Running from debt, the woman left Ireland less than a week ago. And left two of the cats she ‘loved’ behind her. They moved to the neighbours’, begging for food. And one of the two brought her four kittens with her. Caring for animals in Ireland in these troubled times where 180,000 kittens die every year, 12 dogs die a day in pounds because there aren’t enough homes for them, involves neutering. This woman may have loved her animals, but she certainly didn’t care for them.
So Barbara arranged with the neighbour – who, I have to say, is not a ‘cat person’, but she cares – for us to go down today, trap mum and catch the kittens. Unfortunately we’d a bit of a miscommunication. We’d understood the neighbour wasn’t willing to catch the kittens herself. So we headed on down, trapped mum and … the kittens were terrified. Couldn’t find them anywhere. Then we found they were hiding in the car engines – three cars. Perfect hiding places for tiny, scared kittens. Can see their whiskers, can’t get to them. The neighbour’s son managed to catch one, tiny, scared, black kitten – and we put him in with mum in a hospital cage in the hope that the other kittens would go over to them. Left them alone for an hour – and no luck 🙁
What to do? The babies are only four weeks old or so – old enough to be eating solid foods. And old enough to run away from us. Old enough to hide. Canny enough to hide in safe spaces we can’t reach. Gnf!
Fortunately it turns out that this neighbour is willing to try and catch the kittens herself, despite our original impression. They’ve been there enough days to trust her and play beside her. She wears gloves to pick up the kittens, bless her. And she’s not a ‘cat person’. But in the few days the family have been hanging out at her place, she’s learned to care for them and she’s happy to do her best by them.
So we risked releasing the mum and the one kitten we’d caught, in the hope we can catch them all. I’m so scared for them. But it seemed our best alternative. Fingers crossed, tomorrow this caring lady is going to try and catch the four tiny kittens. And then I’ll head over and, fingers crossed again, try and trap mum. She was trapwise in the first place – nipping in the door of the trap, grabbing the food and retreating to eat it outside the trap. Avoiding the trap mechanism. Savvy. But we got her once, and with patience, will hopefully get her again.
We’ve taken a huge risk – who knows what could happen to this family left wild – but we’re hoping it’s worth it and we’ll be able to rescue them all. Fingers crossed for them.