My MIL’s garage has been a haven for homeless (and often feral) cats for years and years. I saw a cat there two different times last week. I questioned whether or not this was one and the same, or possibly two different cats. On Thursday morning, we started the trapping process. We caught an opossum late Thursday night, but that was it. No cats. All day Friday through late that night – nothing. Saturday – same routine. Our last trip out there each night was at about 9 pm. Can’t leave a trap set overnight. Even though we were trapping IN the garage (and therefore out of the weather), I couldn’t bear the thought of a cat (or any animal) sitting in a trap all night. What if some little creature entered the trap at 10 pm and stayed there until the next morning. No. I’ve never trapped that way. Each night, at around 9pm, I would check the trap, trip the trap, and leave a small amount of dry food out on a plastic dish in the garage. We’d been back and forth so many times, in and out of the garage – if this cat had been living in the garage for a while because it was quiet and without people, that sure wasn’t the case any longer. I was hoping it would not move on as a result of all of the sudden activity. Maybe leaving some dry food each night would keep it coming.
On Saturday night, just after 9pm, Husband and I made our nightly trip to his mom’s. Pulled into the driveway and I reached for my small bag of dry food. I’d been bringing my camera each trip, in case I got lucky enough to get a picture of the garage cat. As I tried to step out of the vehicle, I got my camera case strap hooked around my foot. After nearly plunging head-first into the gravel, I got untangled and headed towards the garage door. Husband had already stepped in. Before he even flicked on the light, I heard him say – You got something. My heart started racing, and I quickly asked – Is it a cat or another possum? The light came on and there it was.
I was SO happy even though I knew what was ahead. Another feral cat for the cathouse. Odds were great that this guy wouldn’t be tame enough to be adoptable. But right in that moment, none of that mattered. A cat surviving in the world on its own, breeding and contributing to the horrendous overpopulation - that’s all I could see looking into that trap. I put a towel over the trap and loaded this guy into the vehicle. I went back into the garage and put some dry cat food on the plastic dish. This was probably the only cat, but I couldn’t be sure. I’d keep trying for a few more days . . . just in case.
When I got our trapped kitty back home, I took it straight to a cage in the kennel cat room. I’d prepared the cage on Thursday to be ready if I caught my cat. When I opened the trap door into the cage, she shot straight into the hidey hole I’d put in. That’s when I noticed that the can of food that was in the trap was licked clean. I’ve said this before - when a stray or feral cat hears that trap slam shut, it will only continue to eat if it’s starving. Most of them immediately start trying to rip out of the trap. This is when they can sometimes injure themselves. But I’ve definitely had some over the years SO hungry that they kept right on eating. If this poor thing was that hungry, then maybe it would come out for some dry food. I poured a little into the dish, and SHE came charging out and straight to the bowl. I had placed that bowl in the back of the cage, so she had to turn her tail to me to eat. That’s how I could see (clearly) that this was a female. Wow. My heart danced. I would save this poor thing from a terrible life of struggling to survive. AND – there would be no kittens in MIL’s garage in a couple of months. The poor dear was really scared and kept looking back at me and quickly around the room, then straight back to inhaling the dry food. She was starving.
It was late as I walked back up to the house. What a sense of satisfaction knowing this sweetie was safe now. Knowing she would never be this hungry again. Knowing she would never have another litter of kittens. As I was walking, I kept picturing her eating as fast as she could swallow, but turning to look in my direction over and over. She was a tabby, but there was one orange dot on the top of her head. Sunspot. She would be Sunspot. I’ve forced my love of Bob Seger on all of you before. Betty Lou was named after a Seger song. Sunspot Baby is another of his works. Get a look at the newest Wisher – Sunspot.
Sunspot has been here four days now. She never stops eating. Whatever amount I put out - dry or canned - she eats ALL of it immediately. Here’s some good news. Recently, my vet clinic has been scheduling spays about a month out. But when I contacted them about getting my new Wisher in, there was an opening for this week. She goes today!
I’ve been going to MIL’s garage about twice a day since we caught Sunspot. Nothing in the trap. None of the dry food gone. I think we have our one and only. And even considering how badly I do NOT need a cat right now with Kitten Season approaching, I could not be happier that this Sunspot is now safely a Wisher.
Have a great weekend.