Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pam's New TNR Blog!

January 2014

Please visit my new blog @:

It is 2014 and I am hoping to write more frequently about my trapping adventures. Stay tuned...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pam's TNR Blog March-April 2013

March-April 2013

One highlight of recent trapping jobs was a colony I trapped along with my faithful trapping partner. It started with the free Az Humane Society clinic in early April where we met Don. He brought in 14 cats and indicated he had a LOT more to fix - an understatement. To top it off, while checking in at the clinic, one of the cats was giving birth in the trap! BTW this happens often as cats become stressed in the traps while waiting to be fixed. Often the kittens are born prematurely and do do not survive. Those kittens were lucky and went to foster with the mom cat and we began to make a plan to get the rest of the cats. Mom was later fixed and returned.

We went back the next night and caught eight more female cats with the drop-trap and made plans to do more as soon as possible. This was a desperate situation and needs help. With so many wanting assistance (because they waited too long to call and all the cats were now pregnant), we could not go back right away resulting in more kittens being born. We did another 36 cats on Dr. Kit's mobile and at N. Phoenix S/N Clinic on 4/22. After a long day at the clinic (not to mention having to aftercare 36 cats), I managed to go back to Don's that night and trapped another 16 cats for the next day. I was there after dark navigating the overwhelming hazards on the property. We got six more the next morning with the dropper and other one the following morning when releasing the second days crowd. This was a male requiring yet another round trip to S. Phoenix to release one male cat. With these seven more total of 82 cats were TNR'd at this colony.  We also rescued a total of 19 kittens for a total of 101 cats from this one colony. There are still about 10 cats left to fix so we will be back soon with the trusty drop-trap. It will be a challenged with 82 cats already fixed. 

This job clearly demonstrated that there are challenges to trapping a big colony to make sure ALL the cats are fixed. This was clearly an example of someone who waited too long to do TNR. I might mention we also fixed seven dogs belonging to residents living on property and an additional two pet cats. 

The following photos are highlights of this trapping job.

Drop-trapping at Don's

Waiting to be trapped and fixed

Great place for cats to breed and live...

It amazes me how young kittens such as this do so well and recover so quickly. These three went right to the food bowl upon release. 

This guys were hungry but are now fixed...

The importance of TNR cannot he emphasized enough. The example above is just one many more similar situations we deal with routinely. In March I did 175 cats and in April, 152 cats. This does not include the pickup,transport, release and aftercare for numerous other caregivers. The 2013 kitten season is nearly over (it is now June), and as I say every year; "it was the worst kitten season ever". Perhaps it is because we had some alternatives for rescue not available in years past. As Summer begins we are now fixing kittens and soon it will be the teenagers - ALL whose births could have been prevented if action had been taken sooner...Now the voice mails say; "I have a mother cat and kittens in my shed". 

I wish I had time to share the many other experiences and perhaps one day I will. I would like to share the experiences with the caregivers, not just the cats. Many are grateful and appreciative...others are demanding and think i am their personal slave. Yet somehow I keep going...It will be 10 years in November.

That know me know that I am focused on the problem and the solution. Having worked as an engineer for 26 years and solving difficult problems, I have spent a lot of time looking at the problem of "too many cats" and not enough homes for them. Recently I have concluded that stabilizing colonies is the solution, not fixing all the cats. So this is what I advocate and work on. Focusing on what I call "pods" of cats and preventing more "pods" from developing is what is needed. Preventing kittens from being born is important but it is even more important, when this cannot be prevented, to prevent new "pods" from forming. This happens when caregivers give away kittens without fixing them first. Followup is also important and a lot of time is spent on this task (i.e. making sure any new cats are fixed). It is also important to find these pods early to minimize the time and energy needed to stabilize that pod.

So what can you do? Get involved in your neighborhood working to keep your "pod under control. Think of  this concept of overlapping circles on a grid. There will always be truly feral cats out there but fed cats will ALL be spayed and neutered. It takes a serious commitment but is doable - I know because I have done it. I will close with my favorite quote about commitment and motivation: "Do or do not, there is no try" - Yoda from Star Wars

So go out there and make a difference in the lives of free-roaming cats...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pam's TNR Blog - February 2013

February 2013

Its now 2013 is a new year brings more trapping adventures! January was a busy month, trying to prevent all the kittens being born this Spring. Already, we are seeing pregnant cats and I just hope this year no kittens will be born in my vehicle while rushing to the vet to prevent the mom from giving birth. What made this January challenging was the record freezing temperatures in Arizona. Still, this did not stop me. I donned my down jacket, ear muffs and gloves and trapped nearly 150 cats last month. The largest colony was 20 cats, not counting the 35 cat colony I helped with transport and aftercare. This one required managing to trap and release several colonies I trapped and an early morning release of 28 cats!

Early morning release of 28 cats

People often ask me "how do you keep from burning out" or "how to you keep this up day after day without compensation". Well, those that know me well know that I am on a mission to solve the problem of too many homeless cats and kittens in the Phoenix area. Problems get solved by action and dedicated individuals committing 100% to the problem. I learned this having worked as an engineer for 29 years, trying to solve difficult problems, often ones that seemed unsolvable. And it works. It just takes dedicated, motivated and committed people to make a difference. I also am fortunate to have Carla Jewell of the Foundation for Homeless Cats as my friend. She and I often commiserate when one or both of us feels like giving up in frustration. Then we march forward with even more energy and devotion to the cause...Thanks you Carla for your support.

I sometimes take the time to visit colonies I have TNR'd and visiting caregivers to see how the cats are doing. This also gives me motivation to keep going. Most tell me they have fewer cats now and have had no kittens. So we are making a difference, one cat at a time. The photo below if of some cats in a colony I TNR'd several years ago behind a business I frequent. They hid in the business next door and come out at night to eat.

These cats are fixed!!

So far I have TNR'd 58 cats in February. Tomorrow morning I'll be out trapping 12 cats behind a community clinic in the hood. Tomorrow night I'll be out trapping 20 cats in a colony in or AHS targeted zip code. Both will be challenging as they are not residences but open areas behind businesses. I might mention we fixed 120 cats at the AHS free clinic last Thursday. Thank you AHS for your commitment to TNR. These monthly clinics have helped so many cats and caregivers in need. 

And, we have fixed 100,000 free-roaming cats since the beginning of AzCATs in 1999! Over 15,000 of these cats were done through ADLA's Spay Neuter Hotline in 2012...Thank you SNH for keeping the TNR program going in Maricopa County!

So what do I do when not trapping cats. Below are some examples. I spend a lot of time with my cat Priscilla. Priscilla is the reason I started doing TNR. She was a rescued "feral" in 2003 who inspired me to prevent more of her (although I privately wish I had a dozen of her!). She also inspired me to start the Priscilla Fund, a charitable foundation I use to help spay and neuter feral cats for those in need. I also do volunteer archeology for the Tonto National Forest love books, especially audio books (I can trap and read at the same time).  So when people tell me you need to "get a life", I say "I already have one". Volunteering really makes a difference so if trapping feral cats is not your thing, there are plenty of other rewarding opportunities.

The lovely Priscilla on her perch

If you are thinking of volunteering to trap cats, be prepared to spend a lot of money, especially on gas and car maintenance. Be prepared to do a lot of driving and making multiple trips to the vet. Your vehicle will stink and you will have to apologize to your car mechanic for the smell. Mine knows to expect it... although I no longer smell it. My 2005 Honda Element has 160,000 miles on it and I just purchased new tires (again) and new engine mounts installed (too many alleys and apartment parking lots). The back seats have never been installed. This year I plan on purchasing an even bigger vehicle as the Element only holds 28 traps. Chose the largest you can afford that is fuel efficient. Logistical and problem solving skills are helpful as anything can happen while trapping cats...Patience if helpful.

If you are feeding a colony of feral cats, please spay and neuter them. You can call or email the Hotline @: 602-265-7729 (SPAY) or

Feel free to email me with questions about cat management or trapping:

We CAN prevent homeless cats and kittens and it is not too late to begin being part of the solution. Spread the word - help is available and you can help. It "all starts with you". 

Happy trapping!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pam's TNR Blog - December 2012

December 2012

December is ticking away and I am still trying to meet or exceed my 2,200 cat goal for 2012. As of last week the number cats TNR'd by me in 2012 was 2,087 in 2012 (9,910 cats from 2008 on). This coming week I'll be trapping every night to try to reach my goal. With the holidays coming, it becomes more difficult to keep up the pace. And, Suzie has been out of commission as her truck has been in the shop for nearly a month being fixed. So I am pretty much on my own. Audio books really help since it seems I am driving ALL the time trapping and going too and from the vet.

There have been so many rewarding trapping experiences this past year. It is difficult to chose the most memorable. However, one from November stands out as exceptional. It was a colony of 58 cats in the 85051 target zip code. This is one of the zip codes the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is funding to help reduce the number of cat turn-ins at their shelter. There were 27 males and 26 females in this colony. This means 26 female cats will not be having kittens next year. All the cats were trapped over a two night period.

The setting for this colony was idyllic. It was a several acre historic property nestled within the city and surrounded by housing developments. The historic house and garage were adobe and the grounds were perfectly suited for a colony of feral cats. I'd driven by this place many times thinking "there must be feral cats there". I had hesitated driving is as there was a long tree-lined driveway leading up to the house and I had no idea what might be waiting for me at the end of the driveway!

Since 58 cats was too big for my Element, I had the help of two ace trappers, Sheri and Andrea. Actually it was Sheri who had discovered this colony thanks to Toni at Citizen's for North Phoenix Strays (CNPS). Toni often gets calls from caregivers looking for help finding homes for cats and kittens. Since many are feral cats that are not adoptable, she refers caregivers to me if they are in need of TNR and these folks desperately needed out help. So many do not know about TNR and become frustrated wondering just what to do. Of course when I hear there may be 60 cats to be fixed, I immediately become anxious to get there and fix 'em. These caregivers' prayers were answered when we showed up to help them. This photo, taken as the first two traps were set, says it all:

We trapped for a Sunday clinic at the North Phoenix Spay Neuter Clinic. This was carefully planned as we were not sure how many the kind Dr. would do. We trapped 50 cats the first night and five more showed up from other caregivers. And, thanks to the Dr. and his wonderful hard working staff, they managed to fix all 55 cats that day in additional to their regular appointments! So I had 50 cats in the garage for aftercare that night and Sheri and I also went back with the trusty drop-trap to finish the job. Not only did we have to cats to trap and get to the clinic the next day but we'd have 50 cats to aftercare and to release the next morning. We had eight more cats in the next day including the ones trapped over night. Sheri was at my place before six AM to pick up cats to release. The photo below shows traps being lined up as we trapped the first night:

The photo below is of Sheri releasing one of the first 50 cats the next morning. As you can see it was still dark out.

The next photo shows some eight, happy, fixed kittens that were released the following day. Notice that great looking ear-tip.

After picking up the last eight cats that night I had another trapping job for 12 cats that turned in to 26 cats over the next two nights. That next Saturday I trapped 21 more cats making the total for the week of 105 cats. What made this more remarkable was that all of these cats were trapped the week of Thanksgiving...As most of my fellow trappers know, the holidays do not stop my trapping. Cats know nothing about holidays and continue to breed. Although November is not kitten season, it arrives in March of the next year. Thankfully, these 105 cats in the metro Phoenix area will no longer be part of the breeding cycle.  

Thanks go out to ADLA and the AHS for making it possible to continue and expand TNR in our community. TNR has proven to be the most humane and effective method of stabilizing free-roaming cat populations. When I became involved with TNR in 2003, I had no idea 10 years later there would be such awareness and and interest in TNR. It truly has made a difference in my life and in the lives of free-roaming, primarily feral, cats in the metro Phoenix area. Please spread the word - help is available. Call the Hotline for information and assistance with TNR: 602-265-7729 (SPAY)

Happy holidays and happy trapping!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pam's TNR Blog - October/November 2012

October/November 2012

It's November 8th and I have already TNR'd 1900 cats in 2012. Octoberer was especially busy and included the 100 cat AHS clinic on the 2nd and Dr. Kit's Mobile Vet clinic for 100+ ferals on the 17th. Already in November we had the yard sale raising nearly $4,000 for feral cat S/N and another 100 cat clinic @ the AHS on Nobember 6th. Dr. Kit will be hosting another feral day on November 12th. And, the North Phoenix S/N Clinic is now open on Saturday's and Sunday's often doing 40+ feral cats. Thanks to the support of the AHS and PetSmart Charities we continue to trap in the the nine target zip codes in Phoenix where all surgeries are free!

The most memorable trapping in October was a colony of 38 cats. Suzie helped and we caught ALL the cats over two nights. Below is a photo of the hungry cats as we set the first trap. Thank goodness these cats will not be reproducing this Spring!

Trapping Nirvana!
I trapped 18 cats from two different caregivers for the AHS clinic. The next day I had 15 cats in, 14 from another colony and one from a second night trapping. A second night trapping brought in another four cats for the next day fro that colony plus six more cats from two colonies I'd trapping before. Turned out that I trapped every night that week for a total of 46 cats!
The mobile clinic on the 17th was challenging. We ended up with too many cats and had to take seven cats to another clinic and 14 cats had to be fixed the next day. Thank you Dr. Kit for doing so many cats for us for FREE! We the help of my fellow trapper Janice, we were able to get 21 cats in from a centeal Phoenix neighborhood. Janice had seen the a "free kittens" sign driving by and convinced the caregiver to at least let us fix the kittens before they were given away. See below. We are still working to get the caregiver's eight dogs spayed and neutered through the MCACC voucher program.
Free Kittens - Now Fixed!
The following photo is of Dr. Kit's Mobile Vet clinic parked @ the church.  To schedule an appointment for cost S/N @ Dr. Kit's clinic call; 602-909-5383.
Dr. Kit's Mobile Vet Clinic
The annual Harry Bartel Memorial Yard sale too place on November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. We collected stuff from more than 40 individuals and had an enormous amount of stuff donated by My Sister's Closet, a local upscale resale store and a downtown Glendale gift shop. Thanks go out to My Sister's Closet, Cottage Garden, and all the volunteers and donors who helped make this sale the most profitable ever! We raised nearly $4,000 to help homeless cats...Below is a photo of Suzie's vehicle packed with cats, empty traps and donated yard sale items. Suzie is sure happy she purchased her Ford Transit Connect that can carry up to 50 cats.
After a week in Florida (enjoying the effects of Hurricane Sandy) I've already trapped over 40 cats and it is only November 8th. The AHS clinic this week was a great success. We had 26 cats too many and had to take them to another clinic.Today I am busy planning the mobile for 70 cats on the 12th.
I'd like to personally thank all the yard sale contributors and especially the caregivers who fixed their cats this month. Special thanks go our to Marie and her neighbor who finally allowed me to trap and fix their 34 cats. I had visited Marie and left notes for her numerous times and she did not call me because she was afraid I would not bring the cats back. 
If you need assistance with feral cats please call the Spay Neuter Hotline @: 602-265-7729 (SPAY). TNR is the most humane and effective method of stabilizing free-roaming cat populations.




Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pam's TNR Blog - September 2012

September 2012

It's been a hot summer! Despite the heat, I managed to TNR 800 cats since May. The largest colony exceeded 50 cats and the smallest was just one cat. The coolers ran all summer in the garage often housing up to 30 or more cats overnight. The difficult part about summer as cats have to be housed somewhere cool after they are trapped.

Often, trappers have to run the A/C in the car while trapping as there is no place to put the cats after they are trapped. Steel raps retain heat and the stress of the cat causes them to easily overheat. And, all cats then have to be unloaded in the garage to stay overnight before going to the vet - yet another lifting step. Still, there are clinics to fill and cats needing to be trapped before having kittens in the Spring. Alas it is cooler now and a trappers job becomes so much easier.

Trapping is rewarding but challenging. There is a lot of lifting involved, but often caregivers can be difficult and demanding, making the job even more challenging. It is expensive too. A few expenses include gas, car repairs, bait, tape, paper towels, tarps, cooler expenses, aftercare food and no compensation! Still, those of us that trap are compulsive about this odd obsession. Below is a photo of cats being after cared in my garage this summer.

The good news is the Spay Neuter Hotline now have clinics available nearly seven days a week. Also, the PetSmart Charities grant was expanded until 2013 and recently added two adjacent zip codes. And, the Arizona Humane Society began funding TNR in six zip codes in Phoenix. Now there are far more caregivers needing assistance we can help in a timely manner.
Also, a recent bequest and some donations are allowing us to help those in financial need who we could not help before.

Right now there are caregivers in Buckeye needing help and no one out that way to help them. And, in some cases there simply is not enough time or vet appointments to help everyone. Still, with Suzie's help and that of others such as Carla and Grant, we hope to eventually get to everyone.

If you are interested in becoming a trapper, contact the Spay Neuter Hotline @: 602-265-7729 (SPAY)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pam's TNR Blog - May 2012

May 2012

It is already July and I found out I had never finished this blog I started in May! Here goes:

We have been very busy this year with the free Humane Society clinics for 100 feral cats once month. To get 100 cats to these clinics, about 130 cats need to be scheduled. Of course every spot must be filled so Suzie and I usually swing into action. The photo below is of us checking in a colony of 28 cats Suzie trapped at a mobile home park in the W. Valley for the AHS clinic on 30 April. These were the result of a second night trapping from Saturday's clinic where we had in 23 cats for a total of 51 cats at this park. I also trapped 23 cats for the 30 April clinic and eight cats for the following day for a total of 31 cats in this colony! A total of 82 cats TNR'd in five days. Most importantly, there will be no more kittens born in these colonies.

Suzie and I checking in cats @ the AHS on 30 April 2012

You may be wondering how we keep going with all this trapping, transporting, lifting etc. Consider that between us we lifted about 10,000 lbs in TNR'ing 82 cats. This includes about six lifting steps with from 13-20 lbs of either traps or traps with cats in them (say an average of 15 lbs). This is five tons of weight being lifted to TNR 82 cats! Multiply this my the number of cats I TNR per year (2,200 cats) and this excludes the extra two to four lifting steps for aftercare and storage in the warm summer and cool winter months and this comes up to about (15 X 6 X 2,200 = 180,000 lbs or 90 tons of cats and traps. None of this includes the trap washing lifting steps that require even more tonnage of equipment

Let's also consider the $400.00 I spent in gas along in April and all the tuna, bleach, detergent, tarps, aftercare food and now in May the swamp cooler running the the garage and its maintenance (thank you Grant). How about the phone calls that start at 5:00 AM and end at about 9:00 PM... 

Well, why do I do this? I do it because there are too many cats and not enough homes for them. Most who love cats already have too many cats (like myself). We are trying to solve a problem that is epidemic in Maricopa County. How much easier it would be if people fixed their cats...I realize many cannot afford to and cats just "find them". Those that know me know I am a champion of personal responsibility yet I work daily with those abdicating their Ms (that's a philisophical argument for another blog). Most want "someone else" to fix their problem like taking the cats away or finding homes for them. Still it is like putting acid on a wound but I continue to punish myself in hopes that someday free-roaming cats being fed will ALL be fixed. Some ask...what are you trying to prove? My answer is nothing. I just someday want to be able to justify purchasing my beloved prurebred Singapura cat - without feeling guilty!

I wanted to write about last month's AHS clinic because it required dealing with many more caregivers and driving all over town trying to fill the clinic. However, even though I wrote it all down, when I looked at the list it all was a blur months later. I often feel like "if it is Tuesday it's Belgium". Where have I been? Where were these cats? I can hardly remember. I do know I was @ 24th St. and Indian School in Phoenx than @ 48th Ave and Glendale - all in the same night. I also remember having about 60+ cats in the garage that night. I do remember taking this photo of Suzie with her neice Kristin at last month's (April's) AHS clinic - loading cats into her truck. There were kittens from two litters too and Suzie fostered them...

Enough of rambling from my soapbox. The photo below is a one I took while while recently trapping with Carla at an apartment complex and trailer park. We trapped about 40 cats. This is the quintesential photo of where we spend at lot of time trapping. Not sure if you can see the sign in this photo but it says "please do not throw trash on the ground". Cats love trash and this was the perfect place for them - a magnet for feral cats. I can picture them living in this couch - perhaps even having kittens inside! When I am looking for free-roaming cats, I often look in such places. I remember the last day of 2008 trying to break the yearly goal, I went to the trusty coach down on Indian School Rd. to get more cats - always a sure thing.

I've been doing this since 2004. As I drive by areas of town I now see LOTs of places I've been over the last eight years and I see ear-tipped cats. I also get calls from or stop by previous caregivers I've helped and the number of cats has diminished substantially. Many have died which saddens me. Yesterday, I stopped by to visit one elderly gentleman and he was down to about six cats - and we had fixed over 20 cats there. This tells me TNR works!

So what can you do to help me make my job easier? Encourage people to fix their cats. Recommend trap-neuter-return (TNR) for cats they might be feeding outside. If they need help, offer to help them or donate for them if they do not have any money. Spread the word in your "sphere of influence" about the importance of spay and neuter. Facebook is a good place to start.

To help with the Hotline's TNR program in Maricopa County, AZ...please call us @: 602-265-7729 (SPAY)

Thanks for your continued support.