It looks like this.
Yesterday, we managed to trap the last three of Beulah’s kittens. They were eagerly anticipated by the staff of the charity next door, so much so that they had already given the kittens names. It was astonishingly easy to catch the youngsters. At lunch-time, we noticed some of the kittens playing at the far end of the enclosure behind my work-place. On the spur of the moment, I decided to place a trap near there. It was risky, as I was setting it on the ground, where any skunk and his friend could wander in. But I intended to leave it only for an hour. I baited it with sardines and checked on it thirty minutes later. Inside, I found the one the charity had named Luna. (That’s him - he turned out to be a boy - in the first photograph, looking over his shoulder.)
Luna was taken immediately next door. An unnerving aspect of her capture was her panic, during which she threw herself against the wire of the cage. Fortunately, the injury she sustained - a bloody nose - seemed superficial, and she calmed down with soothing voices and a blanket over the trap. She was placed in a carrier in a dark room to calm down, and will be with her new family some time today.
Last night, I placed my two traps side by side near where I caught Luna. I had seen the remaining two kittens playing close by, so I thought I might be able to catch them. Soon after I set the traps, I saw a long-haired grey and white cat sniffing about. He too I must catch, so kittens or adult, I was ready for my victims. An hour later, I received a call from a colleague who was working late to say that both traps had been sprung, and a cat was in each. I arrived to collect what I discovered to be two kittens.
The one who had been named Maki has a minor problem with his eye. He is a tough little guy, in the foreground of the second picture, who clings to anything and everything in order not to be picked up. Gizmo, behind him, has a goopy nose, and is more passive. With antibiotics these two problems should clear up quickly. They both appear to be boys. They came back to my home for the night. For a few hours, the cosy apartment sheltered eight cats.
Though Maki resisted being held a little, none of Beulah’s kittens were fighters. Very frightened, they nonetheless didn’t hiss or spit or claw. They are already semi-socialised, thanks, I believe, to the efforts of the staff next door, who talked with them and fed them. Maki and Gizmo are destined to live together in the country. I think it’s good that they are going together; though they may development other friendships, the fact that they were caught simultaneously suggest that they do things together.
While catching Beulah’s children has been relatively simple, I am under no illusions that this ease will continue. The others to be caught are all adults, and probably all feral. They will be less naive in the ways of the world, and more suspicious of traps. It will also be difficult in some cases to determine who needs fixing. While the hospital to whom I am bringing the ferals for surgery tattoos the right ear as a sign of success, this fades over time, and some cats who were previously spayed and neutered may not have gone to the same hospital. A few traps and trips may turn out to be unnecessary, if I catch cats whose reproductivity has already been altered.
But, however the following weeks turn out, this one has been good: four kittens will now have homes - and no children of their own - and an adult male will no longer add to the feline population. As hard as it may be to believe, this frightened little fellow is what the end of a good week looks like.