After getting Sassy fixed I returned the trap to the trap bank and went about my days as normal. J had mentioned at one point the neighbor across the street was feeding many cats and had a litter of kittens. Casually I asked if maybe J could speak to the woman and let her know I would be happy to help. Not long after I got a text from J letting me know the neighbor, C. did need help and wanted me to take the kittens. They all had eye infections and she couldn’t handle it anymore. Taking a carrier with me I walked to C’s house and spoke with her. She was very kind and also very overwhelmed with all of the cats she was caring for. C scooped the seven week old kittens up, loaded them into the carrier and shut the door. I did a quick sight visit and promised to come back soon when I had appointments and traps.
Vlad and I took the kittens to the Animal Care Center right away knowing they needed veterinary care immediately if they were to survive. It wasn’t the best experience I have had in my life, the intake person told us the kittens were seven months old and said some very odd things about how we should have brought the mother in with the kittens. I told the person the mother was feral and that wouldn’t be appropriate, but he didn’t seem to understand. We left worried and uncomfortable for the kittens. The only comfort was upon intake we were given tracking numbers for the kittens; at any time we could call the ACC and check in on the progress of their health and adoption status. Not long after, about two weeks the kittens were all adopted into new homes. As I write this blog entry nearly a year later I would not take the kittens to the ACC knowing what I know now and having the connections I have now, but at the time this seemed like our only option to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these kittens.
I scheduled appointments for the colony and waited. I now knew about the cancelations and how to refresh, but I still didn’t realize dog appointments could be used as cats. I finally got four appointments for June 15th and came back to trap with more rented traps. This time I used traps from Neighborhood Cats as their trap bank was much closer and easier for Vlad and I to get to. A heavily pregnant cat sat in the drive way when I arrived and I followed directions given to me by Lois from Neighborhood cats to set up the bottle string technique to catch her as she was a priority. Another cat, Rusty, kept trying to go in the trap and getting Oreo, the target, was a bit difficult. Finally Oreo went in far enough and I pulled the bottle to set the trap. Because she was pregnant I didn’t want to wait any longer than necessary. I reached out to Ferals in Peril and they were able to fit Oreo in. It was very good we did get her fixed as she had ovarian cysts on both sides and must have been feeling rather crummy.
I returned to the site the next day and caught three more cats. It was wild, I set the traps and they went right in. Originally the caretaker and I discussed withholding food, but when I got there, there was a large plate of dry food. Considering that it seemed crazy to me that the cats were still going into the traps. The caretaker and I set up many traps all around the yard to give them choices and had barely sat down to talk when one snapped closed, and then another one. One even closed without us hearing it and we didn’t realize a cat was in the trap until we peaked under the sheet. I tried to catch the mother of the kittens we had taken to the ACC earlier, but wasn’t getting anywhere so I decided to call it a day and packed up.
Over the next few days I worked very hard to catch the mother cat, but was still not able to. I did catch Little One, possibly one of Sassy’s kids from across the street, but still no Mommy. All of the cats I had caught went to their appointments the next day and at 11am I got a call from the ASPCA. The cat I had called Guy had a growth in his mouth and it was recommended he be put to sleep. I consented and was very grateful he hadn’t starved to death slowly from the growth. Guy hadn’t looked well when I trapped him and was actually one of the reasons the caretaker wanted me to trap. She had noticed he had stopped eating the day before and was bleeding a bit from his mouth. It was sad to tell her, but we were both grateful to have stopped any suffering he might have experienced.
When I picked the cats up later that day one of the traps was sadly empty. When I checked out the remaining cats with the vet tech I was told Rusty had Pyometra and ligatures on both ovaries. It was thankful we had caught her when we did as we most likely saved her life. I also found out that Little One had been pregnant, I felt like we saved many kittens by getting Little One fixed before her first litter, it could have been a disaster and overwhelming for all involved to have had to deal with Oreo and Little One’s kittens.
I still needed to catch Mommy, it’s the second main reason the caretaker had wanted me to trap and I felt as if I was letting her down. I spent a whole day in C’s back yard trying to catch Mommy. I did everything I could and tried every bait I could find in the Russian smelly fish isle. She was very wary of the trap and would disappear each time I entered the back yard. Several times I almost caught her. One time the trap stuck when when I tried to set it off using the water bottle technique, it had gotten too humid and froze up after a heavy rain. At another point she just wasn’t in far enough to pull the trigger. I finally was able to get her in by placing a blue tarp from a nearby dog kennel over the live trap to make it feel more like home.
With shaking hands I called Ferals in Peril to see if they had any cancelations and luckily they did. I took Mommy to her appointment the next day and was thankful to have her fixed and returned to her caretaker.
During this whole process I was having to check out traps and return them. Vlad and I decided we couldn’t take it anymore we needed to buy some traps of our own. I looked online and the best price I could find was through HayNeedle.com. We opted for the 36in Neighborhood Cat Trap and were glad the delivery was free for orders over $49.