Operation KK: Kitten Katchin’ Part I

How was my weekend, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you! It consisted of mainly two things: catching kittens and kayaking. Seriously.

It all started a few weeks ago when my friend, Kacey, noticed some kittens living in a tunnel in her apartment complex. She took a picture of them and posted it on Facebook and I instantly fell in love with them.

As you can see, they are absolutely gorgeous! We had to save them!

So, on Thursday I got it in my head that I was going to be these kittens’ savior. I, with the help of others, would get these kittens out of the heat, vetted, and to a home. I began contacting shelters. Many many shelters. Mostly through email. Most of them said they were full, and most of them refused to take feral cats of any kind because they may not be healthy.

However, after quite a lot of searching, I happened upon a shelter that said they could help with training and vetting feral kittens. Yes! This is the place I’d been looking for! This place was exactly what I needed! I emailed them.

The shelter had been shut down for the summer. Perfect. However, a very nice someone emailed me back and offered to help by forwarding my emails to other shelters/people she knew that might be willing to help. She also had great advice on how to trap the kittens and inexpensive places on where to take them to get shots, etc.

So, all of this emailing and advice got me excited. Thursday, after work I went to Kacey’s apartment complex fully intending to bring those kittens to their new (temporary) home. It never occurred to me that if Kacey, who’d been feeding them for weeks, couldn’t catch them, then I probably wouldn’t be able to either. I bought litter and two cans of wet food to get them to come to me. How could it not work?!

Well, I’ll cut to the chase now and tell you that it didn’t work. Those kittens wanted absolutely nothing to do with Kacey or me. They ran and hid from us and refused to come out while we were sitting anywhere near them. Not even my smelly, good food could lure them out.

This was going to require more work (and more food). I went home to re-think my strategy.

Friday, after work, I went to the Cat Shoppe where I was told you could rent kitten traps (free – you just leave a collateral of $50 to be returned when you return the traps). So I got two of them and went back to Kacey’s apartment complex. The kittens were not outside playing when I pulled into the parking lot. Hmm. Usually they were. So I went to look in their tunnel. It was flooded.

Uh oh. Where in the hell could they have gone? Was this the end of my kitten catching/rescue before it had even begun?

Maybe they didn’t go far. I looked in the tunnel close to the other one. A much bigger tunnel that I could easily duck down and walk into. And there went four little kittens running out the other side. Found them!

Now I could commence trapping. I set one trap at the end of the tunnel I saw them running out of and the other one at the other end. And then I went to my car and waited.

I could see them hiding in yet another, smaller tunnel this time. Every now and then they’d peek their heads out, make sure no one was around and come out to play. Then I got an idea. Well, why don’t I just put the trap in front of that tunnel? Duh!

So, I did. And it worked. I watched one of those kittens very slowly make his way into that trap, eating the food I’d put in there. Yes! This was going to work! Then I watched him step on the trigger that slammed the door shut behind him. YES!! I CAUGHT ONE!!

I texted Kacey and told her the news, and started walking towards the cage with a sheet to put over the trap to calm him down, all the while the kitten is freaking out, wondering what the hell just happened.

I got close enough to the cage to touch it and all of a sudden, the rattling of the cage stopped. The kitten was gone. What the hell?! How did that happen? After closer inspection, I saw that the trap door hadn’t locked when it slammed down and the kitten was able to push his way out again. Great! Stupid trap! Now I’ll never catch them! They all just witnessed that screw up. There’s no way they’ll fall for it again.

So I moved the trap back to the big tunnel where I’d had it before and waited some more. After a couple hours of trying to scare the kittens back out of the smaller tunnel we decided we might as well leave and try again later (by this time, help had arrived in the form of Jennifer, who lives in the complex, and another Jennifer that runs a shelter and offered to take the kittens if/when a spot opens up). So I took my cat food and deflated dreams of being a hero and went home.

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