Mom here. The Furry Bambinos have graciously allowed me to borrow their blog to tell you the story of trapping a colony of 15 feral cats in a local neighborhood. When I left off last time, all 15 cats had been trapped, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated.
The first night we trapped 7 cats on Sunday May 15. They had surgery on Monday, May 16, and recovered overnight in my friend Diane’s Mom’s garage. That night, Monday, May 16, we trapped 5 more cats. Their surgery was on Tuesday, May 17. The last three cats were trapped on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning.
To make things “less complicated”, Diane’s Mom wanted to trap all the cats before releasing any of them so we wouldn’t have to figure out who was who. The problem with this plan was that the feral cats were returned after surgery in cat carriers, with the idea of being released very soon, not in a day or two. So Diane’s Mom cleaned the cat carriers and transferred the cats from a used carrier to a clean one.
One of the feral cats got loose in the garage during one of the transfers.
On Wednesday night, instead of releasing the first 12 cats back into their home territory, we had 11. Believe me, we tried to convince the missing cat to join his brethren for the Big Return. We searched all over the garage (which I have to say, is the CLEANEST garage I have ever seen), but there was no sign of him. So I suggested that he *might* be inside Diane’s sister’s car which was parked in the garage.
Sure enough, there he was, sitting on the engine block. He was so startled to see us, and we were so startled to see him, that we all froze for an instant. Before I could scruff him, he disappeared down into the engine. I donned a pair of gardening gloves, and reached in, trying to scruff the guy. He was so bony and at a weird angle, that all I could feel was his shoulder blades.
And then I felt his teeth, when he turned around and bit me.
OK then. Plan Q: we would set a trap for him and hope he would be hungry enough to get trapped again so we could return him back home. We waited around awhile, but he was not budging from the innards of the car.
We loaded up the other 11 cats in our cars and headed back to their home. Of course, it was cold, windy, and it started raining as soon as we stepped out of the cars with the cats. We carried the cats into the back yard (squish squish squish through the muddy grass), and set the carriers down on the patio.
We unlatched the doors, and swung them wide open.
Free at last!
Free at last!
All but one of the cats shot out and took off headed back to safety of their thicket of shrubs. David carried that carrier closer to the thicket and then the cat sped out and joined his buds. Diane’s Mom returned the other four kittehs to their home a few days later, including Engine Kitty, who did get trapped overnight inside the garage.
Despite all the logistics, the cold, the rain, the dark, and the exhaustion, it felt so good to know that these cats will not be reproducing. They will be healthier, and will no longer contribute to the population of cats in the area.