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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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September 5, 2018     Feather River Bulletin
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September 5, 2018
 

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018 5A Victoria Metcalf Assistant Editor vmetcalf@plumasnews.com One Cromberg area resident and her husband specialize in caring for feral cats. Jennifer Motzkus and her husband Frank have probably one of the few remaining, legitimate rescue homes for feral cats. Although the term feral is used for a variety of animals, it's most commonly linked with cats. Feral animals, including cats, live almost the same lifestyle as wild animals, according to the "Difference Between Feral and Wild," a feature Motzkus shared recently. Feral animals have been domesticated previously, but for some reason are in the wild. Perhaps they became separated when their humans moved, there was a disaster or they were dumped. And they usually continue to breed. Feral cats aren't wild cats, according to the feature. Wild cats or animals live in the wild without direct influence on their lifestyles by humans. Feral cats, unless they have human assistance once again, tend to live only two years, Motzkus said. While some people believe they're helping feral cats by feeding them, the only valid help is to catch them and have them spayed or neutered. This decreases the population and doesn't allow the problem to continue or to continue at a near overwhelming rate. Once feral cats have been fixed then they can receive additional medical attention, such regular vaccinations. Then feeding them becomes the right thing to do without encouraging a population of unhealthy animals. Finding Motzkus Rose Buzzetta, a leading organizer behind Friends Jennifer Motzkus cuddles one of the many kittens she's helped since moving to the Cromberg area and becoming a volunteer. She isn't able to drive to Quincy for medical reasons, but she finds ways to do her part. Photo submitted COU of Plumas County Animals, received a call from Motzkus saying she was willing to help -- especially with feral cats. Buzzetta said she had visions of the kind of place she was going to find when she went to visit the Motzkuses one day. She thought she would find an old mobile home and a jungle. But the place was beautiful, she exclaimed. And it was the beginning of a strong bond between them. Since volunteering for the program, Motzkus has stepped in and cared for more than her share of tiny kittens. The younger the kittens, the more time consuming they are. There are the timed feedings every few hours around the clock. They must be kept clean, similar to what a mama cat would do. And they must receive attention if they are to become human companions. Re-housing needed Motzkus is known for her willingness to help with feral cats, and she didn't hesitate to offer her home when the 2017 Minerva Fire threatened Quincy. Although mandatory evacuations never became necessary, there was a period when no one knew where the fire would burn. The stress of worrying about the animals living at Friends was almost more than Buzzetta and others could manage, Motzkus recalled. "It took a lot of stress off Rose," Motzkus said. When she offered her home and outbuilding to the animals, eight volunteers gathered to prepare the cats for travel. Two trucks and a trailer moved the animals, food and other necessities to Cromberg. In all, 16 cats arrived at the Motzkus' home. Some of the cats were housed in one of the outbuildings where they were secure and safe. Others moved into part of the home. HELP, from page 4A ceiling areas where they have cat towers for climbing and with ,sleeping platforms. Others have large wire kennels and are allowed the freedom of the main living area to roam around. Window boxes with padded beds allow them to look outside or sleep in the sunshine. On this particular afternoon, a huge black cat napped on the sofa. A second napped under it. In a nearby kennel, a large colorful tortoiseshell calico enjoyed the sunshine on the top bed. Although the doors were open to give her maximum freedom of the living room, she seemed quite content to nap, waking just long enough to appreciate a loving hand and a quick snack. There's also an outdoor patio so the animals can enjoy some time outside. And this is the environment where volunteers work. Buzzetta manages the litter boxes and feeding each day. Other volunteers are in charge of seeing that the rooms are vacuumed and tidied. Towels and blankets are laundered as needed. Then it's time to give each of the animals some individual attention: For a few, it's time to get them used to people. One or two will welcome only so much attention before they say that's enough with a warning bite or scratch. Volunteers quickly learn the signs to watch. Playing with the kittens, holding them, cuddling them, dangling a string or tossing a toy is all part of idea, Buzzetta said this isn't number of animals needing the fun. just a home for animals, homes. But the grant wasn't Buzzetta manages all people have als0 been renewed and the problem medical needs for the known to stay. One man returned. residents, couldn't have his dog at the One of the problems in "This is not a shelter," Sierra House, so he chose to attracting grants is that Motzkus emphasized. "This spend time with his dog atgrantors are seeking larger is a rescue," where animals Friends. populations. They want stay until adopted, their funding going to areas "They stay here until the No fees where there is the biggest right owner comes along," It doesn't cost anything to need, Buzzetta said. That Buzzetta said. They adopt a pet from Friends; doesn't mean however that encourage would-be people are welcome to the needs aren't present adoption prospects to get donate, here in Plumas County. acquainted with the Friends also gives away This is when the animals to see who likes pet food. Individuals who influence and funding from them best. f'md themselves in crisis the county is necessary, she For instance, someone situations are welcome to explained. And not only is might come into Friends apply for pet food up to the problem evident in thinking they want a yellow twice a year. terms of the overpopulation cat. But then it's an entirely Buzzetta said that about issues, it's also a health different cat that jumps in once a year she heads to hazard. his or her lap and makes Reno, f'flls up a truck and Disease spreads in the choice known. "We has that available to give to colonies of unwanted cats. have great success adopting others. Rabies is just one of many out older cats," Buzzetta "Friends of Plumas concerns. said. County Animals will offer And it's no different for By getting to know all of food through this Crisis dogs that roam free or join the animals' likes and Food Program as long as wepacks. dislikes as well as their have a supply of dohated The county is also personalities, volunteers food available to us," responsible for managing are able to make better Buzzetta explained. This homes where residents are suggestions to adopters, food is not part of what is allowing their animals to Shelly, the beautiful purchased for animals breed without tortoiseshell cat, has had living at Friends. consequences, Buzzetta quite a few people said. interested in adopting her, Who's responsible There are plenty of but Buzzetta is particular. Both Buzzetta and examples where residents She knows this cat needs Motzkus lay the blame for don't do anything to solve quiet and independence, the county's dog and cat the problem. That means no children, overpopulation problem Or they're mentally or other pets and a quiet squarely the Board of emotionally not able to routine. It's taken Supervisors. manage the situation. volunteers a long time to Wherever the pair look Buzzetta said she was get Shelly accustomed to they see a problem with thinking of one specific them and her cats that aren't being cared case where at least 50 cats surroundings. Someday the for. That doesn't mean just were discovered in one right person will come food and medicine, it means home. They weren't being along, Buzzetta is sure. overpopulation, cared for, some had died, But that depends on One year another facility most were sick, she said. f'mding more volunteers to ' received a grant to help Unfortunately this isn'tan help. If they don't come up spay and neuter cats and isolated situation. with more people willing to dogs. People were delighted For more information help, then they will have to with getting their pets fixed about Friend of Plumas close their doors, Buzzetta at a fraction of the cost.County Animals, a explained. Buzzetta said they saw a nonprofit, contact Rose Considering the home noticeable decrease in theBuzzetta at 927-8057. In last week's paper, a story correctly identified the location of the free Old-Fashioned Family Picni: on Sunday, Sept. 9, as being at Pioneer Park in Quincy, next to the fairgrounds. The photo with the article describes the activities at last year's picnic, which took place at Gansner Park. 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