Yesterday was one of those triumphant but sad days, a day of making tough decisions.
Aaffien and I set out early in the morning to make one more effort at trapping Lily. We could tell for the last couple of weeks that she was pregnant and have tried repeatedly to trap her. Cats aren't supposed to get pregnant in the winter, it makes no sense to have kittens in February but it's been a mild winter and she's been fed regularly.
When we first arrived at the yard there was no sign of Lily, which was very unusual. After waiting around for a bit, we decided that we may as well try to trap someone else so we moved over to the pontoon. Within ten minutes we had Issac thrashing around in the trap. Now we think Issac is a male and may have already been neutered and since Lily (or another female) was our real target, we let him go. Now that we have to pay for the spaying and neutering out of our own pocket, we have to be a little more choosy.
We went back to the boats and there was Lily. They hadn't been fed the day before and not much on Sunday so they were definitely hungry. We baited the trap with Fancy Feast, a perennial cat favourite, and stood back.
We watched as Lily ventured into the trap, then out, then in again and finally, holding our breaths the whole time, it slammed shut behind her. We covered the trap and she immediately calmed down.
We took her off to the vet and made the tough decision to have her spayed and the kittens aborted even though her pregancy was advanced. I know some feel it was a controversial decision but it was not one we made lightly or without some tears shed.
If she had the kittens they might not have survived and if they did then what. Either we try to remove them from Lily at an age where they are old enough to survive without her but young enough to socialize and then try to find homes for them or they live out harsh lives as feral cats and we have to try to trap and spay/neuter all of them to prevent future generations of feral cats.
I believe spayed Lily saved the lives of living cats and kittens. There are already too many cats without homes, and cats being euthanized every day at shelters, that every new kitten born means the death of an existing cat or kitten waiting for a home.
It doesn't mean right decisions aren't hard decisions.