While walking my dogs (how every good cat story begins) I ran into a neighbor who’s back yard and shed were the very area of my first kitten trapping efforts. The neighbor, Artie, told me about a black cat and her kittens living in his shed. I was shocked and upset to say the least. I knew I had one more male cat, whom I called Boyfriend, left to fix in that area, but I didn’t realize he was importing his ladies. It seemed quite possible the female had come from across the street one block over where the summer before I had tried to trap a litter of kittens, but was asked to stop when the mother decided she did not believe in altering cats. That was a hard experience and I still felt guilty about it, but I could not justify invading someones property because my belief system was different than theirs.
With Artie’s information I reached out Joanne, the person who got my TNR train rolling, and asked her to keep an eye out on the roof behind her house for kittens. Sure enough a few days later I got a call from Joanne letting me know she just saw four kittens playing round in the back by the church. I just happened to be on the train heading home when she called and was able to quickly get home, grab a transfer cage, a trap, and some bait. The kittens were mashed behind a garage and it took the two of us to get them out. Joanne manned the transfer cage closing it each time a kitten ran in. I rustled them out one by one taking breaks in between each kitten so I could transfer it in the the trap so Joanne could use the transfer cage again. All in all we caught three and didn’t see any others, but I thought there were four and we still had the mom out there.
I took the kittens home and set them up in a large kitten playpen and fretted about the mom and kitten who were still out there. I was also stressed out because I had planned to go to Susan’s that night and trap some more with my new friend Jeana. Luckily the kittens didn’t take too long and I was able to load my car up with some transfer cages and trap and head over to Susan’s. Having Jeana help trap is always such a huge change for me. I can set up the traps give her the remote, she talks to the caretaker while I do all of this so I can focus and make sure I’m not missing any steps, and then before I know it we have six cats in their transfer cages and it’s time to go.
The next morning I took the cats to their appointment at Glendale, grabbed a short “cat nap” with the dogs on the couch and headed over to a new site near Susan’s, where Mindy had originated. I had been avoiding this site, it was crawling with cats and made me sick to my stomach. Jeana offered to join me and I was grateful for the company, but worried about how the matriarch of the block and resident cat person would react to another person. . . unfortunately, not well. We were there to check out the site and to possibly trap some kittens who had been coming out and were ready for homes. One set of kittens were at one house, so I ran to go get my trap. Setting up the trap I was able to catch one kitten by just closing the guilotine door behind the kitten.
I ran back to my car to get a transfer cage so we could try for the second kitten and that is when it happened. The caretaker began telling Jeana to let the kitten out and things just got weird. By the time I came back the caretaker was telling me she would only work with me and I just felt so awful. Usually in trapping situations like this I sing the My Little Pony song in my head and it kind of removes all of the emotion from the scene. The My Little Pony song was blaring in my head the by the end, and I hoped this interaction wouldn’t ruin Jeanas enjoyment of trapping. She was able to power through by ignoring the situation, perhaps she has a different song she sings, and we were able to trap one more kitten. One still remained with the mother, and we packed up and headed home.
The other kittens we were supposed to get were not out at the time.
I packed the kittens up stairs and set them up in a second kitten playpen. They had both made a huge ruckus when they were trapped, but seemed rather kind once they had all the food they could eat in front of them.
A few days later I brought Susan’s cats back to her colony and Jeana and her son joined in the fun of letting the cats go home. I feel like Susan was beginning to trust me, a very nice feeling, and the cats were so happy to be home.
Later that week I went back to the site where the second litter of kittens were supposed to be and sure enough there they were. I set up my drop trap with the remote trigger, put some bait in there, and waited for them to go in. I would have taken the mom with the kittens, but she was smart and didn’t feel like going in when the kittens were in the trap. Soon I had two kittens and a beautiful long haired black and white adult cat. I called the caretaker to let her know and then loaded everyone into the car and headed home. The next day I was going to trap with Jeana at the site she had originally contacted me for help with.
We had waited 8 weeks from when she originally emailed me about a very pregnant Community Cat she had fallen in love with. I had missed her email and before we finally got in touch with each other the cat was no longer visibly pregnant. The kittens never emerged so we figured now would be a good time to get the mom. We set up the traps on the semi quiet street, the neighbor allowed us to use her drive way. I think Jeana must be lucky as it was only a short amount of time before we caught our limit, six more cats. Compared to trapping last year where I had to work so hard for each cat, this seemed amazing. We packed everyone up and I headed home to drag the transfer cages up the stairs an into my holding/recovery space.
Stupidly thinking I would easily get another appointment at Glendale, someone always cancels at midnight, I was dismayed when no appointments opened. We had caught one cat over our limit and I was feeling a bit guilty about it. When I went to Glendale that morning it became apparent I would have to find an alternative for one cat. So many people had brought in extra cats that day who were in desperate need of TNR, my extra cat would not fit. It was great to see so many people working hard to get the cats fixed, I guess I had just been spoiled lately by the many cancelations that had been happening the evening before. Luckily Ferals in Peril was able to fit me in, they always seem to have a spot when I really need it.
Back to Jeana’s site: we thought we hadn’t caught the cat she originally emailed me about, but when I checked out at the Glendale Clinic I had a feeling we had. One of the female cats had scarring on her eye, was in her third trimester, and had pyometra . . . rather a train wreck in some serious need of TNR to say the least. Jeana and I went back and forth with pictures she had taken vs. pictures I was taking and we finally conferred, it was her cat. As I am not a veterinarian I cannot speak to the many ailments she had or how she could possibly be in her third trimester so quickly, but she was.
When we brought the cats back a few days later they were thrilled to be home. Some of the neighbors spoke to us originally thinking we were bringing new cats to the area. When we told them what we were actually up to they were thrilled.