Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hawkeye, Last of the.....

Last of the Mohicans is one of my favorite movies.

Hawkeye, the last of the Lebanon Let Em Breed colony, is now in custody.  Caught.  Done deal colony.  Finished.  Over.  Exited.  (I hope)

I went over last night with my drop trap, done dealing with the colony caretaker, who has sold her place, and is just waiting for papers to be signed to leave it all behind. She would have left all those cats, too, had not the Lacomb woman discovered their terrible plight and began plucking out kittens by hand, and searching for others to help out.

The colony caretakers efforts to catch the last cat, a scared fuzzy gray, who sat beneath the fallen branches of the split apple tree, amongst the rotting wasted fruit, crying, were lazy, at best, and ineffective.

First I spread the catnip in areas where I knew the cat would encounter it quickly.  I mixed it into piping hot wet food, which becomes a smell that drives cats mad.

I baited the drop trap with searing hot microwaved human tuna, Nine Lives Seafood, catnip and kitten chow, which has a lingering strong odor too, and is tasty.

I put more catnip up to 15 feet from the drop trap along with bits of bait, and called the cat to a plate, empty except for tiny bits and pieces, and tuna juice heavy in catnip.  I left an almost empty plate a foot from the drop trap.  The cat doesn't come when I call but knows I am there, so there's no use pretending I am not or sneaking about.

So I make a fanfare of calling to feed, to reassure the cat, to let the cat know I know it knows I'm there, to make no pretense, because the cat already knows the score.  I call it cat flirting and it is an important part of cat trapping for spay neuter.  "I love you and would never hurt you," is what I'm trying to tell the cat by action.  "You can trust me," I'm trying to convey.  "Don't worry, I'm your friend" these things too the cat needs to think.

The cat appeared within ten minutes.  At first, he darted under the drop trap to nervously grab bait pieces and run with them, out to the turkey poop covered lawn to gulp down.  I have the patience of a cat however.  I waited, stock still, inside the room with a view of the cement patio where the drop trap was propped up, string to yank out the prop and drop the cage trap in hand.  I had the screen door propped slightly open, with newspaper, to accommodate the drop trap spring string, to give it space for free movement, and the door barely cracked.  I watched through a sheer curtain from the dark without moving, barely breathing.  I don't mind doing this.  I've stood still like that for hours waiting on a cat.  I'm stubborn that way.

Becky had come to keep me company from Lebanon, with sandwiches but she'd forgotten the cards.  We like to play cribbage.  The colony caretaker who created this mess was off at church which made things easier.

I waited.  The cat had to become comfortable eating from the plate in the middle back of the trap, not be looking this way and that.  I waited, knowing waiting was a risk too.  The raccoon gang might show up at any moment and mess this up. Or the thundering herd of wild turkeys.  Or the skunk might join the cat under the propped up drop trap and you think I'm going to yank the cord and trap a skunk and a cat together, just to end this, be done, get sprayed in the process?  Yeah, I might.

The moment came.  The cat was completely under the trap and engaged in eating.  I yanked the string.  The drop trap prop pulled clean out from holding it up and the trap clanged down on the cement.

"Got him!" I yelled to Becky, who was in the woman's kitchen.  Becky came running.  She's a good drop trap partner.  She knows the drill.  She ran out to cover the trap with a sheet while I got a transfer trap ready.

I'd left the trap with the woman who owns the place, the woman who fed these cats for a decade without ever getting them fixed.  She was supposed to use it to catch this last little guy, but the trap was set so badly it would never have even sprung.

But now I matched its transfer door to the transfer door on the drop trap, lifted both doors, removed the cover on the trap partially, so the trap looked like a way out and the cat shot into it.  I slammed down the trap's transfer door, clipped it, and Becky and I started dancing around, doing the last cat caught dance, and whooping.

I'd been there about 20 minutes.

No more cleaning turkey crap out of my shoe tread.  No more listening to the ever changing stories from the colony caretaker about what is going on with the house sale and the mortgage holding bank and and and...

This has been difficult.  I sure won't lie.  It will continue to be difficult on me physically, emotionally and financially until I get the ones still here into barn homes.  The Heartland staffer home offer is the big one.  She's taking ten or eleven of the ones held now in the garage cage I built to house them.  Just waiting for the word from her, that she and her husband have taken possession of the farm they have bought.  They'll be a great home for those, but it still leaves a need for a home for six more.

I got an e-mail from someone named Linda today, saying they can take three or four.  I called the number left in her e-mail.  No response yet, but it is Sunday.  I am hopeful.  This one also turned out be someone just playing games with me.  Why do people like to hurt those helping cats by fake responses to craigslist ads?  Good question.  It just highlights how selfish society has become I guess.

We've done well in a short time and with no money at all, myself and that Lacomb woman, who found the colony in the course of her job and couldn't ignore the plight of those cats.  60 kittens and cats have been removed.  Five kittens that I know of, of those 60, have died.

Safehaven and KATA have taken on expenses with the kittens, KATA far more so than Safehaven, as all 12 KATA took in are still alive, and eventually will need fixed.  KATA has paid for now 11 of the adult cat fixes, and has pledged to pay out for the last two, also.  KATA is a small rescue and people don't donate to them like they do to big shelters, yet they have very big hearts and try hard and help more cats in this area than any other group.

Then there's me.  I've taken a big hit in labor and finances, which is really very funny, considering I have no money really at all to begin with.  The Lacomb woman also took a hit and doesn't have money right now either.  But nonetheless, somehow the job got done and the cats were saved and it's just a wait now for more placements.  16 adults  from the colony have already been placed. That's fairly grand.

Meanwhile, meet Hawkeye.  The last of the Lebanon Let Em Breed colony cats. 

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