I have a few updates on the current trapping situations, some progress, some changes.
In a strange twist of events, Mama Kitty was in a trap, but I had to let her go.
I began trying to trap her on April 3, a Sunday, and continued through Wednesday, but she didn’t return again for meals at all after Sunday. On Tuesday night I decided we should stop with the traps and just try to get her back to regular meals so that she would give birth near her home territory.
A friend lives near and was trapping last week also, and we coordinated efforts as her cats were coming to Mama Kitty’s area to avoid the traps in their own area, and as it turns out Mama Kitty was heading there—and finding only more traps. My friend texted me early Friday morning that Mama Kitty was there and was still pregnant, but she said she looked like she was in a panic.
Well, her caretaker sent me the photo above on Saturday morning. “Look who lost weight.” Likely she gave birth on early Friday, and by Saturday morning she was ready for a meal. A mother cat will usually spend the entire first 24 to 48 hours with her kittens, not even getting up to eat or use their litterbox, so she can keep them warm and let them nurse at will. So here she finally showed up at her caretaker’s door and was ready for a good meal in her own home again.
So her rescue moved to Plan B, with several options. Kittens need to nurse about every two hours in their first week or two, and they can’t regulate their body heat, so they can’t keep themselves warm. This is one of the reasons kittens sleep in a pile because that will keep them warmer longer. But there’s nothing like a big old mom curled around you.
This precludes trapping mom at this point unless you know where the kittens are, and we did not. She is still not coming around regularly when the caretaker is there, but she is coming at other times because my friend and I have seen her. But Plan B at the moment consists of just getting her lots of good food and helping her to feel comfortable and safe again so that she keeps her kittens nearby.
The other mom cat
The cat at the top of the article and above is one my friend is trying to trap. She heard kittens somewhere in her yard and one cat she trapped was lactating so she was likely the mother. Rescuers have been using a tracking tile on a breakaway collar with nursing mothers that they can trap, then when released the mother cat heads right for her kittens and trappers can track them with the GPS chip in the tile.
Often the mother cats are found to be lactating when they are prepared for surgery at the clinic. In this case my friend knew the kittens were quite young and couldn’t be without mom, so she put the tracking tile on her and released her without spaying, and found where the kittens were but now still trying to trap mom. Kittens are about two weeks old and at her house she is using them and food to try to trap mom.
And because I amused myself and this kitty by taking her photo as part of my trapping process, here are a few more photos of her. Talk about camouflage!
Trapping Mama Kitty
We tried to coordinate the feedings with Mama Kitty’s caretaker because the second mom cat would never go into her trap if there was free food elsewhere. So Mama Kitty’s caretaker tried to put food out only when he saw them and take it away when they were done, or if they hadn’t eaten it, then we’d set traps for the second mom.
She didn’t have the time to prepare the kittens to use as bait for trapping mom at Mama Kitty’s place, so we were setting traps with food there. My friend asked if I could check the traps on Wednesday, so I went down mid-afternoon to find the caretaker had closed the traps when he went for work.
I also saw the second mother cat lolling around in the parking lot. I set traps close enough to her and was surprised I could get that close, then went back to my car intending to move it and hide myself for a bit. She was already checking out one of the traps, but she never went in that one or the other in the two hours I was there. We did amuse each other, though, as she modeled for me and I photographed her.
I set the traps in sheltered areas and went home for a while, returning around 11:00 at night. I found the first trap under the trailer, empty, food at the edge not even touched, but the second trap behind the building was closed! Yes, a kitty was in there but it looked like it might be Mama Kitty’s older kitten who hangs with her all the time.
To my surprise it was Mama Kitty, calmly eating dinner! She looked up at me then went back to it. This was the cat who busted out of traps twice and skillfully avoided a lot of others, in a trap!
But where are the kittens?
I thought how ironic it was and almost released her right away. I had no idea where the kittens were, and within a week of their birth they could not be without her overnight. But releasing her was easier said than done.
I stood there looking at her (and had no idea the photo I’d taken of her was pretty flashed out), and decided to message a few people. If I could find her kittens, if I could find someone to help me find her kittens, I could take her. But then I’d also have to find a foster for a feral mother with nearly newborn kittens. So I spent the next three hours watching her, watching for the second mother cat, looking and listening for kittens, and contacting everyone local I could think of, explaining my predicament. Everyone agreed they’d let the cat go, and no one was able at that time to come help me look for her litter.
At about 2:00 am I knew I’d exhausted all possibilities of finding kittens and keeping her. I decided it was time to release her and go home myself. I walked over to the trap, and at that point it was the easiest thing in the world to just open the trap and let her run. I watched where she headed, and let her caretaker know later.
So that’s where we are with Mama Kitty. We will continue looking for her kittens
The caretaker called to let me know that a neighbor had managed to trap both Snowy and the kittens! I don’t know the person but she seemed to have some trap savvy and a drop trap. The caretaker said she does plan to get everyone fixed and vetted prior to adoption.
The caretaker mentioned an intact black male cat who needed to be trapped and I’ll catch up with him when I also trap the mother and kittens down the street from there.
A note about my cat rescue activities
I’ve been at this one way or another since about 1980, and I’ve just accepted that rescuing cats is a permanent part of my life. I try to be very careful with my time to be sure I meet all my deadlines and have the time to create the artwork and gift items I sell, but rescuing cuts into both my income and my time. However, if I have the skills to help a cats and people who need it, and no one else is available, I am happy I can do that for them.
We do have our Cubbage Hill Cats fund, but I don’t use that for cats outside of our neighborhood. If you’d like to help me keep things going or contribute money for goods, you can do that by visiting www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net and purchasing one of the things I make. If you’d like to donate, my Paypal address is email@example.com and my Venmo is @Bernadette-Kazmarski. For other ways of donating or contributing, send me an email: bernadette at bernadette-k dot com, and thanks for helping!
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Tuesday: Rescue Stories
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