[Vision2020] Caturday (June 11, 2023)
thansen at moscow.com
Sat Jun 11 05:27:14 PDT 2022
"Those kittens are alive today because of a little girl's bravery and determination not to stand by and allow cruelty." Welcome to Caturday.
Courtesy of Patch Everything (Bel Air, Maryland) at:
Kids Drowning Kittens Stopped By 9-Year-Old Rescuer
Following her mother's example, a Port Richey youngster who stopped bullies from drowning kittens hopes to launch a cat rescue organization.
PORT RICHEY, FL — A 9-year-old Port Richey girl hopes to one day start her own nonprofit cat rescue after experiencing the satisfaction of helping to save two kittens from drowning at the hands of neighborhood bullies.
On April 24, Olivia Rippeon accompanied her mother, Sheri White, to a nearby apartment complex where White had a job cleaning.
While her mom worked, Olivia said she stepped outside to watch some TikTok videos on her mom's cell phone. It was then that she saw some neighborhood kids, around her age, acting strangely.
She sidled closer to see what they were doing.
"I saw them messing with some kittens. It looked like they were dunking them in water," Olivia said. She realized the three kids were drowning the kittens.
Just then, her mom came out to put some trash in the dumpster, and Olivia shared her suspicions.
"We went over there," White said. "She ran, I walked. Sure enough, the kids were putting the kittens in a container of water. Four were already dead, but two were still alive. I told the kids to hand the kittens over to me."
Olivia said one of the boys confessed that the kittens belonged to his grandmother's cat.
As Olivia cuddled the two surviving kittens, she and her mom sought out the apartment manager and learned that the kids' parents weren't on the premises.
Olivia and her mom volunteer with Tip My Ear TNR & Rescue, a Port Richey-based nonprofit cat rescue. As a result, the 9-year-old was already aware that kittens shouldn't be separated from their mothers.
But White said her daughter refused to leave the two surviving kittens behind, knowing they might be harmed by the kids, who lacked adult supervision.
Olivia and her mom turned the frightened, helpless kittens over to Pasco County Animal Services and reported how the kids had already killed four kittens. Law enforcement later spoke with the parents about their children's cruelty as a result of their lack of supervision.
"After hearing so many sad stories, it was so nice to hear about Olivia's heroic actions," said Ruth Pennington, who started Tip My Ear TNR & Rescue with her friend, Sharon Scheiblein. "Olivia's mom has rescued and found homes for so many kittens in her neighborhood. Because of her example, her kids are growing up to be loving and compassionate. Those kittens are alive today because of a little girl's bravery and determination not to stand by and allow cruelty."
After the experience of saving the kittens and seeing the services that Pennington and her mom perform, Olivia hopes to one day start her own shelter for unwanted cats.
"I would like to open a place where the cats won't be sad or cold or hungry, and where I can help them find a family," Olivia said. "My thought is always be kind to all cats."
Ironically, White said she'd always been a dog person until the family moved from Maryland to Port Richey two years ago. That's when she happened to find a 3-week-old kitten abandoned in the middle of the road.
She brought the kitten home, and he's been their family house cat ever since.
"After adopting Roman, I began to notice there were a lot of stray cats in our neighborhood," White said.
Her concern about the growing cat colonies in Port Richey led White to contact Pennington.
Pennington said she and Scheiblein started their nonprofit when they also began to notice the growing number of stray cats in the area.
She said scores of stray cats were being left behind when residents moved away.
Just two weeks ago, Tip My Ear was alerted about a tenant who had abandoned eight to 10 indoor cats. When Tip My Ear volunteers investigated, they found the cats with no food or water, some painfully thin. Some had severe skin infections due to flea bites.
Other people are purposely abandoning cats and kittens they no longer want.
The same week Tip My Ear was notified about the abandoned cats, Pennington said they received a call about a litter of kittens that were dumped in a wooded area.
Volunteers arrived to find four very sick kittens and two more that were already dead.
"People just dump cats like they're garbage," Pennington said. "If someone dumped a dog like that, they'd be arrested. But society takes a different view of dumping cats. I get two or three calls a day from people reporting seeing people dump kittens out of car windows as they're driving down U.S. 19."
Some people, she said, have resorted to drowning and shooting cats.
"It's so sad," Pennington said. "These cats are only out there due to the irresponsibility of humans. They deserve to live their lives. And there are resources for people who no longer want their cats without resorting to cruelty because they think that's their only option."
Appalled at the treatment of the cats, Pennington started her "trap, neuter and release" program in November 2000 and eventually obtained federal nonprofit status.
With the support of Pasco Animal Services, Tip My Ear TNR has established a network of rescue groups willing to foster kittens and domesticated cats that Tip My Ear's volunteers trap.
Additionally, Tip My Ear veterinary clinics in four counties that are willing to spay and neuter cats for $10 each, as well as donate services to treat sick and injured cats that Tip My Ear traps.
Using a practice approved by the Humane Society of the United States and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Tip My Ear has the cats spayed or neutered and then returns them to their cat colonies without the ability to breed.
Pennington shows her volunteers how to use humane traps to capture the cats to be neutered or spayed. She also instructs them on maintaining cat colonies, including providing food and fresh water to the cats, and keeping an eye out for cats that are sick or injured.
White and Olivia manage a feral cat colony in their mobile home park that currently has 40 to 50 cats.
It won't be long, however, before the size of the colony decreases, Pennington said. Without the ability to breed, she said it doesn't take long for the number of feral cats in a colony to dwindle due to age, illness and natural predators such as coyotes and hawks.
"We call it naturally downsizing," she said. "I've been managing one colony that went from 17 to two cats in less than six months after TNR."
By contrast, if allowed to breed, a female cat can give birth up to four times a year, producing an average of four kittens per litter. One unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 36 more cats in 16 months.
Photos . . .
Ruth Pennington said she regularly receives calls about kittens being thrown out of car windows along U.S. 19. (Tip My Ear)
Tip My Ear rescued a cat that was found stuck in a fence. The cat's leg had to be amputated but he's now available for adoption.
“Caturday” by Linus Petit
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.”
- Roy E. Stolworthy
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