KCRA — Saving Feral Kittens
(NOTE: All of the frame-grab photos on this page are from shots in the news story that were filmed using the GoPro Hero 3+.)
Several months back I posted a KCRA news story that I reported & photographed about Antelope Creek Elementary School in Rocklin, California,some who raised over $500 for a cat rescue group, Field Haven Feline Center in Lincoln, California.
While filming at Field Haven for that story I was told about a program they have there where school students spend time with feral kittens to socialize them for adoption.
Immediately I said that I want to do a story on this!
I must guiltily confess that I am completely ignorant on the subject of feral cats. When I’ve heard about them it’s generally been in conjunction with a story on cat hoarding where the cats are in-bred in horrible conditions of neglect and the cats have to be put down. This is only a minute fraction of the picture.
Lincoln and Rocklin are in the country for the most part where many cats live in the wild off the land. (I don’t know, perhaps they are abandoned.)
Animal Control frequently picks up these owner-less feral cats & kittens and bring them to Field Haven because the people here are dedicated to felines and are outstanding at getting them homes.
I would have thought that it would take months to socialize a feral kitten to make it into a loving & safe household pet. Again, what do I know! To my amazement, these young people are able to turn a feral kitten, born in the wild to a feral mother, into adoptable in as little as 5 days!
This is a remarkable achievement and my hat is off to all of the wonderful, dedicated people–of all ages–who donate their time for the benefit of improving the lives of these gentle feline souls.
On an average, Field Haven takes in & adopts out over 600 cats & kittens each year.
They are building a new facility on the site, with the input from the U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, that will be devoted exclusively for feral cats. I look forward to returning to Field Haven to tell that story.
Filming the kittens & kids with GoPro
Where the kittens are kept is a small room off from a horse stable. Filming in there was tight, so it became a perfect space for using the GoPro 3+.
NOTE TO GOPRO: If any of you are reading/following this site — I’m dying to have a GoPro Hero 4 to shoot 4K in — and blog & extoll on its virtues.
Using the Wide mode I could show the entire space, as well as reach the camera inside one of the kittens’ cages to show what the world looked like from their POV (Point Of View).
It’s closer, in my opinion, to the perspective or field-of-view that the human eye has.
I would be glad to leave my 25-30 pound+ Sony HD XDCAM in the car and shoot exclusively with the GoPro. Perhaps I will do that with my next story at Field Haven on a day off, when it won’t be expected for me to be using the big camera (a.k.a. battleship anchor) to film with.
Where Do The Adult Feral Cats Go?
Finally, for those who are curious, what becomes of the adult feral cats?
Surprisingly, the vast majority of those cats are socialized into household cats. Cats, like most creatures, love to be loved, petted, touched, held. And when you add feeding them into the mix, and a warm, dry, safe place to live, with lots of comfortable furniture–it’s amazing how quickly a cat who has lived in the wild can adjust.
For the diehard outdoor cats, however, they also mostly find homes as barnyard cats on country homes, living outside and controlling the rodent population. They are given a job and a home. And most do quite well.
Thank you to Joy Smith and Scout Valentine at Field Haven. I look forward to seeing you & working with you more!