Rescued cats ready for adoption
Ramona’s Fund For Animals Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (FFAWRC) continues working with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help feral cats rescued from the Channel Islands.
As reported in the Ramona Sentinel on Aug. 20, the wildlife rehabilitation center in Ramona added 54 feral cats to the roster of critters cared for at the sanctuary. The cats, rescued from San Nicolas Island, the outermost of the Channel Islands—about 60 miles off the Southern California coast—were transported to the center at 18740 Highland Valley Road as part of an ongoing operation headed by HSUS.
According to the humane society, 100 to 200 cats were living on San Nicolas. The island provides nesting habitat for several native birds and other threatened species, including the island fox unique to San Nicolas and the island night lizard, and the cats were threatening the stability of the native species,
The U.S. Navy has been using the island as a missile telemetry site since the 1950s. Part of the agreement for the use of San Nicolas is to restore the island to its original habitat, said Jane Hendron, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the cat posed a threat to that agreement.
Rescue efforts continue on behalf of the feral cats as a special agreement between the humane society and the U. S. government.
“They are still trapping cats,” said Chuck Traisi, center manager, explaining “we are not allowed to accept cats off the streets. Special permits had to be obtained in order for the San Nicolas cats to be brought here.”
The animal sanctuary houses predatory animals of various species. If people began taking domestic animals to the center, said Traisi, it is possible a disease could be passed to the rest of the wild population with devastating effects.
Since the island cats cannot be returned to the wild, Hurricane and Poway Fence Company built a 4,000-square-foot permanent—and escape proof—enclosure for the rescued cats. Built around a stand of trees, the enclosure provides a natural environment with varied climbing options, shelter and a safe place to await loving, permanent homes.
“As the cats become used to people, many of them need to find special owners who will care for them the rest of their lives,” said Traisi.
An application process needs to be followed to meet the criteria set by the government.
“We have several kittens available for adoption now, and a few of the adults can be placed as well,” said Traisi.
Traisi stressed that the center does not allow drop-in visitations to the site.
“Appointments need to be made in order to view the available cats,” he said. “Typically, someone needs to call us in order to get an application from us to adopt any of the cats. Our licensure does not allow us to open the gates in order to just let people come in to look around.”
Veterinarian Shayda Ahkami from Poway, who gave each rescued feline a checkup, found no disease in the island cats.
“There wasn’t anything seriously wrong with any of them, disease-wise,” said Traisi. “Not one of them tested positive for leukemia. Apparently the cats began populating the island prior to the introduction of leukemia in the general population of domestic felines.”
There were mild cases of parasites, but the cats have all been treated, spayed or neutered and have a clean bill of health.
The few cats unable to be adopted due to their feral nature will be allowed to remain at the center indefinitely.
The efforts of the humane society, Fund For Animals, private and corporate donations, and financial support from DoGreatGood.com are credited with saving the cats from certain death. Until permanent homes are found for the cats and kittens, they will be free to climb, roam and sleep in sunbeams at the sanctuary.
“We’re excited to have been a part of rescuing both the cats and the native wildlife at San Nicolas Island,” said Stacy Ybarra, senior director of corporate communications at DoGreatGood.com. “We’re proud to see that we helped give the cats a second chance to live at this new habitat.”
Parties interested in opening their home to one of the cats or kittens from San Nicolas may contact the sanctuary at 760-789-2324. Advance arrangements with the center managers are required. Walkups will regrettably be turned away due to the strict guidelines that govern the center.
To donate funds in support of the animals at the center or to sponsor an “unadoptable” cat, send contributions to: Fund For Animals Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, 18740 Highland Valley Road, Ramona, CA 92065-7104.
To learn more about the center, visit www.fundwildlife.org.
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