Testimonies from the Trenches

Webmaster's note: I'm posting this, unedited, as it appeared in POPPA's Fall 2005 newsletter , although I'm tempted to make corrections.  You see, Mrs. Feger was telling me about what a relief it was now, after just a few visits of the Oregon Neutermobile, compared to what they'd gone through so many years with the feral cats on their property, and I said "Write that down for us!"  But what she wrote gave me too much credit and didn't say enough about how her feral colony was afterwards.  Or what really amazed me, that before the Oregon Neutermobile came to Coos County, she'd never heard of Trap-Neuter-Return.

Every time I get frustrated by what an overwhelming task it is to make a difference for animals here in Lane County, I try to remember the little successes, like these.

--Lisa Wahl

The Feger Felines

Our story with feral cats started back in the year of 1986.  My husband Gary and I moved to a place in Sumner to start our life together and raise a family.   Never did we imagine dealing with a colony of feral cats.

It must have been the summer because our windows were opened.  Gary was outside barbecuing and the smell was going through the neighborhood.  Before long I heard the loud meow of a cat.  I knew it wasn’t our inside cat, so after dinner I threw the scraps to the outside cat and Gary said, “You shouldn’t do that.”  Well as time went on I noticed 2 cats.  After talking to our neighbors we found out that some neighbors had moved out and left their animals behind.  The cats started having kittens and over time we had upwards of 30 cats.

One day I decided to call the humane society.  They said if we could catch the cats they would take them (note from POPPA to readers: many shelters will ‘take’ all cats, but the ones who are not 100% tame, such as the ones in this story, are put to sleep).  So Gary got a big box and decided to catch as many as he could.  We put some food down and while they were eating Gary grabbed them by the back of their neck and I would open the lid and he threw them in.  After getting a couple in the box, they were going nuts and Gary’s arms looked like hamburger.  He decided this wasn’t going to work.

Nobody told us about live traps.  More time went on and our kids were growing up.  They started naming the cats and it would tear my heart out whenever one would die.  We would put them in a shoe box along with a toy and we would have a burial for them.  We could not afford the cost of getting them fixed or curing their disease.  So the problem went on.

One day at the mall they had a feral cat neuter awareness day [booth.  I called the number they gave me] and spoke to a lady by the name of Lisa Wahl.  She was kind enough to loan us several traps for a small fee and worked with us to get as many cats done as possible.  We captured 9 cats and had them all fixed.  The next day we caught 9 more cats and had them fixed, and were able to adopt out 2 of the kittens.  My husband had a shed and called it the kitty hotel [for the post-op cats to recover before being let back out].  Over the next 2 day period he caught the last 5 cats.

It was with great relief and appreciation for all the volunteers, vets and vet techs who made this happen for us that we opened the trap door for the last, fixed, male cat and released him back into the colony with the rest of the fixed cats.  We especially want to thank Lisa Wahl for all her hard work!  THANK YOU! 

The Fegers