Following on from Abigail Baker’s cat post, I have a story to share about cats on campus. Excitement was closely followed by nervousness. Young kittens had been spotted under our building, again. A former colleague rescued a kitten from the same location more than 5 years ago, and I have seen numerous litters come and go over the years. Worryingly, ringtail possums live in the nearby shrubs, and I could only imagine the impact ‘Mum Cat’ and her progeny were having on the local wildlife.
Armed with a degree majoring in Wildlife Management and being a self-confessed ‘Crazy Cat Lady’, I knew what I should do. Trap Neuter Release (TNR) is a fantastic way to manage feral cat populations and involves trapping, neutering and releasing adults so that the population stops increasing and will eventually start to decline. I had been following a Sydney based TNR group on Facebook, and put out the call for help.
Within minutes, I had comments on the post and people messaging me. Luckily, it was still early in the ‘Kitten Season’ (a real thing https://www.rspcansw.org.au/learn/cats/kitten-season) and there were people available to help me trap, look after ‘Mum Cat’ while she was recovering and foster the kittens until they are ready to be adopted. A cat rescue group generously provided a voucher to have ‘Mum Cat’ neutered.
Now we just had to catch them…….
The people I messaged on Facebook magically turned into real people who come and lent me supplies, their expertise and support to get this job done. The kittens were eating solid food, and could go straight into foster care. The next 4 days involved long hours waiting, sleepless nights worrying, more waiting, a lot of coordinating and driving around followed by waiting – but was rewarded by the successful capture of all 4 cats. With 7 days in the first sighting ‘Mum cat’ was trapped, neutered, recovered and released and 3 lovely kittens were in foster care awaiting their Forever Homes.
This whole process took a lot out of me physically and emotionally. It was hard, and I even ended up with a puncture wound on my wrist from a scared kitten. Despite this, I am left wanting to help even stray and feral cats I hear about.
If you want to help, some groups I wholeheartedly recommend supporting are:
CatRescue 901 https://catrescue901.org.au/
Cat Protection Society https://www.catprotection.org.au/
Cat Refuge https://www.facebook.com/CatRefuge/