Upon arrival at work one day, Sonia was notified by a co-worker that Osceola County Animal Control had captured several of the cats and taken them away. Sonia immediately went to the Osceola County Animal Control facility to retreive her feline friends only to discover that they had already been put to death. Sonia called me hysterically on the phone and was almost inconsolable over the needless loss of three very beautiful and very tame animals. The three victims where Simba I, Boots, and Phantom I, which were Sonia's three favorite and friendliest cats. Sonia named several of the newer kittens after these three friends.
Boots, Simba I, & Phantom I
(Click on the picture to view the entire slide show)
Sonia then decided to accelerate her plans for the capture, fix, and adopt/release of the remaining cats before Animal Control could kill anymore of them. She began bringing cats home several at a time and making appointments with the veterinarians as quickly as she could and was financially able to. Fortunately she found a couple of veterinarians that were willing to work with her and provide free or low cost services for the cats she trapped. She also received donations and assistance from co-workers at the Osceola County School District. The kittens and younger cats she had fixed and vaccinated and then found adoptive homes for them. The older cats she placed with people who needed a good "barn cat" on their farm or returned them to the colony near her office. Sonia even obtained a Safe Catch trap and used it to capture the older more feral members of the colony. Along with the cats Sonia also captured several racoons, which she took "for a long ride in the country".
Besides the three cats executed by the county, there have been several others who apparently used up all 9 of their lives. This page and the memorial picture slide show is dedicated to our feline friends who have moved on to a better place.
Sonia discovered that Nana (one of the founding members of the colony) had abandoned two week old kittens near one of the sidewalks by her office. Sonia attempted to reunite the kittens with Nana, but Nana only walked away leaving them again. Sonia brought the kittens home and began bottle feeding them several times a day and night. Both kittens were beautiful and looked very similar to Fluffy's kittens, Francis & Charley. Sonia continued feeding the kittens for several weeks while she was also attempting to capture Nana. Then after about three weeks she was successful and finally captured Nana, whom she had been feeding for 8 years. Sonia took Nana to the vet to be fixed and vaccinated, dropping her off on the way to work. Later that day Sonia received a call from the veterinarian and the news was not good. Nana's FIV test came back positive indicating that she had Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. This is feline AIDS which has no cure and is contagious to other cats. Sonia had no choice but to have Nana euthanized so that she would not suffer a horrible death and possibly infect other members of the colony.
Upon learning this Sonia made an appointment to have the kittens tested and we took them to the vet the next day. Unfortunately both of the beautiful kittens also tested positive for FIV. This explained why they had not responded to medication that Sonia had been giving them for diarrhea. Sonia petted both of them one last time and then signed the papers authorizing them to be euthanized. The following day a co-worker at Sonia's office discovered two more kittens that had also apparently been abandoned by Nana. They were very week and in bad shape after going without food for several days. Sonia new that they would likely test positive for FIV as she made an appointment to take them to the vet. One of Sonia's co-workers got a bottle and some kitten formula and fed the kittens what would most likely be their last meal. Sonia took the kittens to the vet at the end of the day and had them tested. The results were as expected and Sonia had to make the tough decision to have these helpless little creatures put down. She again signed the forms authorizing the euthanasia.
Up until this point all of the cats and kittens that Sonia had rescued had tested negative for any serious illness. As a matter of fact, most of them seemed unusually healthy for stray cats. Because of this Sonia surmises that Nana was impregnated by an infected tom from another colony that lives near by. The vet agreed that this was likely as well. With the death of Nana, all of the remaining females in the colony have been fixed. There are still 3 males that need to be neutered, however one of them (Pumba) has been MIA for some time and his status is currently unknown.