Spayed At Last
The days of a TNR Coordination Team can and generally do encompass many different emotions and experiences. Every time you think you've hit them all, another runs in to remind you that you are not always in control, the stray/feral cats are. :)
We like to think we've covered all our bases, planned for every eventuality and as we become more and more experienced, we are getting closer to that, but in all honesty, I don't think we can ever achieve purrfection, because there is always going to be one cat that changes the dynamics of a situation.
This lovely little girl was one of those. I'm calling her 'Spitfire', not because she is nasty, but because she is determined, strong and stubborn. She was trapped along with 11 others, back on Wed. March 30. They were all going in on Thursday for their operations and rabies. On Wednesday night she escaped her trap while I was cleaning it. This was a first time experience for me and one I really don't want to repeat.
The JL TNR holding area is for the time being, our garage. It is secure, or so we thought, to ensure that if a cat does get out of a trap, that we have it confined in the garage. Well, this girl got out, and so at lights out that night, another trap was set to recapture her. In the morning the food in the trap was gone but it had not been sprung. She had managed to eat without stepping on the plate. The next night the trap was set again. Morning, food had not been eaten. Another night, the same. Flashlights and intensive searching, in a organized but full garage, turned up no sign or sound from her. Where could she have possibly gone? All doors, windows, etc were closed and latched, there were no holes to the outdoors...wait, yes there was, there was Saber's cat door! But so he wouldn't be the one we found in the trap, he had been residing in the house every night since she escaped, and his cat door had been locked from both sides. When we went and investigated the cat door and pushed really hard on the bottom, it did, even locked, push open about an inch at the bottom. Could she really have pushed herself through that tiny opening? Turns out she could and did!
That night, I set traps in strategic spots around the garage and the wood line behind. At about 10:00 when I opened the door to go put the Palace and barn to bed for the night, I caught a fleeting glimpse of her at the front of the garage and running from my noise, back behind the garage. I can't tell you the relief I felt seeing her! One of my greatest fears has always been losing a cat away from its known territory. I imagine their fear and anxiety and I know that the risks to them increase 10 fold with no known food/shelter/community that they know. Her fear was what pushed her to escape in the first place, so I didn’t know if she would have run as far and as fast away as she could, making it a distinct possibility I wouldn’t be able to trap her again. Seeing her still staying close gave me the information I needed. I knew I wouldn’t stop until I had her back, safe in another trap, spayed and returned to her colony.
‘Spitfire’ was trapped 2 days later, she was moved to a large, comfortable cage in the secure barn Holding Room, spayed on Thursday and will be returned to her colony tomorrow. She and I will both be very happy the moment she is released back in her home territory. Bless her, and every cat that has touched us here at Jamie’s Legacy. Each and every one teaches us more about the strength and beauty of their hearts and how better to serve them.