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Fort Stanwix National Monument proves to be a national treasure for resident cat

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Mid-summer, Allison Nickerson of the R-CATS Program received a call from a staff person at Fort Stanwix National Monument. For some time, employees had been feeding the resident feral cat, and one day she showed up for her feeding with five little shadows - her litter of kittens. What were they to do?

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Although the employees weren't familiar with trap/neuter/vaccinate/return (TNVR) programs, their research led them to the R-CATS Program. Working with Nickerson, they developed a plan to trap the little family using Havahart traps. As the kittens were no longer nursing, the mother could be spayed and vaccinated right away, while the kittens would be held and evaluated for adoptability by R-CATS volunteers. The mother's surgery was routine, and once she recovered from an upper respiratory infection, she was released back onto her home turf, where she quickly resumed her role as chief mouse and mole exterminator.

Todd Gerrard, Facility Manager at Fort Stanwix, and the staff are pleased with the compassionate resolution to the cat situation. He said, "Fort Stanwix has many staff that are cat lovers and felt the program worked very well. One key aspect of the R-CATS Program is that the adult cats are neutered before they are returned to the community. Neutering helps to reduce the number of feral cats in the community."

Volunteers are still working with the kittens, and Nickerson reports, "as you might expect, some are coming around faster than others. For example, little black Spooky, with a touch of white, initially leveled those ears and hissed if you even looked at him, but now doesn't mind being picked up and even cuddled a bit. Angel, a mostly white kitty with some grey tabby spots here and there, was the first one to decide that people are okay, especially when bringing her tasty things to eat! The two largest of the kittens, a beautiful long haired muted tortoiseshell with lots of white and stripes is still on the fence about people while her sister, a beautiful round-faced medium to long haired calico is still waiting for more 'proof' that people are okay, along with her adorable little black and white sibling."

The partnership between Fort Stanwix and R-CATS have benefited both organizations. R-CATS Program volunteers were happy to help this little family in need, and Fort Stanwix staff also had a positive experience according to Gerrard, "The folks at R-CATS were very helpful and I would like to thank Allison Nickerson and the staff for all there kindness and support."

Any party interested in fostering or adopting any of these kittens should understand that they still may need some socialization, but with a little work they'll make a great deal of progress. For more information, email rcatsprogram@yahoo.com.

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