You may remember our Abandoned in Bandon story a couple of weeks ago. A mum and four kittens, abandoned by their guardians (Cherry Doublebarrelled Name and her partner), had made their way to a neighbours. We’d tried to get the family, but the tiny three-week-old kittens would not co-operate. Pat, the neighbour in question, volunteered to try and catch the kittens when they came for food. And we left her to it.
A week later Pat had had no luck. And two kittens had disappeared. I live about an hour away from Bandon, so I called in some local experts – Maggie from Community Cats Network (a Cork based TNR group) lived just down the road – could she help? Of course she could – she’s a star! And she’d already been trapping cats just a bit further up the road – Cherry had left behind more felines than we realised, and most of them had headed in the other direction from our family.
So Maggie headed down to Pat’s a few days later. Pat was down to one kitten – and had a new arrival, a young white and black tom. The mum had already shown indications of being trap-shy when I’d been there, so Maggie took her splendiferous drop-trap (I’m so jealous – and forgot to take a photo! Next time.) and caught mum and w&b in one fell swoop without too much trouble. But the little one proved elusive yet again. Maggie stayed all day – and most of the following day. But the kitten wasn’t having it. Worried that she wouldn’t be able to trap mum again if she released her, Maggie met me with both trapped felines and I took them to Barbara for holding till we figured out what to do about the baby. And none of us were happy about leaving such a tiny thing to his own devices.
Maggie was working up in Dublin this week, so wouldn’t be able to go back to Pat’s. We got w&b neutered yesterday and, on the way to Bandon to return him, I picked up the mum as well – fingers firmly crossed that the baby would rush to his mum after being on his own. And it worked!!! Kinda.
The lil guy was much, much bolder than he’d been on my first visit – coming out into the open and staring at me – but still not coming close enough to grab, blast him. Before I’d even headed to Bandon, I’d sworn blind that I’d stay at Pat’s till I got him – I wasn’t going to leave the wee one on his own again. And I’d half anticipated being there at 4am, lol. I set two standard traps, one multi-trap and Maggie’s drop-trap about the place – all on manual (a string, rather than a mechanism, to set them off) cos the wee guy’s probably too light to set anything off on his own. And I put one trap between the hospital cages of mum and white & black.
Back to the drawing board – wait till kitten emerges; block the breeze block a kitten length down; stand back to herd kitten towards … Where’s the blasted kitten gone??? I’d given him a bit of a scare and he’d gone to ground, curses! So I backed away and settled in for a long wait. But not much later the wee thing appeared again. And, this time, everything went according to plan – herd kitten; in he pops to his hidey hole; in my hand pops and grabs him. Much hissing and spitting and claw flailing follows (like anyone could take such tiny fury seriously, bless ‘im), and kitten is safely deposited in holding cage till I can pop him in with mum in the safety of the van. And all before lunchtime. YAY!
Before I do anything else I release white & black (couldn’t release him sooner in case he set off one of the traps) – off he goes, delighted to have his freedom. Have a quick word with Pat. And load up the van. Transfer kitten in with mum – he wasn’t too happy with the transfer part, but he was delighted to see mum again. And off I go. I was buzzing with delight and *tappity tapped* my way to Barbara’s where the two are going to stay for a couple of weeks till baby can get his first vaccination – and we can start looking for a home (or homes) for both of them.
I’ll end with one of my standard refrains – dumping animals is illegal, subject to fines and a potential prison sentence. Don’t dump your unwanted charges – try and rehome them, take them to a rescue, do something humane. Dumping is so cruel – these guys are luckier than most to survive and to be taken in. So, my delight in getting the tiny guy is bittersweet – three babies have disappeared and are probably dead. So unnecessary. Pat’s going to keep her eye out for them, maybe they’re just hiding, too scared to come out. Fingers crossed. But I’m not too hopeful.
And a final caveat – do note that leaving animals in cages in this weather is not a great plan. I didn’t have the option of putting them in the house. So I gave both adults water and set them in the shade, with the cage covers arranged to allow a breeze. And it was milder today than it’s been recently. All well and good in these special circumstances, but not ideal just the same. Do keep the weather conditions, and location generally, in mind when working with animals like this. Do what’s best for them.