Friday, October 15, 2010

Sue Gibson, A True Friend Of Ferals, Part One Of A Two Day Celebration Of National Feral Cat Day

This post originally ran in July of 2010.  I had mentioned earlier that since it is CAT CHAT's birthday month I was going to repeat some blog posts that I thought warranted being seen again and this is one of them. Helping to be the voice of Feral Cats, T-N-R (trap, neuter, return) and the importance of spaying and neutering cats (and dogs!)  are  causes that are hugely important to me and that I hold close to my heart. I am happy to spread the word about a Michigan woman who is a true friend of feral cats and to help:

Blog the Change

With tomorrow being "National Feral Cat Day" (look for a special guest blog post on CAT CHAT from "Alley Cat Allies!") I thought it was only appropriate to highlight it again! Enjoy!



Sue Gibson, A True Friend Of Ferals





Michigan's own Sue Gibson contacted me back in June introducing herself, telling me that she works exclusively with feral cats, rehabbing them and finding homes for them when they are ready. She has worked with approximately 130 ferals (from four weeks to four years old) and says she has only had to find barn placement for two.




How Did It Start?









Sue's work with feral cats began in the Fall of 1996 when a pregnant feral stopped on her porch looking for food. The feral later was named "Cutie" by Sue and was with her from October 1996 through March 2002. Cutie produced 12 litters-37 kittens total (all of whom survived). Cutie should have been named "Smartie" because as hard as Sue tried to catch her to have her spayed Cutie outsmarted her at every turn. Sue was, however, able to bring all of the kittens in and place them in homes of their own (three of them remained with Sue).



Sue is self-taught in the ways of feral rescue. When she first started she found little support when she contacted various rescue groups, her vet offered support for a while but stopped when they no longer wanted feral cats at their facility.



Why does she do this work?





As Sue says "simply for the love of the species". She thinks that cats are "the most misunderstood animals on the planet" (I have to agree). Each kitten is born with it's own "purrsonality". There are "people cats" and "aloof cats" in both feral and non-feral cats. It is about the personality. Just like in the case of people. There are people who are "people persons" and people who are not.



What is her method of rehab?






Sue uses large dog crates which prevent the cats from being able to hide under furniture etc. The crates enable the cats to get used to you being closer to them much faster. She sets the crates up with a small cat condo so they have a place to feel safe, a covered litter box (which also provides an extra level for the cats to perch on and affording them jumping exercise). She provides lots of toys and keeps toys within a paws reach outside of the crate to interest them.




For cats fearful of being touched Sue uses an ingenious method of having a "feather stick" lightly stroke their back and when Sue knows they like that and are comfortable she can then use her hand to stroke their back.


What is the turn around time on rehab?






Sue says it is always different and depends on the individual cat, what they have been through and how fearful they are. Some of her success rates have been as brief as 3 days, others as long as nine months. Sue's critieria for deciding when a cat can come out of a crate is when the cat greets her at the crate door when she shows up wanting her to pet it.




Sue takes great pride in cats that are more difficult to work with. She says "I like the fact that I can take them from being nasty or difficult and turn them into a cat I can toss over my shoulder and walk around the house with. It is very rewarding to see former ferals living in the lap of luxury and enjoying life, especially during the winter when the temperature drops below freezing! I have an upper balcony where my cats love to sit and enjoy the sunshine-no one has ever tried to jump. It's almost like their attitude is been there-done that, not interested!!"


Need Help With Your Ferals?






Sue is more than happy to offer any assistance in the form of advice, trapping, loaning out a crate, setting it up and teaching people how to do what she does. She makes house calls! She wants it known though that she cannot bring them home with her. (She has 11 permanent houseguests since she began working with feral cats in 1996) You may contact Sue Gibson at: 248-457-7149 or email: sgibson@gmhlaw.com





Don't forget in honor of
"National Feral Cat Day" 
 CAT CHAT will feature a 
 guest blog post tomorrow by
  "Alley Cat Allies"! Don't miss it!













38 comments:

  1. Thanks for following me at Cheapskate4Life, I am now following your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cat photograph are Very cute!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing the story of Sue Gibson.

    She's wonderful and we hope there are more and more Sue Gibsons!!! We need wonderful, selfless people like them : )

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks!!!!Here too is what to esteem
    http://pupkins.ru/

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Inigo, thanks so much! I hope Inigo, that you are feeling much better!

    ReplyDelete
  6. @ atsushi thanks! Those are Sue's cats that she has rescued. Adorable aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Priscilla I so agree! I know if Sue could she would keep every feral cat that she helps to rehab but she just doesn't have the space to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Max, you are welcome (for what I am not quite sure lol) Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sue Gibson is one of the many angels on earth. Bless her for her work with and caring for these ferals.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sue, you are my hero. The affection of male ex-feral-(or village-)cats is something quite wonderful. My Bugsie was abandoned by a neighbour along with 3 or 4 others who discovered my never-closed cat-flap. He and Smokey from the same place fought horribly, but slowly,after neutering, learned a little tolerance. Bugsie asked me to suggest a programme for people who abandon cats and are nasty to ferals. It's called T.N.W. (Trap, Neuter, and Wring-neck) Will try to put up some pictures shortly - when connection is good enough. Take care,Bob

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, Sue is such a great representative of her species!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Clarissa, I couldn't have said it better! I will be sure that Sue sees your comment! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  13. @CorfuBob, haven't seen you in a while! Good to see you back! Hope you have been well. I will be sure that Sue gets to see your comment!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a lovely blog! With all the animal cruelty in this world it's refreshing to hear a rescue story. You're a true Cat Whisperer! Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great topic... thank goodness for people like Sue!

    ReplyDelete
  16. @The Real Handbag Shop thank you Jane! Sue IS a "true Cat Whisperer!" Glad to feature her again on my blog. So pleased to have you stop by!

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Pup Fan...you are sooooo cute!!!! Thanks so much and yes "thank goodness for people like Sue!"

    ReplyDelete
  18. Awesome - my little kitten is a feral rescue that I snagged from the woods on a rainy day (along with his brother and sister - all successfully re-homed).

    Yay for feral cat ladies!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for this inspiring post and thank you, Sue.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you so much for stopping by... I'm following you back! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Sarah, that is FABULOUS!!!! YAY FOR YOU!!!!! You are a true angel!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. @Deborah Flick, thank YOU for your wonderful comment! I emailed Sue and told her to be sure and read the wonderful things that people are saying about her. I hope she does!

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Pup Fan, thanks sooo much! I am so happy to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great post, Caren. What great work she does -- we need more people like her!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hey! Wery well blog! It's wery interesting for me! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  26. God Bless you Sue for helping those kitties!

    ReplyDelete
  27. An amazing person! Need so much patience and perseverance. Totally commendable :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. @Angie thank you!! Yes we most certainly do need more "Sues!!"

    ReplyDelete
  29. @health, thanks so much! Thanks for visiting! Hope you will return!

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Carolyn, yes and I know she works full time. Don't know where she finds the time.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great work. And let's not forget the BIG cats. See my posting for this week :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. My roommate rescued her cat, Spats, who was feral. She was very young and pregnant and quickly became the free cat who cost $300! The vet was able to keep her alive, but no kittens survived, she was just too young. And to think that I believed you couldn't change a feral cat! I'm glad to know I was wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  33. @Mom2theParnellCats. I am so happy that Spats was able to be rescued but am so sorry about her kittens. $300 is NOTHING compared to the lifetime of happiness that Spats will bring to your roommate!
    Thanks for stopping by! Nice to meet you!

    ReplyDelete

 
Designed By: Wacky Jacqui's Designs