This rescue hits a bit closer to home for me–literally. It was April 9th when Cat Man Chris popped into my office to see if I wanted to accompany him. Where, you ask? Another cat rescue–sigh, poor kitties. But this one was different because I had actually instigated it, so was happy to help see it through. While out shopping a month or so ago, a woman in line at the store saw some of my cat “merch”. As usual with ailurophiles, it sparked cat conversations. Turns out she only lived a few streets from us and had a pregnant cat she’d seen near her home. We exchanged info and hadn’t heard from her since. Then Chris got an email stating the mama had given birth. Now she needed help getting the newborn kittens out from under a nearby shed.
We grabbed our trapping gear and set out to save the family of felines–not knowing what we’d find.
Mere minutes later we arrived at the home and met with the woman. They lived right next to the entrance of a farm where there was a number of roaming wildlife. Guineas ran around the yard with a young calico cat in tow. This however was NOT the feline we were after–that day, but her day will come next. What worried us all the most, was the packs of wild coyotes and hogs that roamed the field next to her home.
It is likely due to these predators that the pregnant feline had chosen the secluded spot to have her babies. Across the street, was a shed raised about a foot off the ground. Here, Mama Kitty as she was named, was hiding with her babies. But the shed was very large. There would be no way we could reach the kittens should they be centered under the structure. And what if we could reach the kittens, but not catch the mama? No one wanted that outcome.
Turns out Mama Kitty was actually very friendly and came to the woman for her daily meals. She and the other feline were fed on TOP of the woman’s car. We figured this would make her more easy to trap but had to make sure we could reach the kittens. Our initial plan would be to get the kittens and use their cries as “bait” for their mama to join them.
Shining a flashlight under the shed we were able to easily see Mama Kitty.
Thankfully she was situated right near the side of the shed, next to a wall of stacked bricks. But that’s what Chris works out for, right?! Moving bricks! Don’t worry, I helped with a few, filmed and supurrvised. HAHA As soon as we were able to move the pile we were greeted with a little mound of healthy kittens.
There were 3 little ginger nuggets huddled together about a foot from the opening. Cat Man Chris carefully pulled them out one at a time. We thoroughly checked for any other siblings but 3 was the magic number here.
They all looked clean–barely any fleas even which is shocking for strays in Florida. None of them had any medical issues that we could see, again super relieving. The boys, (gingers usually are male), were maybe about a week old.
But there was one thing they were all missing that would render our plan to trap mama useless.
None of the 3 tiny ginger kittens meows could be heard!
All of them had a little adorable mouth opening attempt at a meow, but it was barely audible. We left the carrier door open with the neonates inside hoping she’d walk in and join them. Don’t laugh, it has happened! =) After about 20 minutes, she refused to go near it still.
There would be no luring mama in with their mews now, so we needed to reassess.
Because she was so friendly, we brought out the drop trap and set it with stinky food. We placed it on the car, near the car and in her normal “food” spots. Mama Kitty was happy to accept our tasty treats and danced around us for a while. But while she was intrigued by the food, the other little calico girl was interfering. So we moved the now tempting trap loaded with food back by the shed.
It was only about 10 minutes later that I heard the door drop and saw Chris bolt towards the cage. He covered it with a towel to keep Mama Kitty from getting more scared. We had arranged for mama and her babies to stay with one of our amazing foster friends, Rebecca Williams.
Upon originally speaking to the woman, Chris had agreed to have mama spayed after the kittens were done nursing. She would then be returned to her lifestyle at the home, hopefully becoming an indoor kitty. The kittens will be adopted out when old enough.
So world, meet Bill, Charlie and Percy, the ginger trio.
The kittens are all doing great in Rebecca and Mama Kitty’s care. We lent Rebecca our PetCube so she could monitor the family without disturbing them as well. Mama Kitty is a wonderful mom but thankfully won’t have to do it ever again.
She did growl a bit a Rebecca, which actually makes us feel a bit better about her going back to her original home. She may be a bit more feral than she originally let on, now that she’s seen the indoor life. At least there will be no more litters from her and these 3 babes have a chance at a safe life away from nature’s dangers.
REMEMBER: Spay, neuter, foster, volunteer, TNR and as always ADOPT don’t shop!
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