by Guest Blogger Marcie Dingerson
I am the foster for three of the cats mentioned in this article: Jimmy, Sadiya, and Noctua. I’ve been fostering them for a few months (see videos of their progress), and I truly believe that Marcie’s actions saved their lives. As founder of Red Rose Animal Rescue, she has taken on the thankless task of rescuing the cats that no one else wants or is equipped to deal with. I admire her drive, and support her in finally stepping out and sharing what that work entails and what it costs. I encouraged her to tell the story of a few rescues (out of multitudes) in hope that some of that burden can be lightened by the support of others who also care. Please donate for Jimmy!—Rose De Dan
Red Rose Animal Rescue is a small, but quickly growing rescue located in Rochester, WA. Even though we have been in rescue for a few years, this Mother (Marcie) and Son (Tucker) duo team decided last year to go for its 501c3. From there things have taken off quickly.
Red Rose rescues both cats and dogs. We always seem to have a litter of puppies in the house, with or without mom, which is always fun. But most of our rescue work is cats. We take on a lot of the big cat colonies, clearing them by trapping, spaying/neutering, and releasing or barn-homing.
Recently, we took on three very large cat colonies back-to-back.
Cat Colony #1
One colony was stuck behind a six-foot fence and no one could get to them. We jumped the fence and walking the property we found deceased cats. Someone was trapping cats, killing them, and tossing them back over the fence. We deemed the cats unsafe and pulled 50+ cats off the site. We got them all fixed, some were friendly and went to a bigger rescue. Some were semi-friendly, and we cared for them until they were really friendly, and then got them adopted. Some were feral and unable to be socialized. They were fixed and placed into barn homes.
Cat Colony #2
As we were finishing up with the first colony, we received word of a second that needed help ASAP. The person who had been feeding them was moving out, and there was no one around to feed or take care of the cats. The colony was also reproducing quickly. The person who had been caring for them had reached out to many other rescues but had been told no. We said yes. Because there would be no one to feed them—and the local shelter was horrible—we decided to pull them all.
We grabbed the first 10 and came home. We sorted them, and there was a mom and her litter of kittens. Three days after they came in, we ended up in the ER with one of the kittens that I’d named Reagen. Her eye was something I’d never seen before—it happened overnight, and it needed to be removed. I borrowed the money to pay for her surgery. Reagen recovered and was doing well.
A few weeks later, Reagen had the play zoomies with her brothers—they were racing around the cat room and we clocked her at 110mph. But afterward, she couldn’t bear weight on her leg, apparently, it was broken. We tried for two days to get her into a vet facility but failed. On the third day, it was urgent, and luckily our usual vet found room for her. Her surgery was over $4500. I received donations to cover about $2000 of the cost, and our rescue borrowed the rest of the money. Reagen has since made a full recovery, but we are still making payments on her surgery.
Cat Colony #3, the Rochester Site: Jimmy, Sadiya and Noctua
The third colony was a bit different. It was a local gentleman who himself “rescued.” He would trap cats at his workplace, spay or neuter them and bring them home to live. At his highest we were told that he had 80+ cats. In his later years he stopped bringing them home, but the ones he did bring home were not fixed.
It was pure serendipity that I saw the post. It was late at night and I’m never on Facebook at that hour. There was a post asking for help. I thought long and hard about taking this massive project on, but I was the only rescue that could, and would.
I began with gathering the inside cats, coming home with 13 that first day. They were in all sorts of awful shape. From seniors horribly close to death to a litter of kittens. Things were bad, and we had to use traps in the house and the outbuildings. As the traps filled, we would bring them in for assessment. Finally, we deemed the house and outbuildings clear. I started feeding stations on the property to get the remaining outside cats used to me and got to work on the cats we had. Loads of vet visits were arranged. One cat was so bad she didn’t make it to her vet visit and had to be rushed in to be put down. Two were so bad I had to syringe feed them.
A few weeks after bringing in this group, the situation was stable, and I started to trap the outside cats. Four weeks into this project I received a call: “We think we still have a cat on the inside of the house. We put one of your traps in the house last night, can you meet us at the house this morning?” I arrived, and sure enough, four weeks after clearing the house, we had a cat in the trap. She was skinny but for the most part, looked ok. We took her home and slowly gave her small meals and quiet care and she pulled through and was doing OK.
So I continued to trap and at the five-week mark, I received another call. Yes, we pulled another cat out of the house at the five-week mark. How, how did she survive? There literally is no cat food in the house. Again, this one was skinny. But I worked it and we got her through the hard part and she was doing ok. I named her Sadiya.
Then at the six-week mark, I received yet another call. The family was cleaning the house, and they thought they saw something and believed they had the cat trapped in the back room. I arrived with traps, nets, and teenagers. We got into the back room and sure enough, we had a cat. Oh boy, was she skinny but full of energy—she hid. As we were moving things and trying to get to her we discovered the hole in the floor leading to the heating duct where she had been hiding. We set traps all over the room loaded with food, and we left for the night. I arrived the next morning and the family wanted to wait outside while I went in. We were all scared we would find a dead or nearly dead cat in the trap. I checked traps, snapping them one by one and setting them aside. I looked for the very last one buried in the corner of the room after you climbed over this and under that. There she was. I broke into tears. We got her, but this is the most skeletal cat I have ever seen in my life. I snapped a photo and sent it out to everyone involved.
The neighbor shot back a photo, proving that this was not a kitten, this was a full-sized adult who has had kittens in the past. This cat only weighed a few pounds. I thought I was taking her home to pass. But she proved me wrong. Day by day she hung on and we worked on it and she started to gain weight and do ok. The problem is she’s feral. You could not touch her. I hoped she was just scared and needed time.
Today, all three of those emaciated cats are gaining weight and doing well.
Two of them, Sadiya and Noctua, are at a foster volunteer’s home where they could receive specialized loving care. With time and patience, Sadiya is coming out of her shell and may end up being adoptable. Noctua is slowly coming around, but it is not yet clear if she will ever be happy living with people.
I had wanted to send three cats to this foster. I had a colony come in, it was small, only about 15 and I had a female I wanted this foster to tame up. But at the last minute, on a whim, I changed my mind and sent Jimmy.
Jimmy came in off the Rochester site, too. He was one of the first we took out of the house. He was very skinny and nearly naked from hair loss. I felt it was better for him to go to the foster so she could focus on his weight gain and hair growth.
Jimmy was doing OK and came out of his shell quickly and warmed right up. But then I got a call from the foster saying that he was not physically thriving like the other two. After an initial weight gain, he was losing weight. We planned a vet visit thinking that it might be thyroid issues. The results of the tests shocked us both. Jimmy had diabetes. Not only did he have diabetes he also has major dental disease. He is now on a strong antibiotic and has just begun insulin. He will need a Libres device put on him so we can monitor his numbers. Once his blood sugar is stable he will need major dental cleaning and extractions.
We Need Your Help
Red Rose Animal Rescue is a fledgling, tiny 501c3 non-profit rescue based in rural Washington (Rochester), where community cat colonies run into the hundreds of cats and are allowed to breed, unchecked as well as spread manageable diseases and infections with no end in sight. We are currently facing multiple significant vet bills ($$$), on top of our constant spay/neuter, vaccine and medical needs for our rescued kittens and adult cats.
I’m to the point where I can no longer do this alone. We are also to the point where we can no longer fund this ourselves. My family is a single household family, raising three teenage boys who are awesome at helping care for all the rescues. I am writing grants but those take time. Time is something I lack right now. I literally do rescue work from the moment I get up in the morning until I drop into bed, and I’m usually up in the middle of the night bottle-feeding orphaned kittens. So, I am casting pride away and asking for help for the sake of Jimmy and all the other animals in need.
If you would like to support Jimmy, Reagen, Noctua, and many others in need please make a donation on our GoFundMe page—any amount is welcome. Even if you can not donate right now, please share.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
You are welcome to share this article with others by email, on your blog or to your mailing list so long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. All links must remain in the article. And, you must include the copyright notice and the bio.
©2022 Rose De Dan. All Rights Reserved. www.reikishamanic.com
A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.