So, btmao got hold of a master trapper, V, and tonight he helped alleviate the situation that’s been developing in Area 2.
Our main aim was BambiBaby, who bit btmao’s hand in our first (failed) attempt to trap him, and Saba, whose recalcitrant family has allowed her to continue to get pregnant.
As we walked out to Area 2, who should we spot but a new young male cat, probably a yearling, lounging in front of the late Charlotte‘s home. A new member to Ian’s gang, btmao had seen the very friendly boy a few times, once sauntering out the family’s front door. We briefly discussed our options as we walked along the school buttressing Area 1.
Who should we see but Stanley swaggering his way in parallel on the other side of the fence! I shadowed him while btmao went to meet V and direct him over.
When V and btmao met up with me, Stanley was in between blocks of Area 1, As V set up the cat trap, an Indian grandpa and his two young granddaughters watched a little distance away. Though language was rather the barrier, I managed to explain to the granddad what we were up to, and he considerately pulled his young charges a little further away.
Stanley showed no interest in stepping inside the trap, so V went to get his net. While V was away, Stanley went into gladiator mode, as another tom, a young (we estimate 2 years old) Tabby Tuxedo male crossed his path. It was pure happenstance, but as concentrated on posturing as Stanley was, V was able nab him without incident. At last, our second enfant terrible was in the carrier!
V quickly brought Stanley back to his van, and then came back to work on the other male. When he showed no interest in food and was thus not going into the trap either, V went ot get another carrier.
Jut as V was walking to his van, who should come walking up but Brenda, another newbie female who resembles Freda. She was first spotted only on 12 Dec 08. A skinny, famished cat with some balding parts on her rump, she was scared and wary at out first meeting, but who last week, allowed btmao to touch her upon their first meeting. She was a bit malnutritioned then, but has since fattened up a bit. V simply picked her up and brought her to the van.
To cut a long story short, the tabby tuxedo boy got away.
So we decided it was time to go over to Area 2 and try for Saba and BambiBaby.
We spread out in different directions.
Saba was nowhere to found.
As for BambiBaby, btmao found him in his usual hiding place behind the eatery. Since our last report, he has learnt that hearing btmao means dinner but that she’s not to be trusted so much. btmao has to put the food down among the bushes, and step back at least 3 metres before he will cautiously approach the dinner “plate”, check out the coast in an elaborate 5 to 10m minute ritual before he starts eating, gingerly.
By the time I joined btmao and V, I could see BambiBaby cautiously sniffing outside the trap and calling as loudly as ever.
An audience was also gathering. There was a gazebo nearby, and some among the usual evening gaggle of men who gathered there tried to sabotage the operation by distracting BambiBaby with catcalls of their own. One of them even stamped his feet loudly just as BambiBaby took his first step into the trap. V tried to explain to the group but the saboteur started posturing. Fortunately, he had open-minded companions who were more receptive and managed to keep things calm.
BambiBaby got spooked nonetheless and ran a little away and almost into the drains that surround the eatery, so btmao went to drop a dollop of canned food at the trap entrance.
At this time, a family walked by and obliviously gathered, less than 0.5 m from the trap. btmao asked them to move back and they did, though they continued to watch.
It was a very tense time, but after 10 minutes, BambiBaby finally did enter the trap. It took him another 10 minutes to venture deep enough to trigger the trap door. Success!
Then V took the trap one side to transfer BambiBaby to a carrier… and he promptly escaped. Looks like getting this growing scaredy cat will take more doing. The head of the spectator family then came up and started sharing clandestine info – that there were a few cats around, 1 “mother” and 3 or 4 kittens and that the mother was often there calling. We suspect he meant Saba and that he may have mistaken other kittens (as yet unsighted by us) for BambiBaby’s litter as Bambi (who is still MIA) had never been seen with any other kitten.
The peacemaker from the men gaggle also offered some insider news: there’s a family of cats whom people are feeding. We suspect he was referring to the calico cat we spotted that day. She definitely has a litter, and he confirms the whole family is being irresponsibly fed.
With the double setbacks of not finding Saba and BambiBaby’s escape, we decided to go and get Indy instead.
Strangely, he was afraid of btmao but would respond to me. As the family was home, we did a bit of stealthing: I carried Indy to the next block where V met us and I put him into the carrier with no effort at all. In fact, he purred all the way.
Frankly, I was wavering over whether to sterilise Indy or to leave him for his family, even though we are quite sure they would probably do no such thing, given their history, but years of accumulating peeve made me want to try for a game of brinksmanship with them. But Iggy came to mind. Frankly, we have more than enough kitty-sized albatrosses around the neck to deal with, so I surrendered as we did not want that to befall another beautiful cat.
We have more than enough cats in Area 2 needing de-mojoing. The calico mothercat‘s brood is 3-4 months old: 1 short-tailed and small-sized black kitten with white mittens, 2 cream-coloured tabbies, 1 torbie calico and 1 short-tailed agouti. All are scaredy and scoots readily into their drain of a home. The good thing is, they are not difficult to find though their schedule is also not fixed. All are ravenous and we hope they will stick around for another month or 2 until we can get them sterilised. Their mother, who has the most lovely large blue yellow eyes, we hope to settle sooner.
Along with the family, BambiBaby, Saba remain on the radar, so V will be back.
We are going to burn a hole in our pocket, taking on responsibility that so-called pet owners, who own their own cars I might add, at least for Indy and Saba, and most likely the escaped tabby tuxedo boy, but the alternative is not something we want to happen.
So 3 cats down… X to go.
Mr Safety’s advocacy for cat trapping is a great public service, but all that advocacy can’t work without MIWs, minions-industriously-working, aka you and me.
Merry Christmas, and here’s to hoping all the kitties without roofs over their heads remain safe.
(Note: No pictures of tonight’s operation as I did not want the camera to get in the way nor to spook our quarry)