A few weeks back I mentioned I was undertaking to trap six kittens in a project for one of my local TNR groups. There was an elderly Polish couple not far from my house with six cats in their yard. I agreed to help because it “should be easy” trapping six cats, just get them into the trap and take them to the vet. They were down the street and I’ve done this before “how hard can it be?” Oh silly, silly me. When is a trapping project ever as easy as 1-2-3? The answer is never.
I showed up at the caregivers’ house a week before I trapped to assess the situation. I found six kittens, three black and three gray, hanging out in a back yard. There has been no sign of mom for some time. The kittens couldn’t have been more than four months old, and were super adorable (as all kittens are). They were clearly bonded to their caretakers (who I will call J & Z). J & Z had set up a nice little camp for the kittens on their small covered deck. There was a covered litter box, a carrier with a soft bed inside of it and bowls of food and water for them. There was lots of grass to play in and a tree with long branches to play with and pounce on. When J & Z approached one or two kittens would run over, but no one went to hide or run away. They weren’t so sure about me. While I talked to J & Z about the kittens and about TNR, I kept trying to approach kittens. The kittens had other thoughts; though I did manage to scoop one up later for a few brief seconds before she said no.
Talking to J & Z proved to be my biggest challenge, due to a language barrier. They spoke very broken English and I don’t speak Polish. So I did my best to explain to them what would happen, that the cats would be coming back to them and that they would need to continue caring for the cats. After allaying their fears that I was going to take and destroy the cats, J & Z were content to let me work with the cats. They also asked about the kittens getting adopted out, but I explained there was no room right now. I tried to ask which two they were planning on adopting themselves, but something got lost in translation.
After visiting the kittens, I gathered the traps from the TNR group I was working with and scheduled an appointment at the Spay/Neuter clinic for the following week. It was actually quite difficult to find a spot for six kittens to come in at once. I followed up with J & Z, through their friend who translated for us and I set up a time to trap. I didn’t give it much thought after that until just before their appointment. Suddenly I realized there were some logistical issues. My plan of taking the kittens in on Friday for surgery and picking them up before work Saturday wasn’t going to pan out. That’s what happens when you don’t pay attention to your calendar. I quickly called the clinic to see if there were any openings earlier in the week, but there weren’t. So I confirmed my appointment for six kittens on Friday, hung up the phone, and panicked. I ran through a number of different ways I could try to make this work. I stressed, I freaked, and finally I asked for assistance. It finally worked out that the kittens would board at the clinic Friday night and another volunteer would pick them up and transport them back home Saturday. Now that logistics were worked out, I could relax and prepare my trapping supplies.
Check back on Sunday for part two of The Adventure of Six Kittens!