Planned Feralhood promotes the humane care of West Marin feral cats through its well established trap/neuter/return/feed & monitor program.
There are times when a feral cat cannot be returned to its location for reasons of illness, refusal of property or business owners to allow for a feeding station, or endangerment to its life or well being. Planned Feralhood provides sanctuary or finds a new location for cats in these situations.
A tame cat or kittens that can be fostered and tamed will be put into an adoption program. A stray cat will be brought into safekeeping until it can be established if the cat has an owner, and if not, and the cat is adoptable, will be put into an adoption program.
Every single cat that goes through our program receives a commitment of lifelong care. This includes food and veterinary care when necessary, sick care, hospice care, and burial.
These services and sanctuary are provided at the home of Planned Feralhood’s founder and executive director, Kathy Runnion. The cats in sanctuary are provided with a home setting with outdoor access within enclosures connected to the house where outbuildings and shelters are provided. This provides for the safety of the cats and the wildlife.
Kathy provides home care for the sanctuary cats, buys and delivers food to caretakers of the feral colonies, transports sick cats to the veterinary clinic, provides sick care and hospice care, facilitates the TNR (trap/neuter/return) program, and educates the community about the humane care of feral cats.
Planned Feralhood was founded in August 2002 in response to a burgeoning explosion of feral cats and kittens in Point Reyes Station, Ca.
Kathy saw an announcement in the local paper that asked if there was anyone who could help with the cats and kittens behind the Café Reyes. She took a lunch break from her Post Office job on the patio of the Café, and to her surprise saw a mother cat bound out of the shrubs with a litter of kittens pouncing behind.
Mother cat told her kittens to stay then came to the patio seeking food. Kathy fed her chicken from her salad, and when she had her fill, Kathy watched as with mouth full of chicken she trotted back to the shrubs and gave the food to her kittens.
That was the beginning. Kathy came to learn that the cat’s name was Queenie Mum and she had a feeder named Joyce. Workers at the café would give her food after closing. Kathy researched with other rescue organizations and found a mentor for the trap/neuter/return program named Jan. Jan gave Kathy her first trap. Kathy placed an ad in the paper and asked for like minded people to gather at the Café. A nice group arrived and we set upon our program. The Point Reyes Veterinary Hospital would perform the surgeries in conjunction with a low cost program offered by the Marin Humane Society.
Our first donation was a $100 bill which we gave straight to the vet. Our first day of trapping was like hitting the jack pot in Las Vegas and we overwhelmed the clinic which was just across the street. We quickly learned that we needed to pace ourselves with respect to the clinic, which performed surgery on every one of the dozen cats we brought in that first day.
Once you begin to notice the feral cats you realize the immensity of the problem. Everywhere we looked around town there were cats and sickly kittens in just about every bush surrounding every business and at the edges of many neighborhoods, and the campground, etc.
Queenie Mum was on her second litter of the year. Gestation is three months… she was having two to three litters a year with five or six kittens each time. A kitten can get pregnant at six months old. When you do this math combined with ignorance about feral cats the results are beyond alarming.
We quickly realized the need to foster and socialize the feral kittens and do an adoption program and KittyBunkPort was born. We could have several different litters of kittens at a time, or a mother and her newborns. It definitely took our village of volunteers in long sleeves and long leather gloves to socialize these hissy fierce little grizzly bear kittens. Yes, we shed some blood and had to take some antibiotics, but we got the job done and ended up moving nearly 500 kittens through our adoption program into loving forever homes. We have many letters of gratitude from the adoptive families for their loving kittens.
We were fortunate to have a wonderful fiscal agent which allowed us to take in donations, which we did very successfully for several years with the help of a superb group of volunteers. Our community embraced our work and was very thankful for it. Even the environmental groups including bird and wildlife groups were impressed with our accomplishments, which diminished the feral cat population, stopped the production of kittens, and created a balanced and holistic environment for cats, wildlife, and human beings.
Planned Feralhood received a “Neighborhood Achievement Award” which included a check for $5000.00 from the Marin Community Foundation in 2003. We were recognized by Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey with a check for $600.00 in 2004, and the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that encouraged support of Planned Feralhood’s trap/neuter/return program and acknowledged our work in 2003. The Point Reyes Station Village Association and Chamber of Commerce have supported our work. The Marin Humane Society provides us a no cost voucher program for feral cats at our local Point Reyes Animal Hospital.
It is vital that feral cat colonies are fed and monitored. This is the only way to insure that newly abandoned , stray, or roaming un-neutered house cats do not begin reproducing and escalating the population again. Planned Feralhood feeders and volunteers know if a new cat appears, and can then trap, evaluate, and take care of the animal.
Planned Feralhood has proven results on the success of its trap/neuter/return/ feed & monitor program. No kittens have been born in any of our target areas for the last seven years. All our feral cat colonies are living out their lives in their separate locations, and over time as they pass away, the population continues to diminish. What began as hundreds of sickly feral cats and kittens everywhere are now small individual healthy groups who are cared for and go mostly unseen by the community.
We will remain committed to this holistic and humane method of feral cat care. Why? Because a human community needs to take care of its animal community