First, a moment of delightful harmony on the back porch.
Much of the excitement this week centered around experiencing my third round of backyard TNR. The more I do this, the less anxiety I experience about it.
On Wednesday, I planned to trap the new brown tabby. So, I set up the both the drop trap and the regular trap in the side yard and then moved the feral-cam outside so I could keep an eye on the traps from the comfort of my couch. This setup also allowed me to record the trapping process on video.
It didn't take long at all before he wandered into the trap and I was faced with that heart pounding moment of needing to pull the cord to activate the trap. That one little moment feels like it goes on forever. In the video you will notice that I wait a long time before pulling that cord, I'm not trying to prolong the tension, I pause because his tail was too close to the edge of the trap. With the trap being made of wood, it's pretty heavy and I didn't want to risk it landing on his tail and freaking him out even more.
All is well in the video until I concentrate on transferring the cat from the drop trap to the carrier trap, because at that point I forgot about the camera. Why is this relevant you ask? Well, you'll know why soon enough. Had I been thinking, I would have stood on the opposite side of the camera and saved everyone from an unpleasant view! Live and learn.
The brown tabby spent the night in the basement awaiting early morning transport to the spay/neuter clinic for his operation. He seemed very calm in the trap, which makes me wonder if he's had some human contact in the past. Maybe he's more of a stray than a feral, but I'm not going to risk opening the trap to see if he's friendly, I'll leave that to the people at the clinic who know how to handle such things.
At the TNR class I attended several months ago, I remember the facilitators urging us to resist looking at the cat in the trap and to especially avoid making eye contact, but there's no way I could resist such things! This guy is such a beauty. I get so lost in his eyes, which are the most beautiful brilliant gold I have ever seen.
The clinic staff estimated that he's around 2 years old, is in great health and is 12.3 pounds of muscle! He's a big boy! The staff said he was more feral than tame, which is a bummer. After he returned from his surgery, I felt compelled to transfer him to more civilized accommodations so he could be more comfortable, so I moved him to the larger wire crate, that way he could have a litter box, a blanket and a food bowl. He happily snarfed his food and used the litter box several times.
As I was tending to him, I realized that the time has come for me to build me some recovery pens for ferals. At first with just Oliver, I thought the trapping thing might be a one and done, but now I'm seeing that there will be plenty of TNR opportunities just from the cats that show up in my yard. My mind is already working on my ideas for these recovery/holding pens.
Laura helped me release him the afternoon after his surgery. He trotted away at a fast walk. After releasing them, I always fear that they will have been so traumatized that they will never return. Three hours later, I saw him watching from down the alley, he'll be back! Hopefully, now that he's fixed, he and Oliver can become fast friends!
Thanks to Nancy for all the coaching and encouragement, a big thanks to Sue for transporting him to and from the clinic and a huge thanks to all the wonderful staff and volunteers at Purrfect Pals who host these weekly spay/neuter clinics!