So many cats.
I can't possibly go to bed until I've updated this blog. What a surreal experience.
We (myself, the Volunteer, W (my co-worker), and S (his girlfriend)) started by setting out a bunch of traps just after 6pm. Little Grey Girl and Little Crooked-Kitteh had been watching us and sniffing around, and almost immediately went into traps. It's really awful to see how scared they are, how they bang around in the trap in a desperate attempt to escape. Fortunately, though, as soon as you put a cover on the trap, and set it down somewhere else (they don't like being moved, obviously), they settle down. So LGG and LCK (oddly, the two cats I once thought were one) got put into the Volunteer's van.
Then it was waiting time. We went up to my balcony to watch the traps. Bessie, however, held court over a trap, showing all the other cats how to get food from the side of it instead of going in!! For a while we thought Bessie would be our nemesis, and then I thought the nemesis would be the Calico, but no, the cat who defeated us tonight was Pigpen.
Then we caught 5 cats in quick succession-- first a small orange that I didn't recognize who just "mau"ed at me when I went to put the cover on. Next was Cyrano who didn't seem to know he'd been caught until I approached. Then we found Pastel (one of the oranges) who promptly sprayed his trap (ew.) Then an unknown Moo-Cow (#4 or #5 perhaps, but I couldn't tell.) And at this point we also caught the Mysterious Mr Mestopholis, who was really quite calm about the whole thing.
During all this we had a bunch of people asking us what we were doing. One guy was accusatory, thinking we were going to take his cat (we didn't-- I knew which one it was.) Eventually he calmed down and it became very civil and he was supportive. Turns out he's a maintenance guy here, so I explained that I had permission, and that if people complain about the cats, he should tell me, this is my colony.
Then Downstairs Neighbor Lady came out and demanded to know what was going on and where we were taking the cats etc. I tried to explain, thinking that since she knew me and I had tried to explain before, that it would be okay. In the end, though, it was the Volunteer who came to the rescue, explaining everything. She's worried that management will still kill the cats, which was enough to worry me, and get me all paranoid. But no, not after all this.
One guy asked if we were "trying to catch the herd"? I said yes, but we were bringing them back. He seemed rather irritated that they were being returned.
At one point a kid started shouting at the cats, "Run! Run free! Never come back here, they'll kill you!" which really irritated me, but S pointed out that they were just kids and didn't know any better.
Then, oddly enough, we did catch Bessie-- she's the only one who hissed that I noticed, when peeked at. After ages of circling traps, she finally went in. For a long, long time Calico was just sitting around, sniffing at traps but never going in until the Volunteer just put down a trap and she ambled on in. So that's, what, 9 cats? Hm. It's really hard to tell the cats apart when they're moo-cows or oranges in the traps, and while I wanted to take notes, I didn't (because we caught five in quick succession and I couldn't be sure of who #3 was already, so it go very confusing.)
Gremlin kept an eye on all of these proceedings, but we didn't catch him, which was good, because we definitely agreed by this point that he was already ear-tipped.
We caught Bozo towards the end-ish of the evening. He is a *big* cat. BIG cat. Heavy cat. Very handsome. I think we caught another orange, too. I'll have to check tomorrow when they're recovering, or get confirmation from the Volunteer who actually *did* take note of these things, thank goodness. Anyway, by this point we had caught 11 cats.
I marveled that we hadn't seen either the Dilute Tortie (who is now known as Amaranth, thanks to her wonderful sponsors) or Daisy. And then Daisy wandered out and lay down in the middle of the parking lot. O-kay. She was completely disinterested in the traps full of tuna, eventually lying down directly between two of them as if to say, Ha ha, I have no interest in your traps of tuna. So the Volunteer set up a drop trap. You know those cartoons of traps with a box and a stick and a string? It's basically a sophisticated one of those. And Daisy walked directly into it to gobble down some dry food. We transfered her into a trap with no trouble, too. She was definitely the 12th cat we caught.
Pigpen had been lying in the middle of the green field area for, seriously, an hour or more, just being a kitty loaf. She was taunting us. Taunty-taunt, taunt. While I was peeking at her, two black and whites ran (and I mean ran) across the grass. I assume that they were Mustache and #4, but I couldn't be sure. We did not catch them tonight, and in fact I only managed to even spot one of them later on, once, running like his tail was on fire (which it was not.)
We moved the drop trap, and she never went anywhere near it. No Pigpen for us, tonight.
Amaranth (Dilute Tortie), however, we did manage to trap this evening. She is the most beautiful cat, seriously. Huge beautiful eyes, delightful coloring. And while she was clearly scared, she didn't fight. Which is really good because we had to keep peering at her-- not because she's beautiful, although she is-- but because her ear seemed to have already been tipped. Only it was curvy-tipped so we weren't sure for a while. But in the end we decided that she had been ear-tipped and therefore had already been altered and could be let go. We kept her in the trap for a while in the hopes that she'd eat something (since no food is going to be put out again 'til Tuesday), then let her go. She zoomed away, as one would imagine.
So, we caught 13, let one go. Not a bad night's work. I will say, however, it was far more exhausting than I anticipated. (Ow, my back.) And I seem to have forgotten to eat dinner (oops), and I still have grades to figure out. (Although, total shout-out of thanks to S for showing me how to figure said grades out.)
Tomorrow I get up in the wee hours of the morning to meet the Volunteer at the mobile clinic. Then in the afternoon we'll bring the babies back here to recuperate on my porch.
Only things that currently have me worried:
1: Surgery (always scary)
2: Catching more cats (I hope) tomorrow night, by myself
3: That LGG may have already dropped her kittens, but in that case, where are they, and that means they're without their mama 'til I can let her go tomorrow night (if she's not too woozy.)
Oh, and oversleeping. I'm pretty worried about that, too. So I guess I should stop now.
Sorry no pictures. I tried, but frankly once a cat's in a trap the only thing you want to do is put the cover on it so that the cat can calm down. And before the cat goes in the trap, all you want to do is keep silent and will the cat into the trap.
So, 12 cats in the Volunteer's van drove off tonight. And I cannot wait until they're back here safe and sound.