It was supposed to be a very simple trapping situation. One cat, eating like crazy – three times a day at least – but very thin. My mind jumped to parasites, or diseases like FIV/FELV, but my trapping buddy thought otherwise. “Maybe she’s nursing.”
Naw…the caretakers saw her multiple times a day and had been feeding her for months. They would know about kittens.
My first clue that I might be wrong (again) was that she looked pretty healthy when I saw her. Very petite, but lively and not scraggly or looking ill. But I can be dense. I was dense yesterday.
I set up a trapping situation, the normal one we would use for a feral cat, and thought nothing more about it. Until the caretakers called me a few hours later: “She’s here with a kitten!” Cue the adrenaline. A kitten changes everything.
“Watch for a couple days and let’s see if we can find out how many kittens she has,” we instructed. About three hours later…mom and four or five kittens are all playing on the neighbor’s front porch. Neighbor is out of town, nice quiet property, perfect play area for the gang.
8:00 at night, but all the cats are right there in front of us. Not trying to trap them was out of the question, so my trapping buddy, P. – cat whisperer and trapper extraordinaire – arrived with kitten traps and off we went. First kitten trapped…easy peasy. The other ones were a little too smart, and figured out how to get the food without triggering the trap. But they didn’t leave the area, and momma watched over the whole process very cautiously.They were hungry, and that beat out any thoughts of running away.
For us, the adrenaline was running strong by now. It is like those potato chips – you can’t have just one. As long as there were more kittens to be gotten, energy ran high. Though it was P’s energy that was highest. We watched her moving traps and checking traps, figuring out where the cats were…the trapping ballet, really. And the caretakers and I sat on the curb watching the expert performance.
Second kitten caught at 10, after I’d taken kitten #1 to our cat house and set up a kitten crate for the expected guests. Momma was caught by our trapping wiz around 11:30 pm. The kittens are weaned and old enough to be on their own, so those still trapping at the wee hours called it a night.
We have traps set today, and one little black kitten who outsmarted us last night ended up in a trap today – woo hoo. Unlike his two siblings above, who are mostly just scared, this guy means business, as you can tell from his photo below. He not only hisses, but he also slaps – hard. He’s gonna take a little extra work and some kevlar gloves to get him socialized.
There looks to be one more little orange kitty, who has been hanging out on the limb of a bush most of the day. Still working to get that one, and hoping he comes out after dark tonight. The kittens look to be about 2 months perhaps, young enough to socialize and get into adoption programs. Hopefully we can get them all off the street.
And the late breaking news of the evening: we had another trapping request from someone not all that far from the mom and kittens we’ve been trapping. Looks like it is the same mom and kittens that we’ve got, so one less trapping situation to tackle…more adrenaline and a happy dance too.
We thought we were going to have a little break between trapping sessions, an empty cat house for a week. Fat chance! Like I said, I was dense yesterday, or maybe just doing some wishful thinking. But what’s a cat house without cats anyway, right? Especially without kittens…who can resist kittens??