Friday, June 24, 2011

Kitten on the Lam

KATA told me Tuesday maybe or was it Monday, that a kitten they had in foster care escaped Heartland just prior to getting spayed. She had been removed from the carrier to weigh, but the little two pound calico freaked and bolted. Just at that instant, someone came in the back door. The kitten darted out the opening into the briars.

I was in Corvallis today for grocery shopping and decided to stop by, see if I could trap her. There was a trap set but the bait was alive in ants, there was no paper lining it, and one can of cat food inside kept the trap from springing. It was useless.

It had been out two days I think, with no results. I leaned down and peered into the large briar patch and called "Kitty, kitty, kitty." From way back deep in the brush, my call was answered by a tiny pathetic mew.

I left traps set and went home to do chores and put groceries away. I came back later and saw her in between the the shed and old house Heartland owns, on an old cat tree. When she saw me, however, she darted by me into the briars.

I told Heartland "Maybe she's going in and out of the house." I pointed to a propped open window and added, "Through here, or through the broken window out front."

"The what?" the staff member said, with expletives!

I had figured the window had been broken a long time. Not true. In fact, someone had broken it the night before and then propped the other window open. Heartland staff called the police. With all the noise and hubbub over that, the kitten vanished. I came back way later, in the night, near 11:15 p.m. She would not go into a trap, but a possum did and he was hard to get out of the trap.

I spotted her hunkered in the briars next to the front steps and considered my moves. Too many branches and briars to get a clean net shot. I chose to quietly create a barrier, leaving only space for her to run into a live trap. I set the trap and covered it, but left the back uncovered, so she would think it was a way out. She was hunkered down in brush watching me about 12 feet away. As I worked to create the funnel barriers, to push her straight into that trap, I kept my net out with my other hand, to discourage her from bolting around me.

I finished and edged toward her from an angle that would send her the way I wanted her to go, if she spooked out--into the funnel. Suddenly she bolted from cover and the funnel worked like a charm. She could find no quick way out except through the trap, except the trap was set and she got caught.

I then had to crawl way down into the brush to retrieve another trap. By now it was very late and this is not a good neighborhood. As I was emerging from the brush on my hands and knees shoving the trap ahead of me, in pitch blackness, a voice said, matter of factly, "Did you find everything you were looking for?"

I said "Who is asking," while reaching for my pepper spray. "It's me, and that's all I can say," said the human form disappearing like a shadow on up the trail that ends at the railroad tracks that can be taken across the Mary's River, illegally, to the bike path that leads to town, or, if you cut down the other side of the tracks where it's clear of briars, into Avery Park.

I scuttled out of the brush, briars and plant pieces hanging off my hair and clothes, loaded the empty trap into my car and came home. The kitten has a terrible cold, which is why she wouldn't go into a trap for food. I already vaporized her, fed her KMR, put her on a heating pad, cuddled her and settled her in for the night. I'm doing that for myself right now too.

Below are photos of the three cats fixed yesterday.These two girls are from a place off highway 20 just north of Corvallis.
This is one of the Walnut street Brick House cats. Two left to get fixed there.

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