The TNR Project: The Next Exciting Installment

Sammy's two kittens
Sammy’s two kittens

I was just about to publish Monday’s post when I got a call from the feeder that the original black and white mom is in a trap in the house. I added that and then later added an update about…kittens! I decided to make a new post about it in case anyone missed it.

The black and white mom

The black and white mom
The black and white mom

The kitty looked just like the original mom but looked far smaller than I remembered her. In size, I would guess her age at probably a little less than a year old. We knew that she was female, and also had an appointment for a spay on Wednesday. She went with Sammy, in her trap, in the back of my car. Doesn’t everyone have feral cats in traps in the back of their car?

We wanted to set another trap in the house, but the only one we had free was one that reliably did not work. Sammy was in one that did work, so we set about transferring Sammy to a carrier, then from the carrier to the trap that didn’t work; she was not friendly and is much easier to handle in a trap. In the process she was jostled around, and after we covered her and put the other cat in trap next to her in the back of my car she began meowing. When I checked she was panting a bit and her tongue was bright pink, early symptoms of heat stroke. I put the other cat in trap in my back seat, uncovered Sammy’s trap and left the back door of my car open, and gave her a dish of water and some food with water mixed in, and within minutes she was done panting but still looked a little desperate. I remarked when I first heard the meowing that I hoped she wasn’t going into labor from all the activity.

Later, back in my driveway, I opened the car windows and the back window so they two cats could get air. My neighborhood is quiet and my driveway is surrounded by trees with birds singing. The day had been cloudy and cool with a nice breeze, so they were about as comfortable as two feral cats in the back of a car could be…but I was concerned for the little black and white one, and keeping an eye on Sammy though she showed no recurring signs of heat stroke and had eaten well.

On Monday morning the black and white cat looked healthy and alert, but was not eating anything, strange for being trapped in the house for a week. I messaged Margo later about the black and white cat, wondering if I should actually take the cat to the clinic to be sure it wasn’t suffering the aftereffects of being trapped for a week, though I’m sure they had some access to water and probably to mice or voles.

Margo asked if I wanted to take them to her house as she had space with two cats adopted. I told her it was probably the weirdness of suddenly being in the back of a car and they might actually do better overnight. They still had their spay appointments on Wednesday, and I’d give them until morning to see if the black and white ate, if not I’d bring them to her in the morning, then reconsidered and felt they’d be better off inside a house with controlled temperatures and noise and more space than inside a car. I took them out Monday night.

Sammy with a “big tail”

Tuesday morning Margo messaged with photos of…kittens! At first she thought Sammy just had a big tail, which she did, but then she saw two little beans. They look like a black kitten and a gray and white. Surprise!

UPDATE: Unfortunately, we lost the little gray one Wednesday night. When kittens fail so soon there is very little you can do. Usually it means their body either wasn’t ready to live outside its mother, or something is physically wrong with the kitten that it would likely not have survived. The black kitten seems to be doing well.

Later Tuesday I went out to Margo’s house to pick up the black and white cat since she could weather her overnight fast before surgery in the back of my car, and I could get her to the shelter earlier. I’d been looking at my original photos of the black and white mom from last September and comparing the markings on her face with those of the black and white cat we’d trapped. This cat could be a daughter of that cat, but random asymmetrical markings are rarely repeated exactly, and the off-center stripe, the black nose in the middle of white, the fluting at the top of her blaze, it had to be that original mom cat.

Comparing her face with my photo, we agreed she was.

That was a relief! I knew that mom was around somewhere, even if she had gone off to a new site, and I didn’t want to risk leaving her behind if we couldn’t find her.

She also looked pregnant. Quite pregnant. She was round and her abdomen was pretty hard with more than the usual internal organs, it seemed to me.

So Sammy stayed at Margo’s house and the black and white mom went with me. I took her to her spay appointment this morning and picked her up six hours later and found she wasn’t pregnant, she wasn’t lactating, if she’d been pregnant it was a while ago.

Another relief—we didn’t have to search any abandoned houses looking for kittens. If there were older kittens they would have come to the feeding station. This mom had had her last litter.

Moving forward

We still need to trap Big Daddy and the other juvenile black cat, both presumably males. I will be taking the females to the barn this weekend: Tabby and Sammy have kittens so they won’t go, and Betsy’s foster said she is becoming quite friendly, so she’s on the line.  That would leave four females to go. We still have the two males to trap, and fosters for males are difficult because most cats react to them being in or near the house, even when the don’t see them, so options are narrow. I will trap them when I find somewhere to take them because I really don’t want them in the back of my car!

Updated list

The list changed from the original list of cats to be trapped again. We have three more adults to trap, and because they’ve eluded the traps over the past few days I will now borrow a drop trap.

Here is where we stand with all the cats involved in this project:

BW mom (Penelope)
Tabby mom
Braveheart look alike (Betsy)
longhaired black mom (Koshka)
original black and white mom

10-week white with black spots (Domino, caught by feeder before we started) (Penelope)
10-week black (Penelope)
10-week tux (Penelope)
10-week gray/white (Penelope)
2-week tabby (Tabby)
2-week tabby (Tabby)
2-week tabby (Tabby)
2-week tabby (Tabby)
newborn black (deceased) (Koshka)
newborn black (deceased) (Koshka)
newborn tabby (deceased) (Koshka)
newborn tabby (deceased) (Koshka)
newborn gray/white (deceased) (Koshka)
newborn tux (deceased) (Koshka)
newborn black (Sammy)
newborn gray and white (deceased) (Sammy)

Big Daddy
young adult black male

Help with costs for these cats and others

If you have donated, please let me know!

Homeless Cat Management Team

You can make a donation to the Homeless Cat Management Team (HCMT) and let them know it’s for these cats and send me the receipt—I will send you a gift certificate.

HCMT is a 501c3 and all donations are tax-deductible. Visit the website at


Send directly to Paypal:

Mail your donation

Send a check to:
Homeless Cat Management Team
P. O. Box 100203
Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Pittsburgh C.A.T.

Pittsburgh C.A.T. is not a 501c3 but all donations go directly into cat care. Raising the litter of five kittens including surgeries for all and mother, vaccinations, any illnesses that come up, all adds up to hundreds of dollars. You can use Paypal: If you’d like to send a check, please ask and I’ll give you the address. Send me a receipt.

Donate for a Discount

To donate to me, visit this article on Portraits of Animals which explains how to donate to me for a purpose. I will send you a gift certificate in an amount as described in the article: from $5.00 for donating $25.00 to $20.00 for donating $100.00.


Read other articles about this project

Help With a TNR Project

Update on the TNR Project: Kittens! and Almost Done

TNR Update: Kitten Family Reunited, and Clinic Day

Update on the TNR Project: Trapped in Another House, and Two Boys Left

I may continue to be a little scattered with posting as long as I’m working on this, and other rescues. Thanks for your understanding!

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