It’s late spring here at Purgatory and the wildlife activity has been in high gear. Now that Momma cat has been spayed we see her often. I bought a 12 pack of tinned cat food and set out a tin of food for her a couple of times. As evidenced by this picture, she’s no longer terrified of us and has settled in a being more calmly wary.
She has developed a taste for the stuff but not enough to dissuade her from hunting up her own food. We’ve seen her carrying ground squirrels, gophers and this poor bugger.
We of course have more than one feral living on the property and early this week I managed to catch this one which we now think is an altered female.
Upon finding her in a trap Wednesday morning I transferred her to the kennel, called the HSSV only to find out the earliest they could see her was at the end of June. I then called San Jose Animal Hospital since they were the ones that took care of spaying Momma. They could get me in Friday, but since that was two days out, I ended up letting her go as I figured we could probably trap her again in the interim.
Then that night Agent Smith sighted three to four more kittens rollicking on the pool deck while I was off at class. We thus set out the two traps in the hopes of catching any of the suspects.
Of course early in the evening we caught Momma who wasn’t about to let a little confinement turn her off from some nice fresh tinned food. So we put her in the kennel for the night and reset the traps.
The next morning both traps were empty and I let Momma out of the kennel. She was more than willing to skedaddle out as soon as I backed away from the kennel, so I figured unless I caught something other than her Thursday night, I would just cancel my appointment at the clinic first thing the next morning.
About twenty minutes after letting Momma out, we hit the feral cat the mother lode and caught the big black bruiser of a tom. I posted this pic of him on stega.org back in March.
Think of the meanest, nastiest male feral cat you can imagine and then double that and you have Lucy (as we have since named him.) Lucy is so strong that as soon as we saw him in the trap Agent Smith had to rush out and secure the trap door with his foot while I got the kennel. We lined the trap’s door up so it was in the doorway of the kennel and then just let this guy force his way out of the trap and thus plopping himself into the kennel where we quickly shut the door.
I do feel a bit bad for him as he then had to sit out by the pool all day since we weren’t about to let him go until we could get him altered. Being a tomcat, he had no qualms about pissing all over the place and then laying in it, so later in the afternoon I had to somewhat gently hose both him and the pan of the kennel down. That caused him to clean himself up a bit but it also made him even more unhappy.
This shot was taken Friday morning when we had loaded him into the truck so I could drive him down to be neutered. He’s annoyed at us again as we had to hose the pan and him one more time.
Anyway, Thursday night we figured we might as well put the traps out again and see if we could catch any of the intended suspects.
So Friday morning when I got up early as I had to get Lucy in to be neutered between 8 and 9 am, I walked out to check the traps. Of course there was Momma in one of the traps but standing next to her only slightly puzzled was the little tabby we were trying to trap. The yet-to-be-named tabby scampered off and I went over and let Momma out. She left the trap calmly and slowly bounded away towards the stables. With no other cats safely trapped, we went to load Lucy into the truck. This garnered us quite an audience as Momma cat watched us from afar and a second tomcat that frequents the ranch was perched on the deck railing observing, what to him, were probably weird goings on.
I made the drive down into the valley, and Lucy’s drop off was pretty simple, but since he’s so strong they just took him in the kennel and he’ll come back here in it as well.
The story doesn’t end there though, as just as I was getting back on to 101 to head home, Agent Smith texted me with this picture:
While this guy sort of looks like the one we’ve been trying to trap during all of this adventuring, it’s actually that other tomcat that was watching us move Lucy out.
So while I was driving home, I called the hospital and asked if I could bring this guy in as well. They graciously said yes, so while I made my way back to Purgatory, Agent Smith ziptied the trap’s door in place once this guy had finished spazzing out.
We have since named him Hank, as he’s much more mellow. I’ve seen him frequently outside my office and he seems a nice enough cat for a feral.
So it was a productive morning all around, but I do feel a bit like an Uber driver for feral cats. Probably the funniest moments were seeing the reactions of the people in the waiting room had: one little girl asked if she could pet “my” cat. To which I politely told her “no he’s not like other cats, he’s wild and would probably take your hand off.”