Rescue Cats & Other Adventures

Operation Catnip, June 14, 2015

With no July clinic, I focused on trapping for the June Operation Catnip clinic to get as many of the neighbor’s cats as possible. I had been feeding them for over a month, and I started leaving traps on the property a few days before so they would get used to the sight and smell. Plus there were the kittens to account for.

Binky checking out a trap
Binky checking out a trap

So I started setting traps at 6PM. And moving traps. And putting out more food. I checked traps as often as possible. I set my alarm to ding every 20 minutes so I knew when to make the rounds. As it got dark, I schlepped a flashlight, blade, food, spoon, trap covers, and traps in the dark. Finally at 12:30AM I did my final rounds and disabled all but two of the remaining empty traps.

I ended up with four adult cats, including tiny Binky. And I also trapped two opossum and a raccoon, none of whom were amused. The opossum just skitter off, but the raccoon pulled two trap covers into the cage and shredded them.

We also got two of the four kittens. And I did trap Mom, but with two kittens still in the wind, we decided to let Mom go to take care of them. Of course the second I released Mom from the trap, she frantically ran and ended up running into another trap. My heart hurts so bad for her.

The cats in traps got lined up in our Furtress of Catitude, out of the elements and covered up. For the kittens I set up our big dog crate with a litter tray, food/water bowls, and a small cardboard box with holes in the side to act as a cave. Most trapped kittens need a safe, quiet place to hide initially while they get used to indoor sounds and smells.

Four cats ready for Operation Catnip
Four cats ready for Operation Catnip

It was painful dragging myself up before the crack of dawn to check the last traps (this was where I found the raccoon) and stacking the cats in traps in my car. After dropping them off at the clinic, I had exactly enough time to come home, have coffee and a shower, take care of our cats, get changed, and head back to the clinic for my afternoon shift.

Four newly nipped cats 6-14-15
Four newly nipped cats 6-14-15 / Clockwise from top left: Mouse, Kevin, Peaches, and Binky

This would be my second clinic working the discharge desk, which is a lot of talking and organization. Instead of the 120 cats we were expecting, we got in 167. Two people brought cats in squirrel traps which got transferred to regular traps. There had been new volunteers at intake so the intake lists got a little goofed up. And I had two new volunteers transporting (getting cats from recovery and bringing them to their caregivers). So needless to say, the paperwork was all goofed up and the afternoon was a little mad.

Afterwards, I hurried my four cats home in my super hot car, driving as fast as I could to get air circulation. Binky had banged her forehead against the crate repeatedly in anxiety, leaving her forehead raw and bare of fur.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, I took food across the street to their usually food tray so they would know it was there. And then one by one, carried the traps across the street and released each of the four freshly nipped cats. Two boys and two girls who were now removed from the breeding cycle.

And of course there’s the kittens now. Two more. Plus about 10 more cats across the street to trap and nip. The next Operation Catnip clinic won’t be until August. We’ll have to find other ways to get these guys taken care of.

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