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Happy Endings Thanks to Carol's Ferals

Underwriting support from:
Erin and Sugar

Erin and Sugar /Carol Manos

After six weeks of separation, Sugar the cat was happily reunited with her owner.  This may not have been possible without the help of a caring bystander, Sugar's microchip, and Carol's Ferals. 

This was the first time Sugar had ever escaped in the five years that Erin Rose owned her.  Erin was very worried about Sugar and was afraid she hadn't survived the escape.  "I thought she was dead," says Erin.  This was in large part because of Sugar's physical limitations.  When Erin first adopted her, both her front and back paws were declawed.  "The birds chase her," Erin told me.  Without her claws to defend herself and to hunt for food, Erin was sure she was a goner.   Little did she know that Sugar was only about a mile away with Sandy, the person who found her.

When Sandy heard of Carol's Ferals, she decided to bring Sugar there.  A phone call to Erin was soon to follow.  Carol Manos (the creator of Carol's Ferals) and her vet determined Sugar must have been someone's lost pet since she was spayed and declawed, and they decided to scan her for a microchip.  This action sealed the deal, and the vet gave Erin a call that day.  "I was amazed," says Erin.  After actively searching for Sugar for four weeks without any luck, she feared the worst.

Besides having a happy ending, this reunion has given Carol ideas about how to help reunite cats and their owners in the future.  "If the cat is previously fixed, it will be marked protocol to have it scanned for a microchip," says Carol.  "And maybe I could do more reunions like this one.  It was a good learning experience because it's never been successful."

For those of you who haven't heard of Carol's Ferals, it is a nonprofit organization that Carol started three and a half years ago.  Her love for cats inspired her to create this nonprofit.  "I started doing the trap-neuter-return thing because I really think it's the only way that we're going to stop this senseless killing of healthy, adoptable animals," Carol told me.  While some of the cats that Carol encounters are just strays and would make great pets, others are feral (wild) and will avoid people.  This is where TNR (trap-neuter-return) comes in.  According to Carol, "Trap-neuter-return is the process of utilizing a humane live trap to capture a cat, have it spayed or neutered...and returning it where it came from."  She says that the term "trap-neuter-release" used to be common, but she advises against using this terminology.  "We want to use only trap-neuter-return because we don't want people putting cats in other places because that's how they get killed, trying to return to their territory, and they will try to get back there."  

Because of Carol's drive and devotion to this cause, about 1,000 cats were fixed last year and almost 900 this year.  Of all of the cats she encounters, only about 2%-3% are fixed.  This means there is a lot of work to be done.  Thankfully, Carol not only has help from other concerned citizens, but also from Dr. Bruce Langlois and Vicky's Pet Connection.  Dr. Langlois performs all of the check-ups and surgeries for the cats that Carol brings to him.  "He does all of my surgeries for me," says Carol.  "He's in...the Animal Hospital of Lowell, and he runs the Spay Neuter Express."  According to their website, "The Spay Neuter Express is a mobile veterinary clinic offering low cost spays and neuters for dogs and cats.  This service is offered for pets owned by low income families, rescue groups, shelters and strays.  It is also for barn and feral (wild) cats and cat colonies."

Vicky's Pet Connection is another local nonprofit that helps to pay for spaying and neutering the cats that Carol (and citizens working with Carol's Ferals) brings to Dr. Langlois.  If it wasn't for their assistance and help from donors, Carol would not be able to do the work she does.  About 75% of surgery costs are covered by funding and donations, and 25% comes out of Carol's own pocket.

In addition to spaying and neutering pets, Carol also adopts out some of the cats she finds. While she has been able to find homes for quite a few of these animals, there are still many waiting to be adopted.  Some cats have been waiting for nearly three years!  Many of these cats are adults.  More often than not, people are more likely to adopt kittens than adults, but Carol advises against this.  If you adopt a cat when it's a kitten, Carol says, " don't know what their personality is going to be like.  If you want a lap cat, you're not going to know it until you get a cat, an adult."

Carol is always willing to loan traps to others who want to trap and fix cats, and she would love to help coach those who are new at TNR.  If you have any questions or would like to know how you can help with donations or volunteering your time, email Carol at [email protected], or visit her website at  While you're there, check out what Carol says about advertising free kittens and spread the word!

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