Trap-Neuter-Return Part 5

cathouse

So the kitty condo is done! Well, almost. We’re still going to add a coat of paint to it to hopefully keep it nice. The instructions on how to build it were pretty simple, but it did take a day to complete. Now that we’ve done one I’m sure that the next one will go by a lot quicker if we need to build a second one.

We put it out last night and someone definitely was sleeping in it for a bit! So glad that someone will be able to use it.

I’ve offered to help our local TNR group when they need it, so I’m sure I’ll be updating more and more as I go along this new kitty adventure.

Trap-Neuter-Return part 4

Part of accepting responsibility for community cats by having them neutered and spayed is to have a place for them to live. Letting them live under the house where they were born seemed like a fine idea at first. However, it was brought up that we might pay the price of convenience by having a flea problem. So, the alternative is building a cat house.

The plans we got were from fivercats. The cost of the materials was about $100.00, but we actually spent about $200 because we bought some new tools. There are some prefabricated houses out there, but this one really does seem to be the most well thought-out house for outside cats. So my husband and I delved into building a cat house.

We spent about 2 hours making the house and roof, but we made a slight miscalculation so the roof isn’t fitting. It won’t be too hard of a fix, but we decided to rest on it and finish tomorrow. Pics to come!

Meanwhile our momcat “Scrugs” and two kittens “Sparkles and Princess” were chowing down in front of the house, and the other male cat came by tonight. I guess we’ll set the trap out for him.

It looks like more cat-house building might be in our future.

 

Trap-Neuter-Return Part 3

On Wednesday I set everything up at around 4:00PM to catch them. The Tomcat was in the trap within an hour. So I covered him up and put him in our carport.  I knew that I would be in for a tussle moving the awkwardly long cage, but it is quite frightful to move an 11 pound tomcat as he hisses and pops and thrashes around. I put him on the back carport, kind of terrified that his claws would somehow get through the little grates even though I rationally knew they couldn’t.

Within the next 20 minutes I had caught one little kitten on the front porch. He was pretty easy to move back to the carport. It had started to rain though so I moved all of the traps to the carport and out of the rain. I moved the tomcat and kitten inside the house where they could have quiet and not stress. I should mention that I had taken the dogs into the doggie daycare and boarded them overnight because I knew that this could get complicated otherwise. So for one night our dog room turned into a cat room.

I left the trap setup on the carport, and lo and behold by the time I got the first kitten settled another one was already in that trap. When I went to pick up that kitten mom cat gave me a stern hiss from the corner. We only had three traps, so that left us with a decision to move a kitten to a regular carrier or release a kitten to catch mom. Joe and I decided to put the kitten in the carrier, hoping that if we caught mom we would be able to make a fourth appointment at the vets office. After getting the kitten into the carrier with some careful finagling, we reset the trap to catch mom. Mom actually walked right in the trap, I think that she wanted to go where her kitten was. That left us with two adult cats and two kittens hissing in our dog room.

We hadn’t seen any sign of the other male cat or the other little male kitten for a couple of days, so we declared that we were done kitty catching for the night.

The smell the next morning was horrendous, and I slept with one eye open still fearful that the tomcat would realize his mission of breaking out of that trap and tearing every living human being to shreds in the house. I’m sure our bird was non-plussed as well with the whole situation.

I moved them all out onto the carport. The TNR hero came and brought another trap so that we could transfer the kitten out of the carrier for the vet. It’s much better for them to be in a trap where the vets can have access through the bars. Getting rid of the smell in the house was a task, but thankfully we have tile floors.

It took about an hour at the vet to check them in. They weren’t all done at the time they were supposed to be, so two trips were necessary to pick them all up. In the meantime I ran the towels and blankets they used two times through our washer, the tomcat was quite the stinker to say the least.

I brought all of the cats to a friendly ladies house who is gracious enough to let the TNR organization set up the cats in her carport to heal after their surgery. Connecting some traps together to create a suite where they had room for a litter box on one end and food dishes on the other end took about an hour.

The next few days were spent going over and feeding the cats and scooping the litter. I can’t express how thankful I am that our local cat hero also went over to feed them so that wasn’t as much of a task.

During these few days the question came up about where to shelter the cats. It’s best to provide them a shelter so they stay and no other cats move in their place (therefore giving us the same problem next year).

 

Trap-Neuter-Return part 2

So I called no-kill rescues. I only called two, truthfully. The second one told me that they get 60-70 calls a day from people in my situation. I didn’t want to put myself through continual rejection by calling every rescue in town, and frankly I didn’t want to bother them because they are doing a tough job and I knew that they couldn’t help. I needed another option. In the meantime my husband spotted yet a third kitten, and another male started hanging around the house. I needed my option quickly.

Being the queen of google, I discovered that there was a trap-neuter-return program in my area. I contacted them through facebook and have learned a ton about the process. It’s definitely the most responsible thing to do for adult cats. It’s not their fault that they are out there and shouldn’t be sentenced to certain death by trapping them and sending them to the county animal shelter. It’s actually the right thing to do for the kittens if you can not otherwise take them in and socialize them.

What I’ve learned is that it’s a time commitment to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). I’m thankful that as a teacher I had a little bit of time. I’ve learned that there are traps out there that are better than the ones you find at the hardware store that are more humane for the cats, and that there are all sorts of different traps that can be used for different situations.

So after speaking with our local TNR leader, she came over to the house to drop off the traps. She had made appointments for three cats that Thursday, which gave me 3 days for the cats to get used to the trap before I used it on the last night.

Setting everything up wasn’t too hard, and they used them pretty much right away. Luckily they were all used to coming up to the porch and eating anyhow and didn’t seem too concerned about going in the trap.

Trap-Neuter-and-Return part 1

When I saw a little cat hanging around the house last month something prompted me to go and get a bag of food and welcome it to my porch. Although I am very much a “dog” person, the idea of having a cat come by to share a morning cup of coffee seemed somehow calming and ideal. I was about two weeks into feeding her in the morning and evening, getting her to eat from my hand and stay a little bit, when one morning something unexpected happened.

Yes, two of the tiniest cutest little faces on the planet came around the corner with her. I immediately knew that I was in for a challenge. They couldn’t come in and be inside kitties because three dogs, a bird, and two feral kittens would be too much for me. I couldn’t bear take them to a county shelter to face their death due to overcrowding. I definitely couldn’t become the block cat lady where these cats would breed and create 50 cats before I knew it.