My family duties fulfilled on Sunday, I spent part of Thanksgiving Day Monday on an old boat grabbing reluctant four week old kittens and trapping the mother cat, whose name originally was Mr. Tibbs, changed to just Tibbs, when it was discovered that Mr. was Mrs.
Many years ago I fed a few feral cats at a building I was working at. One of the kittens, Pebbles, came home with us, and I trapped her mother, had her spayed and returned to where she was living. Eventually those cats disappeared and my husband and I went back to our rescued bunch at home.
Earlier this year I read an article about a colony of feral cats in a boatyard near to us and I contacted one of the caretakers, Aaffien, to see if we could help. More than a dozen feral cats were being cared for by three wonderful women, Aaffien, Sandi and Tory. We started feeding the cats on Sundays and soon I got involved in helping trap. Many of the cats had already been neutered or spayed but there were still more to go. We have two groups, the boat cats, who have permanent feeding stations, and who will come close to you and the tree cats, a much more skittish bunch who live amongt dumpsters and who are fed under a lone tree in the midst of all this. Every day one of us goes down, puts out canned and hard food and fresh water.
Back to Tibbs and her kittens. Yesterday Sandi, Tory and I arranged to meet at the boatyard to try to get Tibbs and her kittens and to sort out a winter plan. I got there a bit early so decided to just put out a trap to see what happened. We've been trying for a while to catch Lily and Tibbs, the two unspayed females of the boat cats, to no avail. Within five minutes Tibbs went into the trap to get the sardines and boom, we got her. I covered the trap and when Sandi and Tory arrived we set about catching the kittens. We knew there were five as we had seen them out on the boat in the last week. I climbed aboard and started grabbing. Luckily at four weeks old they were easy to get although they certainly put up a fuss. One, two, three, four, I handed them to Sandi and into a carrier they went.
Number five was elusive, however, and was hiding at the back of the boat behind some mechanicals. Try as I might, I just couldn't reach the kitten and he or she was not coming out. Sadly, after feeding the other cats, and trying again unsuccessfully, we had to leave the lone kitten behind. Tibbs and her kittens went off to live at the Humane Society until the kittens are old enough to be adopted out. They are young enough that they can be socialized and will make great pets. Tibbs will be spayed and either returned to the colony or will go to live in a barn.
This morning thankfully Aaffien and Sandi managed to captured the lone kitten and he has been reunited with his siblings. Those kittens won't have to live the hard scrap life that the other cats there do and by trapping an unneutered female we prevent possible generations from living on the street.
A very gratifying Thanksgiving.