I certainly hope so!
It has been a long, strange summer, with most of our time at home consumed by cat trapping operations. When we weren’t actively setting traps (which we did, night and day, for most of the summer, from June 22 to August 25), we were feeding the mommy cat and her kittens and nurturing our relationship with them so that they would stick around and one day be trapped.
But Sunday morning we finally – FINALLY!! – caught the final stray kitten (we caught mommy on Thursday morning), and yesterday the mommy, who we have named Mona, came back from the animal hospital after successfully being spayed.
In all, there were five kittens and their mother living in our yard and our neighbor’s yard and barn. The first two captured kittens live with us, and Moses and Millie have brought much joy into our lives. The next two captured kittens went to live with our friends Lisa and John, who have been working on socializing them. The last captured kitten, who I yesterday named Moxie since she is full of it, needs a home. Perhaps our neighbor’s daughter will adopt Moxie, or perhaps Moxie will go to the Guardian Angels shelter. Moxie is adorable, with longish rabbit-like soft fur, but she will need a patient person to socialize her, since she was trapped at the old age of fifteen weeks. She did respond well yesterday to being handled by our awesome vet and me, so hopefully there is hope for her to be someone’s companion.
As for Mona, the mommy cat – despite my hopes that she was just a scared stray, she seems to be feral. Our vet helped me transfer Mona into the cage yesterday, which involved “scruffing” Mona, and Mona’s frantic response to scruffing led our vet to pronounce that Mona is definitely feral. And last night I thought I’d try gently petting Mona’s nose through the cage, but that made Mona freak out. Frankly, I’m a bit afraid to open the cage to feed her and change her litter, but that needs to be done, so I’ll just have to get up the guts and do it. Mona will stay in that cage as long as we all can stand it (up to ten days) while she recovers from being spayed, and then we will release her into our yard where she hopefully will live out her days. Jim and I will feed her, and our neighbor probably will feed her too, and our neighbor is more than happy to let Mona live in the basement of her barn. So Mona is feral, and her life won’t be as easy as the lives of her kittens, but the good news is that she won’t have any more kittens to worry about; she can focus on taking care of herself now.
And to think this long strange trip all began with me hearing a tiny “mew” in our yard the night of June 8. I’m glad that we saved six lives, and prevented countless more kittens from being born into a tough world, and I love love love Moses and Millie, but I don’t ever want to do this again. I have so much respect for those people who dedicate themselves to trapping and neutering stray and feral cats; I could never do what they do. It would drive me crazy, quite literally.
And I have a renewed appreciation for those awesome people who choose a career as veterinarians. Both Dr. Reiner and Dr. Sager have been so supportive of this operation, and have donated their services to the cause of these homeless cats. Jim and I could never have afforded the unexpected expense of the care of these kitties, and are so grateful to these two doctors for helping us through it.
This will be my last post about cat trapping. I’m sure Moses and Millie, and perhaps Mona, will find their way into other happy cat-related posts in the future, but I never again intend to write about or practice cat trapping. Ever. And on that note, here are some photos of the babies that we have saved. (I wasn’t going to post a photo of Mona in her caged misery, but then I realized that it’s important for all of us to know that feral cats live a miserable life. Please, please, please, spay and neuter your cats!!!)