THE "FREE-ROAMING" PRESS
Massachusetts Animal Friendly License Plate Now Available!
The Massachusetts Animal Friendly License Plate has been introduced to help end the tragedy of pet overpopulation. When you purchase a Massachusetts Animal Friendly license plate, you will be telling your community that you care about animals! By purchasing this license plate, you will be contributing to a statewide program that will directly benefit Massachusetts animals. Click on the license plate to learn more!
merville lies one of CRA’s oldest managed feral cat colonies. Over ten years ago, we received a report of a colony of about 20 cats being fed by a kind resident of a housing development run by the Somerville Housing Authority. CRA worked withthe Housing Authority to educate the residents of the development about feral and homeless cats and about the spay/neuter project we were going to undertake. CRA worked with the colony feeder to trap the cats, provide pre- and post-op care, and transport them to and from the vet. We found that some of the cats living in the colony were friendly, and we found homes for these cats. After all the feral cats were sterilized and returned to the colony, we maintained ongoing communication with the colony caretaker. Periodically, new cats would arrive in the colony and the caretaker would alert us so that we could help.
This June, CRA received a call from the newest feeder of the colony asking for assistance wi
th some new cats there. The new arrivals were humanely trapped and were awaiting spay/neuter when we discovered that one of the cats was friendly. But there was something noticeably strange about this cat. The caretaker noticed odd behavior; the cat never reacted to loud noises, and she would only walk alongside the walls. When she was brought to the vet the next day, the reason for her strange behavior was discovered - she was not only blind, but also deaf! “Keller” surely would not have survived on the street. Keller was extremely friendly and she and her caretaker fell in love. Keller now resides happily inside with her caretaker and fur-siblings in Somerville.
By, Jessica Lachey, Volunteer Reporter
Harvard School of Public Health’s
CAT-astrophic Problem Solved
One of Harvard School of Public Health's main core values is “improving and protecting the health of all populations, especially the most vulnerable of these-children, the elderly, the poor, and the underserved.” HSPA was also concerned with the health of their feral cat population that was quickly growing in the area. After noticing the cats and kittens over the past couple years the School of Public Health decided it was time to help.
They reached out to CRA in order to start to control their colony. They thought the idea of TNR “was really fantastic news for the health and well-being of their little cat kingdom.” Not only did they take the initiative to make change, but they started to collect donations for CRA in order to pay for altering and vaccinating the cats. CRA received over $400 dollars worth of donations.
CRA appreciates all the donations received and are always happy to lend a hand in making a difference, one neighborhood at a time.
By: Jessica Lachey, Volunteer Reporter
CRA Assists Fort Hill Residents with Feral Felines
Click here to read Jonas Prang's blog entry about a collaboration with Charles River Alleycats to TNR feral cats in his neighborhood and to socialize and place three feral kittens.
Professional Photographer Gives Homeless Kitties a Boost
Lisa Tang Liu, principal, Pigmentia Photography, has donated her time and talent to showcase homeless cats and kittens in her beautiful photos. See the fabulous pictures here.
Kitty It’s Cold Outside
It is part of our duty as colony caretakers for our friendly ferals to make sure they have a warm bed during those long, cold winter months. On Saturday, December 21st for our first ever Shelter Building Party a group of volunteers gathered with donated pizza and snacks to get to work!
With donations from Home Depot Stores around the Greater Boston Area, items from volunteers, and the Melrose Recycling Center, Charles River Alleycats was able to collect an estimated $200 dollars worth of supplies. In just two hours the group had created five shelters for our colonies that were distributed before the end of the year.
We still have some supplies to make more shelters, so if any caretakers need one for your colony please contact us.
By, Jessica Lachey, Volunteer Reporter
Lobstah's Lucky Break
Judy, the Barn and Herd Manager at The Bridge Center is no stranger to feral cats. The center has four. Milo, Buddy, JuJuBee and Toby. Sometimes it takes a village to find a secure home for a feral cat,and even then there are no guarantees things will work out. Lobstah is such a cat.
All we know is that he was living at a bird sanctuary on the Cape. But since Birds and cats don’t mix well he was trapped and brought to the MSPCA. The magic happened when MSPCA contacted CRA for Lobstah’s alternatives. Letting him loose would be a death sentence but feral cats are not adoptable from any shelter.
Laura, Director of Operations, was contacted by MSPCA. Lucky Lobstah got a break when Stephanie, a CRA volunteer, found a solution. She knew of a horse farm that had a few ferals in their barns. She told Laura about Judy Johnson and The Bridge Center, an organization that provides children, teens and adults with special needs the opportunities to build social, emotional, & physical skills so they may participate fully in their communities.
They took in Lobstah and he was kept separated for about five weeks so he could transition to his new home. Without the five week transition period he would probably just run off and get lost.
“When we released Lobstah, it was a quiet Sunday with no one in the barn but me and a working student. He spent the entire day with us - hanging around his open cage and the breezeway area,” Judy said.
The next morning, they didn’t see him and walked around the 20 acres of trails and woods hoping to catch a glimpse of him. The staff was very sad when they still didn’t see him for the next few weeks. It was about a month later when he was spotted on top of a hill and looked like the final scene of a movie.
“I still recall the moment I heard that Lobstah had been sighted,”Judy said happily.
“A volunteer came in to say she saw a cat and they didn’t think it was Milo. The staff was all on high alert. Then a few days later, I heard the little squeak of a meow – and spotted him atop the hay pile watching me.” JuJuBee was talking and wandering about too so Judy grabbed a can of mackerel and dished it out.
Lobstah has stuck around since and has even ventured into the barn more. He chases dragonflies now and still loves to pounce on moving hay strings. “I can get as close of two feet to him now but that is it. I usually just sit quietly while he eats and I talk to him.”
Carin O'Connor, Volunteer Reporter