My DMP has been manifesting nicely. One aspect is my work with feral cats. If you follow my main blog, you know I’ve been working toward catching Zelda to get her spayed. I know Zelda is the mama cat for Sapphire, Nick, and Daisy. I’ve begun to suspect she’s the mama cat for Walter and Junior. Daisy is from her latest litter, which, based upon game camera photos, was born September 30 (Zelda was absent from the camera that day).
I knew I had to get Zelda captured and in to be spayed before she had yet another litter, but we didn’t want to leave any unweaned kittens. Trying to catch her over Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t going to be good, because my veterinarian and staff were closed to enjoy the holiday. That meant Monday, November 28, was the day to begin in earnest attempting to trap Zelda and Nick.
I put the trap on the porch on Sunday to familiarize them with it. Monday morning, I stepped outside with a newspaper and a can of Fancy Feast, Nick and Zelda’s favorite. Nick and Zelda watched me set up and bait the trap. Zelda started eating her way in but backed out. Nick took her place, and (as I expected) he quickly trapped himself. Zelda watched. I covered the trap and headed for the veterinary clinic. They got Nick captured and checked in for his health check, neutering, and vaccinations. I took the trap and returned home. I walked back onto the porch with the trap and the rest of my can of Fancy Feast. Zelda watched me set it up, then she cautiously began eating, then backed out. She worked her way in and backed out. I went back into the house, and no sooner had I stepped into the parlor than I heard the trap trip. I covered it up and took Zelda to the clinic.
I have never had such an easy time trapping cats as I did yesterday, but it happened just as I’d visualized it.
Later in the afternoon, I saw Boomer on the porch. Was this too good to be true? I’ve been trying to catch this cat for two years, and last month he’d inexplicably began letting me pet him while he ate Fancy Feast. I grabbed a carrier and went outside to pet him while he ate, then I gently but firmly scruffed him and tucked him into the carrier. I took him to the clinic. The sad news is Boomer tested positive for feline leukemia and FIV. I expected this, because this poor kitty had been so clearly ill for some time, so I stayed with him while he was put down.
Nick, thankfully, at six months old, passed his FIV test, was neutered earlier in the afternoon, got his vaccinations, and he was ready to come home. The clinic staff put him into the carrier, and we came home. I released Nick to take care of his little sister last night while I await the fate of Zelda today. Nick and Daisy spent last night with each other on their first night without their mama. It’s mid-afternoon, and I’ve not heard from the clinic yet. I’m operating on the “no news is good news” theory that, since I didn’t have a phone call from them, that Zelda passed her FIV test, too. It could be the clinic got really busy today, and she hasn’t been tested yet, so until I get good news, I’m apprehensive.
I have (had) five cats in my colony. Walter has been neutered for three years and is well. Daisy is too young yet, but she seems healthy. I needed to catch Boomer (already suspecting he wouldn’t make it), Zelda, and Nick. That manifested perfectly yesterday. I now know I have a healthy outdoor cat colony. Walter, Nick, and Daisy for sure. I have high hopes for Zelda. I dearly want her to be able to enjoy her “retirement” from having kittens.
Four is a comfortable size for my immediate neighborhood. There are some down the street who venture to my feeder, and at some point, I may work with the man where these cats live to get them spayed or neutered to stop the explosive growth, but for now, my colony is safe and protected. That had to be my first priority.