Save the Cats of TribeOfMa
I often saw her hunting in my garden. A harsh harsh winter, and she looked scrawny; limping with a broken hip, and she dragged a crooked, broken tail around. What I didn't know at first: she wasn't hunting for herself - she had a litter of 4 kittens to support.
I 'rescued' all 5. They moved into an old caravan on my site, then into a little chalet I built, and now they live in my tiny house. Next followed 2 little feral torties... that's 7!
Next, somebody dumped little Newb in my yard. New Total: 8!!!
Newb arrived with a vicious form of IBS - he required a lot of veterinary attention, and relies forever
on a special diet. But he's doing well now.
When I started 'project' Ma, I had 2 jobs. I don't lead a fancy lifestyle; never have. And I thought, why should I involve an over-stretched cat rescue service. Times are tough. I can help, and they can take care of the more needy/desperate cases...
I shared 1,000s of photos on Twitter, documenting the trials and tribulations of Ma's little tribe.
The fun times, the joy, and the lessons learned. Meanwhile I donated to many worthy causes whenever and whatever I could.
Now it's my time... In October 2014 I lost one job. Then in the following January my 2nd "back-up" job went as well.
For a while I believed savings could easily bridge me over to a new job. But.... The west of Ireland is not doing so well in the so-called 'economic recovery'. I'm applying for jobs on an almost daily basis.
I've given up all luxuries - including my car, broadband etc etc... And now it's crunch time. Unfortunately, almost daily. At times I can barely feed the 'tribe'. They were all ferals and really rely on the environment they grew up in.
I could say, hey - I'm numero uno... and do what the stranger did who dumped Newb over my fence - make it somebody else's problem... But cat rescue services and SPCAs need donations, too. With me these 8, 9 - oh, oops, - 15 cats have a safe, warm and loving place in a safe but 'exciting' cat-friendly environment.
So, I'm desperate to keep them. But without support I won't be able to support them any more.
Any funds raised here will go to the tribe - cat food, medical bills, and so on. Meanwhile, I am looking for work, and at some stage I will be putting together an eBook featuring some of the best photos of the tribe's exploits.
The Tribes Twitter is @TribeOfMa
In March 2016 a Swiss Print Magazine, The NZZ Folio, published an interview with the Tribe's staff - i.e. me....
It can be read here :)
On the cat front: Ma-Cat has fully recovered from her little injury. Long-term (very long-term) she might profit from an operation, but for now she is a-okay.
The feral visitor lady still collects her food two to three times a day. So far, no sign of a litter. I will trap her at the end of April if all goes to plan. Although, she is still very shy and hissy - and who can blame her. Life is hard.
Leo's stray gang is enjoying spring, and all five (and their two to three friends) are healthy.
More shortly. This was just a mini update to explain our online absence.
Thank you all for the continued support.
Have a good peaceful spring.
First of all: a belated Thank You for the love and support over the Holiday Season. The cards, the parcels, the donations.... <3 Thank you, thank you.
I hope you all know how much I appreciate it.
The little Tabby Lady in the 1st photo is a new 'visitor' to the Tribe's realm. She uses one of the cat chalets for short pit stops on her hunting excursions. She also - occasionally - sneaks into my little house at night to check out the cat bowls. I leave food for her in the chalet. The next step, obviously, is to trap her for a check-up and a 'fix'; however, I have the strong 'feeling' she may have a litter of kittens somewhere. Her entire behaviour reminds me very much of that of Ma-Cat when SHE was still feral and used my garden to hunt for her litter that she had hidden away on an abandoned neighbouring farm. A certain urgency mixed into the feral cautiousness - and her appearances here are carefully timed - as you would expect from a feral mother with a litter stashed away somewhere vs a bored stray looking for a break. And I'm using "feral" because she doesn't strike me as 'just' stray. But we can discuss the difference elsewhere ;)
Anyway... I'm keeping an eye on her - including that of a motion-controlled night-vision camera.
Leo's farm gang of five is doing well. I still visit them twice daily for feedings. Change of bedding; to de-worm etc etc.... They have 2 regular cat visitors that also get a bite. Those 2 live on farms in the neighbourhood and are very much 'pet' cats (neutered too), but they are big, nosy and if I don't give them treats, they will steal from Leo and his gang. Feeding them together also helps create a superficial bond, and prevent tension and fights. AND injuries.
That aside: I passed the first 2 of 6 mini-exams that are part of my course, and I finally sorted out most of my internet problems at home. In my area fixed line broadband is still a few decades away, but I had a dish installed on my property to receive a more reliable kind of wireless internet than what you can get with USB- or WiFi-dongles in rural Ireland. So there....
Thank you again. None of this would be possible without you. 15-18 ex-ferals and strays and their 'friends' have a secure, sheltered healthy life because of YOUR support.
Now bring on spring :)
Your support has been fantastic since I posted the last update. And the interest in the well-being of the two latest Tribe members, Reddy and Clubber, has been so kind and encouraging.
Both are doing great. There are still occasional temporary tensions between the original Tribe and Clubber.
His size and the way he exudes cool confidence is just too much - especially for Stripey who feels both challenged by the sheer PRESENCE and oddly frustrated by Clubber’s peacefulness. But hey - time will fix all of that.
Leo’s Gang of Five is in good shape, too. Winter means more food, more frequent change of bedding etc,
but no drama - unless you count nonstop rain and cold and boredom.
Mr Flakey has fully recovered from his ‘cold’ and is as good as new.
I have 3 exams booked for January for my online course. I had hoped to do them sooner, but with no
transport (the exams are NOT online, and the test centre is a good bit away), and some of the usual internet issues a delay just had to happen. Uurgh. But by combining the exams I save money for transport.
Because of the colder weather food goes fast. Add the occasional worming for 1 to 15, 16, 17… cats, and, oh…treats… donations are still welcome and, as always, much appreciated!
But mainly this update is a big Thank You for all the support this year.
And I wish you all a Happy Peaceful Holiday Season.
PS: a special Thank You to Twitter’s @PatchesSeesAll aka Instagram’s @thirza_meta.
She kindly designed a lovely set of Christmas Cards, and she’s selling them for the Tribe of Ma fundraiser.
They are very very lovely, and it isn’t too late to order a set or two. All profits will magically turn into
cat food. <3 (just contact her on IG or Twitter for details)
Winter is officially upon us, so your help and your donations mean an extra lot of everything. The cats need more food and warmth to get through a wet dark and cold Irish winter*** (*** imagine Stranger Things' Upside Down and then add rain if you're unfamiliar with the west of Ireland).
Lets hope the 'No-' in November is just a joke.
Thank You again. You are all part of this - and your 15 (+) furry friends thank you (of that I'm sure).