Friday, January 24, 2014
Feline Friday: Cat fixing update
So I'm happy to say I fixed the first 2 cats last weekend! I decided on Pumpkin (above) and Freckles (below) as they are the tamest of the cats, which is not saying much. Pumpkin is still quite skittish around me, while Freckles is loving to me, and other cats, but scared of other humans.
Best Friends Animal Society works with local animal shelters and low-cost spay/neuter organizations in San Antonio, to fix feral cats for free. And as anyone living in San Antonio can tell you, stray cats are everywhere here. They also lend out traps for free, to bring them in. Using the traps is essential, because even if they are a little tame with you, there's no telling how they'll react to other people. The traps keep the cats and the caregivers safe.
I thought trapping the cats would be hard, given how shy they are around me. But after 3 months of feeding them outside, they associate me with food. All I had to do was put a bit of dry food inside the trap (I didn't even have to set the trap) and while they were busy chowing down, I pushed the door closed. Easy peasy!
Trapping was the easiest part, by far. Next, I had to cover the traps with a towel to calm them down, and put them inside the house overnight. This is to make sure they don't eat anything before surgery. They really didn't like being in the traps at first. I heard a lot of sad meowing and cage rattling, all night long, and for an animal lover, it can be tough to hear.
Bright and early the next morning, I got them to the Boerne Animal Defense League. The staff there were so nice, and had many, many animals to process, but were absolutely patient and helpful. I picked them up at 4 PM. The cats were groggy and not too happy in general. The staff asked me to keep them in the traps for 3 nights.
3 nights! The first night, they were fine - they meowed a little, but quieted down. I gave them food and water but only Freckles wanted to eat. The next morning, again, only Freckles ate. Pumpkin just meowed and clawed at the cage. The second night, they both ate and were alert and were fairly calm.
The next morning, I saw a tiny bit of blood near the cage and realized Pumpkin had injured her claw trying to pry at the cage bars. She was frantic, even after eating. So I let the two of them recover in our garage, putting out a litterbox and a warm place for them to sleep. That third night they were so happy and calm together.
The next day I let them out to be with the other cats, and their reaction was completely different from what I would expect. They were not afraid of me, if anything, they were more affectionate, and they were less inclined to roam around. They've spent the past few days sleeping and running around happily. Success! Only 4 more to go! :)