Two or three weeks ago we had a message about a mum and four kittens in someone’s garden. Initially we just said sorry we’re full and gave info about other rescues, but then we got on a bit of a roll with rehoming Harold and Isaac & Theo, so got back to the person to ask a bit more info and see if we could help.
When we found that they were in S8 and only a few miles from us we felt we had to at least do something to help. When we started as a rescue the intention was to be a rescue for S8 cats. In practice it’s proved impractical to offer help based on post code, though we do try to go the extra mile for S8 cats.
The situation was a little unclear from the email, partly because the person asking for help was a neighbour of the elderly person who was feeding them. I went up to take some food, and to get a clearer picture of the situation – age of kits, whether they were feral, whether mum was pregnant etc, and then see if we could get another rescue with more resources to help.
The first kitten I spotted I initially assumed was mum as s/he was bigger than I’d expected. Much bigger! It turned out that this was the biggest of 4 kits and that sadly mum seemed to have already moved on. I fear to have her next litter of kittens and that this story will be repeating itself in a few weeks time.
The other three gradually emerged into my sight, slipping through the hedge and out from under shrubs as the elderly lady came out to feed them. Very timid and no way they were likely to agree to climb into a cat carrier.
I’m normally quite clear that we don’t have the equipment or time resources to trap cats, or the appropriate accommodation to care for cats who have needed to be trapped. However, we’d bought a trap a little while ago intended for Stanlie. Then we’d then taken in Hecate and her kits, and by the time there was space for Stan again he walked in of his own accord. Although the kits were very skittish they were clearly attached to the lady who had been feeding them, some were going into her kitchen to get food, some licking food off her fingers. They obviously weren’t feral.
I heard the neighbours’ concerns about the stress the situation was causing for the lady. After her promises to help, and my disclaimers about limited experience of trapping, can’t promise anything etc I went home to fetch some tuna and the trap.
We’d not had it set up very long when the hungriest kit went in. I brought her home and took the trap back.
The neighbour set it again a couple of days later at the weekend, and amazingly another kit had trotted in. I was helping set up tables for our fundraiser at Heeley Institute but the fundraising boss allowed me to go and get her/him 😉
It was lovely to see kit 1 and 2 reunited. Kit 1 had hidden for a couple of days, terrified, but when s/he heard kit 2 arrive she came running out to see her.
I combined taking the trap back with taking my own neighbour shopping. There was a vague hope that whilst we went round Aldi another kit would go in the trap and we could pick her/him up on the way home. It almost happened like that …. except we were home and unpacking my neighbour’s shopping when I got the message that kit 3 was trapped.
Collected Kit 3, brought her/him home and went late to the fundraiser.
Kit 4 proved more elusive. Kit 4 is the biggest one whom I’d initially thought was mum. Ironically s/he seems the most confident … but that meant they wanted to go into the kitchen rather than the trap to be fed. Spent Sunday tea time up there trying various strategies. Kit 4 had the measure of me and was going to do b@gger all that I wanted them to do.
Spent quite a while walking up the road, sitting on walls, looking a big shifty, trying to pretend I wasn’t there to trap 4. S/he having none of it. Sitting on wall frantically trying to find help for someone who just messaged me about newborn kits dumped in a garden – but that’s another blog post.
Monday teatime proved more successful. The neighbour set the trap and deftly caught 4 whilst I was driving home from work, so I was able to pick her/him up on the way. Seriously hats off to this lady! I was doubtful at first whether the promised help would be forthcoming .. but she was amazing. I’m hanging on to her email address. If we ever need to trap more kittens … she’s going to be our first port of call 😉
Hiding has been the main theme of the week. So much so that I’ve had to pull the filing cabinet away from the wall as I was worried they’d be totally squished.
As the week as progressed we’ve gradually seen them more out of hiding. Kit 1’s weakness is chicken, Kit 2 is tempted with toys. K4 loves food generally and is more confident. K3 is proving to be the most timid.
They’re of an age where they could do with getting to the vet to be neutered. In the next week or two we need to either find out genders or just book them in as a box of mixed infants. K2 is obviously female as she’s tortie. Thank goodness we have such lovely vets who cope with our odd requests.