Donated holding cages. We use these cages for cats recovering from surgery, new cats coming into the Gemini Farm colony or cats that need ongoing medical treatment.
The S.A.F.E.R. Cats On The Border Project
Program Development, Funding, Management Assistance and moral support provided by Paws & Claws Society, Inc (PACS) of Thorofare, New Jersey. If you would like to learn more about PACS and the programs mentioned here, check out their website. http://pacsnj.org/13/
If you are one of many thousands of people who do rescue, through private rescue or with an organization, you know that funding for all the community projects designed to help animals is often, at best, difficult to obtain. Rescue groups all over the country are limited in what they can accomplish simply because they don’t have the funds to do what they know must be done
to help animals. Gemini Farm is no different in that we have the physical resources in land, buildings and even equipment, to provide rescue and safe haven for many different animals, but we have lacked that critical financial assistance to work towards accomplishing our goals. Frank is the chief carpenter, electrician, plumber and all-around handyman and my area of expertise is animals. My entire adult life has centered around a career with animals and a private life that has taken many twists and turns in the animal world and given me valuable experience with all types of animals. What limited us in everything we have done is the funding resources to provide food, supplies and medical care for all the animals we have space for.
My work in rescue made me painfully aware of the overpopulation problem with domestic pets and about two years ago I was asked to assist with the spay, neuter and rehoming of a 40 cat feral colony. How in the world were we going to find a way to assist in helping to spay and neuter and rehome these cats that lived on the fringes of society and were, for the most part,
unadoptable? Responsible placement of these cats could not happen unless they were spayed or neutered before placement and there just wasn’t enough money to do that. Desperation was the word for the day! It seemed hopeless that things would all work out and I asked God to send us a miracle. Shortly after that plea, through a series of chance (?) happenings, I found out about Paws & Claws Society, Inc. (PACS) and contacted them to see if there was a way to work with them, using their already successful programs to help feral and stray cats in our communities. That was the beginning of a partnership that has seen (as of 5‐19‐17) 525 kittens and cats spayed and neutered with the prospect of hundreds more getting done as we go forward.
While the program is new in our area it is a well-established and highly successful program developed and funded by PACS for many years in the NJ area. The PACS founder believes that the only way to put a dent in the cat overpopulation program is to have fully funded and aggressive spay neuter programs for stray and feral cats, and cats living in low-income homes. The solution to the problem is to stop the production of kittens, not to wait till the kittens are born and then try to find homes. I’ve been doing rescue at many levels for over forty years and I can honestly say that the PACS S.A.F.E.R. Trap, Neuter, Return program is the best program I have ever come across. It is fully funded, well thought out and already proven to be a huge success in the communities it is used in.
At this time the S.A.F.E.R. Cats On The Border Project is targeting stray and feral cats in the communities of Rome, PA and Nichols, NY. We chose those two communities because the two people (Diana Oliver‐me, and Deb Race) who wanted to implement the program lived in these two communities. Recently we have added two more volunteers, Sally W. and Priscilla K., who add their energy and skills in all the areas of the program. We are also working on adding temporary foster homes and are happy to say that Kristen B and her family have been a big asset in socializing kittens for us. Our hope is that once we have ‘fixed’ all the cats and kittens in these two communities, we can gradually expand our territory out from the borders of the current target area and also add more kitty lovers to the growing little group of volunteers
dedicated to doing as much as possible to stop the production of kittens that have no hope of finding a home of their own.
I (Diana) am the local administrator of the program and rely heavily on the expertise of the PACS founder to make sure things are running smoothly and we follow the guidelines and rules of the S.A.F.E.R Program. I also make and take phone calls, keep records of all colonies and cats who have gone through the program and assist the trappers when needed. Also, included in those duties is to provide post-surgical care and foster care if needed. Deb is our main trapper and transporter and if she isn’t working her “real” job you will find her driving the roads in the two communities trapping cats and transporting them to the veterinarian for their surgeries. Deb also provides post-surgical care of colony cats to ensure that when they are returned to
their colony and released they will not suffer any complications from their surgery. Deb works very closely with colony caretakers and owners to ensure that the entire process from trapping to finally returning the fixed cats back to their colony is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Sally provides trapping, transport and post-surgical care for the organization and Priscilla is a foster home, transporter and also adds administrative skills to the group. Priscilla is also, looking forward to learning the skills needed to trap feral cats.
The Cats On The Border Project also assists colonies by trying to remove and rehome any cats in the colonies that are friendly and adoptable. Colonies often attract strays who were once house pets and once these cats are trapped and handled, many of them revert back to the sweet pets they were before they lost their homes. Along with the friendly strays, we also try
to remove any kittens that the caretaker would like us to place. The goal is to reduce the size of the colony which reduces the cost of feeding the cats to the caretaker and usually makes the surrounding people in the neighborhood happy to see fewer cats. These kittens are often easily tamed and become highly adoptable.
Kittens removed from the colonies go into temporary foster homes and are advertised for adoption locally on Petfinder, the Gemini Farm website and Facebook (Geminifarmromepa). Interested adopters must fill out an adoption application and be approved to adopt. Our adoption fee is $75.00. All kittens and cats are spayed or neutered before leaving for their new home. Other work done includes a Rabies and Distemper vaccination, treatment for both
internal and external parasites and testing for both Feline Leukemia Virus and FIV. The funding for all of this is provided by The Paws and Claws Society, Inc.
Unfortunately, our area is so saturated with cats that few homes remain. Kittens and cats sit in shelters and rescues, often for months or even years, waiting for someone to adopt them. Because of this shortage of homes, The Cats On The Border Project, with assistance and guidance from PACS, has formed partnerships with approved rescue groups in New Jersey to take our highly adoptable kittens for placement in that state. These kittens are made available locally until transport is arranged. The program name is Circle of Compassion and is yet another highly successful program developed and implemented by PACS. It was designed to encourage rescue groups to work together as partners to best use all resources available to place homeless pets. To date, we have sent 22 kittens and cats to NJ for placement. By sending kittens out of the area we take fewer homes away from local rescues and we also continue to have foster space for other kittens and cats as we work with each new colony.
If you would like to learn more about how you can help, or to ask us for assistance with a stray or feral colony in the target area please give Diana a call at 570‐395‐3668. Our ONLY goal is to stop the production of unwanted and unadoptable kittens through spay and neuter of all cats at a colony location. We understand that most people just don’t have the time or resources to assist us and all we ask is that you make sure all your pets are spayed or neuter which then means that they are not contributing to the overpopulation problems in your community.
AND, if you are someone who wonders if these types of programs really work here are some websites that will give you an idea of why we are so excited about Gemini Farm’s partnership with PACS.
Best Friends has dozens of articles on TNR. What it is, how to do it, legal aspects, how you can help and just about everything you might want to know. Take the time to read the information and you will understand why TNR is the way to help the hidden cats in our communities.
TNR has been working for a very long time and the studies prove that having these programs is worth the effort.
Link to a study with results and opinions.
Please check back often to see if more links have been added.
Amy was born at Gemini Farm. Her mom was one of the cats we rescued from that first project that got us started in TNR and our affiliation with Paws & Claws Society, Inc. Her mom, Gabby, was placed with a friend, Sheldon, her brother still lives here and two other siblings found wonderful homes in the area. We would like to thank Bradford County Humane Society for helping us find great homes for this litter.
From left to right: Sally, Diana, and Deb. Rescue is usually a serious business but on this day we had a good time taking photos with silly props.
The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Jeremy Bentham
Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. ~The Dalai Lama