Three years ago, a mother cat and her five kittens appeared on the doorstep of the Dickinson home. Security camera footage showed that the cats were scouring for food in the dark. “These cats needed our help and we wanted to make sure there wasn’t a cat explosion,” Trishia said. She and her husband trapped the cats, had them fixed, and released them. Since then, they have become well-known in the Lincoln animal community for their TNR work.
ALLISON: What are some unique TNR stories?
TRISHIA: Oh my goodness, there are so many stories! Some cats don’t end up being feral. I file reports to post these ‘found’ kitties and no one ever claims. I have a few in my house that absolutely should never have been let out or dumped.
Autumn is one. I believe someone must have thrown her over my fence into my backyard. She had a broken hip and abdominal hernias. Now that we have her fixed up, you can’t tell there was ever anything wrong with her. She loves to run around and play like a kitten.
Cheetah is another. He was so full of parasites (cocciai, giardia, roundworms, tapeworms, etc) that my vet nicknamed him volcano butt. He was miserable with constant diarrhea. We went through months of several medications a day. When we finally got his gut cleared, I believe that damage was already done. We went through several more months of medications and special food until finally after about six to seven months we finally found the right combo for him. I still get excited to scoop his normal poops!
ALLISON: What is your most memorable TNR moment?
TRISHIA: When Clay first purred and leaned into my petting him. He is an old feral that has his own room in our house to himself. He had an ear torn off, broken teeth, lice, and was just very beat up. We couldn’t possibly have put him back out after we got him fixed up. I don’t think he would have lasted much longer.
He was feral though. He hid from us, was extremely reserved. His safe spot was a big box I fixed up for him with blankets inside. After a year, I was finally able to touch him. And then he let us pet him, very gently. Then he even started talking to me! He is still very reserved, but there is trust now.
ALLISON: Did you relocate any of the cats you trapped? What has this been like?
TRISHIA: There have been relocations for FeLV/FIV cats. I found rescues for them. It was very hard though to find help for them and just as hard to let them go.
ALLISON: Did you find adoptive homes for any of the cats you trapped? What has this been like?
TRISHIA: One ‘dumped’ kitty I found a home for with my daughter in law’s brother. The feral have been adopted by me: Clay, Cheetah, Aslan, Autumn.
ALLISON: How do you connect with others?
TRISHIA: Cat people seem to connect through social media groups.
ALLISON: Have you faced any opposition?
TRISHIA: No, I have been lucky that my neighbors are very supportive. One neighbor even helps by leaving a water source and shelter on her property.
ALLISON: Who has most supported you?
TRISHIA: My husband is as much involved as I am. My vets are also extremely accommodating and have become good friends. I’ve also met people through social media that have helped in finding rescues for FeLV & FIV kitties. Some have donated food and amounts for vet care.
ALLISON: What would you like people to know about feral cats?
TRISHIA: Don’t give up on them. They are thankful for your kindness. And they don’t always remain feral either. I have two boys that after a year will now greet me every time I go outside, and are the most loving cats. They make everything worth it.
ALLISON: Do you ever thought of quitting?
TRISHIA: TNR work can get financially and emotionally stressful. I life would be so much easier without it. But how can I let all these kitties down? They depend on me, and it’s not their fault they ended up as street kitties.
ALLISON: What keeps you going?
TRISHIA: The cats depend on me. I can’t stop. I love each and every one.
ALLISON: How can people help community cats?
TRISHIA: If you see feral cats, at the very least reach out for help. But don’t just ignore or keep feeding and let the problem get out of hand. Please have feral cats spayed/neutered and vaccinated! We have organizations in Lincoln who will assist.