One of the volunteers asked me yesterday if I would miss all the kittens when they were gone from our cat house. She comes in often to pet and cuddle them, and she really misses then when they leave. Me? Easy answer: No.
I’m not heartless, really and truly. But the TNR season has been long and hard – satisfying, yes, but still a challenge – and I’m ready for all the little ones to go off to rescue groups and get great forever homes. THAT makes me very happy. We take really good care of them while they’re with us, but they still live in kitty condos or large dog crates, and they don’t get to run free, sleep in bed with someone who loves them, tear the toilet paper from the holder, and all those other things kittens and cats so love. So I’m glad to see them go and move forward into a better forever future.
Most of the cats are gone now, either back to their colonies, or for the friendlies, off to rescue. Four more go in the next couple days, and that leaves us with the mom and her two babies that we caught last weekend. For reasons that are not yet clear, they aren’t doing great. Because they were living outside we have no idea what their history is, and they stopped eating a couple days ago. They’ve been the the vet, and there is no obvious problem…except that they’re not eating, which is a big problem all by itself. So for the time being I am force-feeding the crew every three hours throughout the day…they get to sleep at night. And if they aren’t eating by Monday morning, I will see about getting them hospitalized so they can get the best supportive care. (I haven’t taken any photos of them to share with you…they are stressed enough right now. )
No, I won’t miss all of these ones when they are gone. I am tired. Many of us are very tired. And our program closes down over the winter months, so the end is near for this year. While some TNR groups go ahead and keep spaying and neutering over the winter, we’re not fond of putting a female cat with a shaved belly out into 20 degree temps. Cats don’t get pregnant during the cold months of the year, so we take a few months off to recover so we can do this all again next year.
One of the goals of a geographically targeted TNR program, like ours, is to get so many cats done that you reach a maintenance-only level. We haven’t gotten there yet, but with almost 900 cats done in the last four years, we think our numbers of intact outdoor cats should start decreasing. That would be good for the cats, and good for us too.
So keep your paws crossed for the momma and babies over the next few days…she’s a sweetie and her kittens are coming around nicely to human touch, so we want to see them perk up and thrive and get great homes, like so many others this season. And then, we are ready for a little rest…maybe even a lot of rest. And some time to catch up with the non-cat parts of our lives.