It is an extremely stressful day: everything is now in place to trap Mitsy and I am overwhelmed with doubts.
Should we go through with it? Is it our right to interfere with mother nature? What will happen to Mitsy when she gets completely stressed-out and has a miscarriage? There are so many unknowns! I feel like bailing. Wim is the one who, around 5:30 pm, tells me we need to stop dilly-dallying and give the trap a chance. He is nervous as well, but he wants to make a decision. Neither of us has slept well and this cat has gotten under our skin and controls almost all of our thoughts and conversation to the point of obsession. So, OK, we activate the trap. We have no idea if she is even going to come tonight. It is a really hot day and she was here for a couple of hours in the early morning, sleeping under the AC unit, after having her meal inside the house for the 5th day in a row. She did not even need that much coaxing. It is going really well and I feel there is trust growing. Which makes me even more nervous now: is that trust going to break? Is she going to turn against me? So many unknowns!
My heart is hurting and there is a great weight on it now. I am deadly nervous!
I wish I spoke ‘cat’ and could communicate to her that it’s OK to walk into our house, into the nesting shelter (a good-size pet carrier) and let us take care of her. But if we really want the best for her, we do not have the luxury of waiting another day. If it does not work tonight, we will try again tomorrow. But it would be best to get her tonight. She is ready to pop. We have no idea where she had them before and how they ended, where they went, if they even survived. Chances are she will choose the same spot for this second litter of the year. The AC Unit is not safe from predators and in the heatwaves of Canadian summer we cannot live without switching it on…
I decide to give my contact at Ninth Life Cat Rescue Ontario a call. This is the group we are now working with closely. It is their trap we are using tonight. It is much milder than the Havahart we had initially bought online (see earlier post). I talk to my contact for almost 2 hours and she generously lets me speak and cry a lot of the time. She keeps encouraging me. While Wim is downstairs, keeping an eye on the trap, I am upstairs, coward that I am! I cannot stand to be downstairs and I just cannot look at the outdoor cameras either. I am such a whooz… At some point, I hang up and Wim and I have some diner, just to break my cycle of anxiety.
We have her!
And then we hear the trap snap. We look at each other… We have her! Man, that is emotional! I cannot believe we have her!! Wim is a hero – so in control! I, on the other hand, burst into tears right away, almost collapse until Wim reminds me to go outside and cover the trap, as per our planning. So I do.
Then I call my Ninth Life Rescue contact again and she is super happy! Woot-woot! She stays with us via the phone. It’s like we are doing this together. And we are! Then we start with what Wim and I have practiced a couple of times now and within 30 minutes Mitsy is successfully and quietly transferred into the pet carrier, that we have now named ‘The Nest’. We name the extra large Midwest dog crate it is in ‘Basecamp’. It will be her home for the next 8-12 weeks. Then she will be neutered and depending on the level of socialisation we can reach, will stay with us or will be released in a nice barn-yard cat colony somewhere else. Her kittens will be surrendered to Ninth Life Cat Rescue Ontario for adoption. But hold your horses. This is just Day 1 and I cannot even envision what the outcome will be of our cat project…
Checking out the crate
The cameras allow us to check on her during the day, without having to physically go into the basement. She will need some time to recover. For some hours she just sits quietly in the back of the Nest. It looks like she is trembling but I find out it is just panting. She is in shock. Adrenaline! She does calm down eventually but it takes her some hours to have the guts to venture out and eat. But she does, under the cover of darkness. What a relief! In the middle of the night we see her check out every corner of Basecamp. It is a bit disconcerting to see that happen. I never like seeing animals in a cage, but in this case there really is no other way to keep her safe.
I start crying again. I am exhausted now. I did not want to do all of this to get her, but all things considered the whole operation went smoothly, I have to admit. My rescue contact is still on the phone with us and compliments me on a job well done and assures me we have done a good thing.
The trapping moment
As Wim and I watch the footage of the trapping (see below), it is clear that we made the right choice with this borrowed trap. The door does not snap closed as violently as the other one.
Mitsy came to the yard today at 6:30 pm. Clearly waiting to be let in for food. First she napped under the AC unit for a bit. Then it probably got too hot in there and she lounged in the grass, under the gazebo. Finally, around 7:30 pm, she walked up to the sliding doors again, and quite determinedly walked into the trap. Sat low for a few seconds, then tried to get at the food by stretching out her neck as far as possible. When that did not work, she stepped on the trigger plate and snap, she was trapped. It does not even look as bad as I thought it would, on video. She was not thrashing around but she WAS instantly looking for a way out. When I stepped out to cover her with the blanket, I think I heard her hiss, but I am not sure. We left her to calm down a little bit and then moved her to the safe shelter in our basement.
We went to bed around 10 pm, exhausted. At night there was a big rainstorm with thunder and lightning and I thought: now at least she is in a dry and safe place and does not have to sit out that storm under somebody’s deck anymore. Or wherever she ‘lives’ when she is not with us…