Dr. Cats Knoke: The Feral Cat Herder~

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Jim speaks CAT big time. Cats are naturally attracted to him. They must know how much he likes them. For some people, herding feral cats might be problematic, not Jim, and the old city of San Juan is loaded with feral cats.

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Check out Jim herding San Juan’s feral cats! There was no food of any sort involved here. Just Jim, AKA, Dr. Cats Knoke~~

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He meows at them and they come running, even the wild Fishing Cat at The San Diego Zoo does this.
Sweethearts aren’t they?

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Jim’s pretty sweet too, at least the cats, and I think so.

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Before you become profoundly depressed at the prospect of all these cats without homes, take heart. You know I couldn’t leave you (or Jim for that matter) hanging. I had to find out. What is the story about all of these homeless kitty-cats? They are being cared for by a marvelous group of volunteers who call themselves appropriately enough, “Save a Gato!” http://www.saveagato.org or email at SAVEAGATOPR@gmail.com
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We visited them at their center in Old San Juan.

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Check it out.

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Save a Gato’s Mission Statement is, “Save a Gato is dedicated to giving the street cats of Old San Juan a chance at a better life. Using TNR (trap, neuter, return) methods, ‘Save a Gato’ manages a feral cat colony. Cats in the colony are trapped, neutered, and then returned to their territory where volunteers provide them with regular food, medical care and shelter. Young kittens who can be socialized, as well as friendly adults, can be adopted to good homes.”
So if you wanted to adopt a cat, think of “Save A Gato.” They will ship your kitty to you. They accept donations as well. All neutering is paid for by Save a Gato.

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Besides this colony, there are other feral cat colonies in Old San Juan, about every block, some homeowner has cat food and water on their doorstep.
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There are cat lovers in Old San Juan.
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Our hotel has two feral cats in residence. Still there is no way around it, a street kitty is a very sad sight!
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My thanks and gratitude go to “Save A Gato” and all the cat lovers in Old San Juan. Cheers to you from the beautiful, friendly, feral-cats of Old San Juan.

185 thoughts on “Dr. Cats Knoke: The Feral Cat Herder~

    • Yes!! Otherwise the post would be too depressing. I see this over and over in my travels. The Cat Sanctuary in Rome, the Cat Lady in Athens. Wonderful people who care. They make all the difference!

  1. Tears collected in my eyes as I read this. I am the “cat whisperer”, Cindy, and over the years, neglected, hurt, ill, starving, abused cats have come to me. I presently care for and love, 14 special needs cats in our home, (can you imagine??) and up to 5-6 wild/feral cats outside. I feed them all. I love them all. All expenses come out of our pockets with no one willing to give us a hand. The last time my husband and I were at our vet, we took in one of the wild cats who I care for, who was bitten on his right foreleg. The leg was infected and had to be treated.

    I didn’t think twice. I was able to cage him, bring him in, and get him treated. I am so fed up by the attitude of most here that my mouth started going. My vet is not the owner. Yet, I told her it “sucks” that we who are doing right by these wild and feral cats, end up paying for doing right. The owners of this animal hospital refuse to help us out in any way with any costs.

    Cindy, we love these cats. I am sometimes the only human these cats will allow to touch them. To know there are others who are doing what I am, and getting help, brings such elation to my heart. Cats are a special animal, one that I am totally mesmerized by. And the stigma that wild cats are rough and tough, is just that. A stigma. This wild cat that I we brought in had my vet’s mouth hanging wide open. She could not believe first of all, how much he trusted me, but also, how well behaved he was.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this. More people need to get involved to love and care for these precious cats. (((HUGS))) Amy

    • Well this comment is so very moving. I didn’t want to say it, but Save A Gato has no volunteer vet. They have to come up with the money to pay for everything. Jim & I both feel that a vet School or organization should do volunteer hours for Save A Gato at least twice a month. Your vet should have passed on billing.
      What on earth is wrong with some people? Why do some step up and others don’t? If you are a vet, come on, you donote some of your time.
      Everyone should. In every field. Help where you can.
      I have never seen anyone who cats instantly relate to like Jim.
      Animals and children know intuitively about people.
      It sounds like you have the same gift.
      Thank you so much for what you are doing. You know how right it is. We do too. Hugz and thanks yous~

      • Cindy, your comment has me in tears. We usually do not get thank yous, believe me. We are looked upon as strange, and people refuse to come to our home thinking “Oh the smell” or “What a mess!”. That is the farthest thing from the truth because I work darn hard to clean.

        This world is pathetic, always looking to the almighty green buck. I was told by the owners (vet hospital) it was our decision to do this, so technically, they are our pets. Yes, they are, and more then that, … they are family. Yet, to get some type of help from a vet is like pulling teeth. We are doing the right thing by these animals, and end up paying thousands of dollars a year for their nutrition and medications. Two and two don’t add up to four. You know what I am saying?

        Shame on those who could really make a difference. I couldn’t live with myself for turning away when knowing someone is in need of help. Yes, I do have a gift with these animals, and it brings such humility to my heart.

        Again, I really thank you for posting such an important post. Maybe if more of us just kept on beating down the doors, the doors will finally open. Love, Amy

      • Human selfishness and self involvement is very huge turn off to me. That and judgementalness.
        People are judging you? You know why don’t you?
        Your comittment makes them uncomfortable because it reflects their selfishness back on themselves.
        Right where it belongs!
        You are the one who deserves the thanks. You are the one making the huge comittment. You could always send this post on to your vet………..

        • Dear God, Cindy, your heart touched mine with an explosion of love. The tears. Thank you for saying what you did to me. The sacrifice has been steep, too much to go into here. Most people don’t see animals has “precious” and they don’t understand how deeply sensitive they are, with their own undeniable intelligent communication system, emotions that run deeper then most humans, and the love that they give and receive…I could go on. THEY have taught me so much in my life and I now have a standing joke with fellow cat people, that I no longer feel human, for to be human, means ME. In other words, selfish, just like you said.

          I am committed and have been for over ten years. No vacations. No days off. None. Yet, to trade what I have for what the world has to offer me? No thank you! My life is filled with Love, and with cats and with flowers and with a husband who at times doesn’t want to be doing this, but he too is committed and Loves these cats to the point it hurts sometimes.

          I can go off like a bomb regarding how people act towards me because of what I represent, and those people who treat animals unworthily. On my tired days, my patience wears thin and I yes, become angry, seemingly living in a world that could care less for anything but ME, and a world who doesn’t seem to know Love.

          (((HUGS))), Cindy. You are a KOOL KAT in my book and it is an honor to have you in my life. Bless you for all YOU do!!! Perhaps one day we both will live to see the day come when Love has preference over money and selfishness. Maybe. Love, Amy

    • You genius. My husband just said someone mentioned this, and it’s you! We visited the cat sanctuary in Rome on two different trips. Simply amazing what these wonderful people do~

      • Thanks! We walked all over Rome, visited the suburbs and noticed a lot of healthy cats on the streets and people feeding them. It was quite different from Madrid where we rarely saw a cats on the streets.

  2. I love hearing how they are being taken care of….makes my heart smile…they are all beautiful…I love animals so very much and it breaks my heart when people abuse them or dump them.

  3. This is so sweet and I love the photo of the two orange kitties, such brilliant, bright colors.
    God bless Jim, Save a Gato and all who do this to help stray kitties.
    Love conquers a lot.

  4. At least someone cares. I’d be bawling the whole time. We met a kitty in Maui that ate at the same patio restaurant every night I guess. I went back during the day with a hardboiled egg I snitched at breakfast. I was bothered by this the rest of the holiday.

    • The exact same thing happened to us in Maui. I wonder if we were at the same hotel. We too fed the cat.
      In St. Croix I was reading tripadvisor reviews of our hotel where someone from Tennessee complained vociferiously about the “disgusting” feral cats at our hotel. While we were there they had fish every night. I know other guests did the same~

  5. Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    Thank you Cindy! You are a beautiful soul to see and bring out the beauty of these amazing creatures instead of the pathos. I love seeing humanity awakening to compassion and love. Choosing to help and care for feral cats instead of extermination is one particularly joyful sign of that for me. Cats are wise beings. They truly do sense good and bad humans right away. The great thing about TEN programs is that over time it solves a sad problem as well as bringing a lot of love and spiritual growth to those who choose to engage in it. The feral cats I “rescued” have given me so much more than I can ever give thethem-tho I do try to keep regular with my catnip payments;-)

    • What beautiful sentiments! Human compassion is indeed what makes us special. The fact that so many people regularly exercise it is a gift to all of us. Thank you my friend, sincerely, for your kindness. Cheers to you my friend~

  6. That’s great your Jim has this ability to draw the cats to him and have instant rapport with them. I wish I do too. I think cats and dogs and other creatures just have this natural instinct on the characters of the humans they come across. Gorgeous photos Cindy, as usual!

    • I know you are right Halim…..Humans have the sixth sense too, but we are reared to ignore it. Your kindness and compassion is very evident in your blog Halim, so I like you just the way you are!

    • I must admit they do get quite a bit of enjoyment jumping at the fruit bats in the evening! 🙂
      You are very right about the kindred spirits phenomona. I’ve seen it with dogs, horses and birds!

  7. Our youngest son’s fiance attracts cats too. She used to have dogs…one of the cats came in through the pet door…others just from the woods. They had two…now maybe three. Just waiting on some tests before incorporating the one that came to visit (now in the garage) into the house. I like four footed friends too. But just not in my house anymore…well except for the visiting turtles. I get all the fur fix I need from my neighbors… and in-laws.

    Good for Jim. Animals know good folks.

      • When my elder son and family moved… they couldn’t have pets. His wife had turtles, you know the kind that start out nickel and dime size…. well they are in my laundry room. And after about ten or twelve years get to be sandwich and dinner plate size. Not much else to it. just feed ’em and watch em and keep their tank clean. 🙂

  8. How I admire Dr. Kat,Jim, who attracts the lost and homeless. There is an organization here too called Cats Unlimited that tries to place them in happy homes. There are so many needy creatures and it’s so sad.

    • Yes it is terribly sad, but I know we are both buoyed by the work good people do, everyday, to help. You can see this in the blog comments. Our fellow bloggers are a rockin, compassionate, community. I am so happy to know them and that very much includes you Dor! I know very well about your deep love for animals and I grreatly admire this quality in you~

  9. Thank you for bringing attention to such a wonderful organization! And it’s so good of the residents to try to help the feral cats there. But I agree–it is sad to see so many homeless cats. Your beautiful pictures do show that these cats appear healthy and well-nourished, and fairly social. (I think cats are a great judge of character. I’m sure they can sense that Jim is a wonderful guy. 🙂 )

    • I saw no starving cats, which was a huge relief. I saw starving cats in Delos and I will never forget it and don’t want to see it again. Thank you for caring Miranda & cheers to you~

  10. An awesome “GOOD NEWS STORY” and wonderful photos too! KUDOS to all of our wonderful Kitty Cat Advocates around the corner and around the globe! p.s. Our kitty Midnight was a local runnaway… She was living in our barn for 6 months before I could tease her to come in for the winter. She’s a little wonder and a delight! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  11. Thank you very much for coming over to visit Monty…..and what do I find on visiting your blog but a wonderful post about people helping stray cats!
    Then I started rolling back….and will be following.

      • I truly did and I have a bunch of penguin posts from Antarctica and Patagonia…..spent some chunks of time with penguins and am quite partial to them! Just don’t annoy them and they won’t barf fish at you!! They do that apparently, when annoyed, according to our penguin expert who studied them for decades in Antarctica. He used trash can lids to deflect the barf. He must have annoyed them a lot! I made it a point not too…..

  12. great photos of these fellows Cindy…you know as I was looking at the photos I was thinking to myself these might be feral cats, but someone is taking care to feed them…they look too healthy to be fending for themselves!!!

    • Yes except for the Marmalade sleeping one and the last calico who was quite unhappy. The San Juanians feed these cats, thank goodness and most were the ‘save the gato’ cats who were cared for. Cheers & when are you going boogie boarding????

      • Great the people take care of these fellows! ha ha ha , me go boogie boarding…not in this life time!!! It is a long story but this old body couldn’t handle it…!!! but it is fun to watch others…

      • What old body? You look like a whipper-snapper! I had one of the original Morey Boogie Boards……..now we are talking old. Laughing. It was a gift when I was 17. I had it for around 30 years. I would still have it too, but my kids broke it~

  13. Certainly you would surely about my love of the cat
    from the pictures of my feline love you’d deduce that
    and one of my favorite stories is about the cat in the hat
    and in my closet rests a copy of said hat…, fancy that !
    The pictures of all of those kitties are great, Cindy, as are those people who care for them so generously. My favorite is the blue (gray) one curled up in a ball, and second was my Lily’s distant cousin, the middle one in the second pic. Looks like you’re having a great time…, enjoy !

    • We are home now, but it was a blast. Yes I like them all, but some are incredibly beautifully colored, like the ones you noticed. I love the calicos. I know you speak CAT as well and know your kitty is on duty scaring away the hummingbirds! Hugz to you cuz & cheers too~

  14. Bless those people, Cindy. And I can tell that your hubby has as big a heart as you! It’s very difficult seeing these animals and not always being able to do something. I still have 5 cats (and 2 dogs) inside that we rescued when we were working (all animals in my care are spayed/neutered, etc.). If people would just spay/neuter their animals that would be a major step in the right direction. Anyway, it’s not always the vet’s fault either that they can’t do more. I used to work for several vets. They did cut rates for a rescue group or two but it’s very expensive for the vets too. I don’t know what the answer is.

    • You rescued 7 animals!
      I have always liked vets so I was really surprised to hear they charged Save the Gato who are all volunteers contributing their time and money. But you are right I don’t know the whole story.
      I don’t know the answers either, but I do know that people like you are the solution. It’s quite remarkable that through blogging, I get to meet this community of committed, compassionate people who do so much.
      I’m impressed and grateful.
      Cheers & hugz my friend~

    • Thank you Sheri for such kind words. Interesting isn’t, how animals prefer certain people. We’re communicating on some level were not aware of I guess….Cheers to you & Tom!

  15. Fantastic post!!!
    You know, I wonder if this is the same guy from when I went down there?
    I heard about and went to see these feral cats. I found them and fell in love. The second time I went I took a sack of crunchies.
    As I was about to feed the pussies, he emerged from the cliff and said “I’ll take those!”.
    I only hoped he wasn’t eating them.
    Oh, Cindy, I love Puerto Rico! I could live there!

    • What a synchronisity! You went twice just like Jim & I did. I didn’t see anyman there outside of Jim (my hubby), but I did go to the center and meet one of the woman volunteers. She was wonderful!

  16. What a beautiful tribute to the safe haven for cats in San Juan! Your special guy, Jim, certainly is a ‘cat whisperer!’ I enjoyed this immensely. I particularly liked the baby kitties, caramel tabbies and the calico cat reminded me of my “Phoebe” who resides with my guy friend, Bill.

  17. Funny, feral to me usually means wild and mean but clearly not in this case! Great presentation of some very devoted people and organizations as well as the cuddly cats Cindy!

    • Great to hear from you tina. I am no expert, believe me, but I think feral can just mean without a home and caretaker. These are street or feral cats, but the colony is being cared for, so they are half way I guess. Some of the cats are social and others not at all. The ones out of the group shots tended to be sicker, less cared for, more aloof, and were not in the colony that was receiving more intense care.

  18. The photos are great! Here in Mérida, Mexico the same problem with feral cats exists. It breaks my heart. Luckily, there are so many organizations assisting to help those cats, along with dogs. Public awareness is also growing. Great post!

    • I was in Merida in around 1972 as a kid. Will never forget it. Back then only the people who always lived there, were there, (Yucatecans). There were no tourists that December. I was the only one in my family who spoke Spanish. But I couldn’s master the directions, confused between derecho and izquierda. I would just wing it and choose one.
      We would get lost.
      1/2 the time.
      My daughter was there awhile ago, alone. After studying abroad in Mexico for a year.
      Merida is the entrance to remarkable places. You are so lucky to live there.
      I am so glad people are caring for strays.
      I want to hear more about your life in Merida.
      Thanks for visiting~

  19. I have heard of similar capture-neuter/spay-release programs for feral cats in our region. According to these groups, releasing the feral cats maintains their territories and prevents new cats from moving in. Neighborhood cats (aka feral) used to be the nonrm until post-WWII. I have a post drafted about our barns cats. I’ll explain how cats become domesticated (not ours of course).
    Oscar

  20. We have similar colonies by our Parliament buildings (and I am sure a couple of dozen other places too). None of them look unhappy and the nice weather is a plus.

  21. I love cats! If i wasn’t married, I’d probably be “that old cat lady”…LOL. Mine have such different personalities, but both seem to be so intuitive…. Jim really does seem to be a cat guru! 😀

    • Cats definitely do think on a different plane! I can see how the old cat lady thing happens. Once you start adopting strays, it might be hard to stop! I can’t go to animal shelters for the same reason!

  22. What beautiful eyes that tabby cat has! I find the eyes of cats so mesmerizing sometimes, they really do have some of the prettiest and most striking eyes in the animal world – and lions too! 🙂

    • Yes! Those mesmerizing green eyes. I agree with you. Birds, especially raptors, have incredible eyes too. There eyesight is so much advanced than ours and it shows.

  23. Not a big fan of cats I am , I prefer dogs. but I like how much your cats love you, they’re very loyal to you I think. adorable 🙂

    • There is no way I could have these many cats!!! I would be sneezing constantly! These are homeless cats we made friends with on a trip! Cheers to you and thanks for stopping by!

  24. I met some of these cats last year when I was there. I purchased a gorgeous coffee table book whose proceeds went to their care. Thought it an appropriate thank you gift to my neighbor who was catsitting my 3 former ferals

    • Oh I wish I had known about the book! I would have bought it. I emailed them and sent this post, telling them we would like to donate more than we did at the time of the visit, but never heard back. The book sounds ideal! Maybe a present for my hubby…….

  25. The man is a magnet! So many pretty kitties. I never like seeing an animal sleep on something hard. Happy you shared the knowledge of these organizations. It’s good there are people leaving the world better than they found it.

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