This is the second part of my recent TNR quest, you can read the first part here.
Friday rolled around; I got up bright and early then headed over to trap kittens. Everyone was waiting for me, including five hungry kittens who didn’t understand why Z wasn’t giving them their food. Z informed me that one kitten hadn’t been around since the previous morning, so we were down to five. I set the traps and within 10 minutes I had four out of five kittens, with two kittens in one trap. There always has to be one who refuses to get in the trap! ALWAYS! It didn’t help that the last trap I had left kept shutting on its own. After waiting for another twenty minutes, trying different tactics, I finally decided to take the four I had to the clinic so they were there in time for their appointment. I would come back for the other kitten, I had no fear she would pop right into the trap once things quieted down and everyone was gone. I could take her in a little later. If she couldn’t get fixed on Friday then surely there would be room Saturday.
Skip ahead through rush hour traffic, I drop the cats off at the clinic and get all the papers in order. I tell them about the other kitten back in the yard. They tell me due to staffing issues they will be closed on Saturday, if I get the kitten in by 10 (it’s close to 8:30 at this point) I should be ok though. I panic again. I race back to the yard as fast as I can in hopes I can get back by 10. When I get to the yard there are not one but TWO kittens waiting in cages for me. Apparently our missing kitten decided to show up after all. I call the clinic to give them a heads up and am told that it will actually be too late to bring them back in, they will have to go to a different clinic on Sunday.
I stand there at 9:30 in the morning wondering what the hell I am going to do with two cats for the next two days. I call the TNR coordinator and explain the situation. I explain to her that I can’t possibly take them down to the other clinic on Sunday as I work all day, and I mean all day. Besides, the clinic is on the opposite side of the city from where I work. Even if I could take them, I don’t have any place to keep them as our garage still has the contents of the basement from when we flooded months ago. She thinks a moment and we decide I should bring the cats to the clinic for holding while she tries to find someone else to take them to the second clinic on Sunday. When I drop the kittens off at the clinic I apologize, try to explain what happened again (I did make appointments, there were some staffing issues…) and try to assess what will be going on with these last two kittens. The TNR coordinator eventually found someone to transport the kittens to the Sunday clinic, and possibly someone else to transport them home that night.
I visited J & Z on Monday to check on kittens and collect the traps. I watched the kittens as they ran free in their yard again. Oh were they happy! Running and jumping on each other, playing, rolling on the pavement. Such happy kittens! It was great to know that I was part of this. I helped J & Z do the right thing by these kittens. By getting those kittens fixed (at least three were females!) I helped to drastically reduce the population of cats in the neighborhood and the county. Even though there were some super frustrating moments-trying to explain how to determine which cats get pain medicines in their food over the phone when I didn’t know who was who—it was all worth it in the end.
The TNR organization I worked with for this project has recently started calling their department the Community Cats department. The idea being that these cats aren’t feral, they are part of our community and we are all responsible for them. I think this is a wonderful name. Not only does it show that outside cats are part of our communities but it shows that sometimes it takes a community to help solve the problem. Not one person alone—a community.