from the land, the oocysts surviving even in saltwater.
DoItRight December 18, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite's strange life cycle is meant to infect rodents. Any rodents infected with it lose their fear of cats and are actually attracted to cat urine. (Google for: Toxoplasma gondii hijacks rodent mind) Cats attract rodents to your home with their whole slew of diseases. If you want rodents in your home keep cats outside of it to attract diseased rodents to your area. I experienced this phenomenon (as have many others), and all rodent problems disappeared after I shot and buried every last cat on my land. The time has come to destroy them all whenever spotted away from supervised confinement. There's no other solution. We have nobody but cat-lovers to thank for this health and ecological disaster. Stray-cats, the very source of all feral-cats, need to be euthanized too or you'll never be rid of the feral-cat problem.
KB December 19, 2012 at 04:58 PM
They are all getting fixed so they do not reproduce and they are also given the rabies vaccines when they are fixed. The kittens are taken to the shelter or foster care and any adults that can be socialized too. The numbers are reduced greatly and eventually the cats live out their lives and there are no more. The cats were there years before I ever took care of them and they were having tons of kittens and were not as healthy. They don't lead a glamorous life but they are much better off than they were.
KB December 19, 2012 at 05:01 PM
The people who abandon the pets who begin the feral colonies are the main problem to begin with. I didn't put the cats out there. I just do what I can to look out for them to try to keep them healthy. They'd be there with or without me.
DoItRight December 19, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Unless a cat has been quarantined for 6 months (or more) to make sure it isn't already infected with rabies (and even that is a short time period, but one agreed-upon by most lawmakers, as rabies can have a gestation period of up to 6 years in some rare cases), then a rabies shot is no guarantee that that cat can't transmit rabies later. It is already too late for a standard-issue rabies vaccine shot if they already have rabies. And the only way to test a cat for rabies is to destroy it in the process. Why are you feeding these lines of BULL to everyone (and yourself)? Are they perhaps the same lines of bull that fellow cat-lickers fed to you and you so happily swallowed?
DoItRight December 19, 2012 at 06:52 PM
You have completely missed THE WHOLE POINT of TNR. They aren't supposed to be healthy and happy. They are supposed to die of "attrition" AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The very reason that you are sterilizing them is so that they CEASE TO EXIST in a habitat WHERE THEY DO NOT BELONG. Your hypocrisy and ignorance can be summed-up in just one simple question: If you feel that these man-made invasive species cats are supposed to be out in nature, then why are you even bothering to sterilize them? Sorry, but your blatant hypocrisy, foolishness, and outright deceptions are so easy to reveal to everyone (as are they all from every last TNR advocate). Now if only you could see yourselves for what you really look like to everyone else.
G Vixay December 19, 2012 at 08:50 PM
DO IT RIGHT: You have way too much time on your hands. I appreciate the education. I have one suggestion for you: anger management.
Mo Tilly December 20, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I had no idea about the ferals at the train station until I read the article. The volunteers and Atlantic Vet are true angels for taking care them. You're right. This problem falls back to the owners. If they had a heart they would have found a home for them instead of abandoning them. I've already taken 4 in myself-3 abandoned and 1 feral. I'll be leaving some food for you in the next few days. Don't let the negative comments get to you. Hate and anger on that level is an obvious sign of some deeper serious issues. As they say on message boards, ignore the troll.
Terry Date (Editor) December 21, 2012 at 03:03 AM
DoItRight was suspended for violating the Patch terms of service.

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