Mom here, again. The Furry Bambinos graciously allowed me to borrow their blog to tell you this story. When I left off last time, what we had been told were “six or eight friendly kittens” turned out to be at least eleven adult feral cats in need of TNR before they started reproducing. TNR stands for “Trap Neuter Return” which is the best solution to manage the population of a colony of feral cats.
After much discussion regarding logistics, we borrowed eight humane traps from the Cleveland APL, and returned the following Sunday evening at 6:00 with more Stinky Goodness. It was raining, windy, and cold. The newspapers we used to line the traps kept getting blown around, and some of the traps were so sensitive that just picking them up would trigger them to close. Not optimal trapping conditions, to say the least. We set out the traps, and returned to our cars to wait. Nothing. So we left to grab dinner, dejected that we would catch any cats that night.
We returned an hour later to find four cats in traps! Woo-hoo!
We covered each trap with a towel, and instantly the cat inside quieted down. We transferred the trapped cats to our cars to keep warm and dry. After moving the remaining traps to different locations, we were able to trap three more cats before it got too dark to see what we were doing. We were pleased to have caught seven feral cats, but we counted at least five more, including a few clever ones who managed to eat the food without stepping on the trigger.
We brought the cats in the traps back to Diane’s Mom’s house, where we set them in the garage overnight.
Here are photos of the cats we trapped that night. Kitteh #1 is a long-haired orange and white male (I think). Orange cats are usually male.
Kitteh #2 looked to be a Siamese flame point mix.
Kitteh #3 is an orange tabby with some white on his chest.
Kitteh #4 is a long-haired brown tabby with white bib.
Kitteh #5 is a long-hair dilute calico female.
Kitteh #6 is a black, gold, and white calico female. Do you see two other sets of glowing eyes in this photo?
Kitteh #7 is a different orange tabby male.
We returned Monday night, May 16 (Panda Bear and Meerkat’s birthday) with five more traps, and with a nifty Drop Trap as well. Again, it was cold, raining, and windy, making trapping conditions less than optimal. The ground was saturated after weeks of rain, so there was a lot of squish squish squish through muddy grass.
I now have a new definition for Insanity: Standing in the bushes, in the dark, in the rain, holding the pull cord to the Drop Trap, and trying to trap a solid black cat! We gave up trying to trap the black cat in the dark, but did manage to trap five others. But we saw at least three more cats, including “Blackie”, the solid black cat with a noticeable limp.
Diane’s Mom and her friend were able to catch the last (we hope) three cats, and all have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped. Ear tipping is the universal symbol that a feral cat has been neutered and vaccinated. It is done while the cat is under anesthesia. It is done so that if they get trapped again, they won’t go in for surgery because the ear tip will indicate that they have already been neutered and vaccinated.
We were worried that Blackie might be euthanized due to his limp, but the APL did not note anything wrong with the paw. We had implored the APL staff to let Blackie live, since the property is on a quiet dead-end side street. So either Diane’s Mom caught a different black cat (not Blackie with the limp) or Blackie’s limp was not due to a fracture. We’ll never really know.
Next, releasing feral cats back in their home territory!