We’ve gotten an early start on the trapping season this year. The winter was so warm that the female cats were in heat in January…very unusual for these parts. Kitten season will no doubt start early too. We trapped our first cats a few weeks ago, and are getting ready for another clinic this coming week.
Some people exercise to release those endorphins and get a natural high. Those of us who trap cats for TNR programs get a huge high from actually getting our cats. Cats are smart creatures, and actually managing to get them in our traps is sometimes tedious, frustrating, and ultimately, very satisfying.
Don’t get me wrong. I feel for the cats, even in the midst of my adrenaline rush. We usually have to withdraw food for a day in order to get them into the traps, so they’re hungry, and they are scared to death in this box that will be their home for up to a week. The towels that we cover them with help, and give them some sense of security, but let’s face it…this is a scary experience for the poor things.
We call trapping weeks “spa weeks” probably in part to alleviate our guilt for the kitties. But we do all of this, ultimately, for the good of the cats, and to prevent more kittens from being born outside in harsh conditions. Not to mention preventing the poor female cats from being pregnant endlessly, up to three times a year. It has to be hard on a cat’s body to be pregnant for two months, nurse for the next two months, and then get pregnant all over again. Then winter comes and the reproductive process takes a break, but only if it’s cold enough outside. You’ll rarely get a feral cat to come live indoors. The transition is more than most will ever manage. The best we can do is keep the numbers of cats who have to live outside as low as we can.
Sometimes, in the TNR process, we also encounter dumped cats…cats that folks thought they could just toss away when they moved or no longer wanted the cat. We’ve got one of those this time. The poor thing was so hungry she ate four bowls of food last night, and she’s a purring machine. She got herself a dog crate instead of a trap for being so friendly, and if it keeps up, we’ll see if she can go into an adoption program instead of back outside. You have to wonder what gets into people that they think cats are throw-away items.
You never know what you’ll capture during a TNR trap week. We’ve spayed/neutered/vaccinated over 900 cats since December 2012 at this point. Might hit 1,000 this year. But the surprising thing…maybe the good thing…is that we haven’t been getting many calls for TNR help so far this year. It’s early…I’m not counting any chickens, or any cats for that matter. But it would be fabulous if our work is resulting in fewer cats who need our services. That’s the ultimate goal.
In the meantime, it is “here kitty, kitty!” On the list this week is one cat with an injury, and we can get him vet care and his neuter all at the same time, and hopefully make his life a lot easier. We have three of the seven on the schedule for this week at this point. Hopefully tonight a few more will decide to come hang out with their buds.