Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Outdoor Cat's Big Adventure

IMG_6494x Where's breakfast?
I'd been deluding myself into thinking that maybe, just maybe, Outdoor Cat (above) had been spayed, but on the morning of May 8, our neighbor reported that Outdoor Cat had been performing naughty acts on our front porch with Other Outdoor Cat (right). On the advice of Julie (kisluvkis), I attended the Wisconsin Humane Society's orientation for Community Cat Caregivers last Saturday, since their Trap-Neuter-Return program is now available for feral cats outside of Milwaukee County as well.

Then this week, since I'm working at home all week, I began the process of Outwitting Outdoor Cat. I bought a wildlife trap on Saturday (my first visit to Tractor Supply Co.) and left it on the front porch draped in a sheet, with the door locked open so she could get used to its presence. My initial plan was to trap her on Sunday night and take her in for spaying Monday morning, but apparently she overhead me saying this and did not show up for dinner on Sunday. She reappeared on Monday morning just late enough that I wouldn't have been able to take her in for surgery (since she had to be dropped off between 8-9 a.m.). I gave her a little bit of breakfast but at Julie's suggestion I withheld food for the rest of the day. In the evening, I put warm sardines in the trap, but she pointedly sat by the front door (next to the open trap) waiting for me to bring her food in her dish.

We did our best to ignore her pathetic gaze, and around 10 p.m., my husband reported that the trap door was shut. But it turned out to be Other Outdoor Cat, the male who apparently wasn't as cautious where sardines are concerned. (Should have taken a picture of him.) I'm still convinced OOC lives somewhere else because he looks well-fed (could be more wishful thinking on my part) so I let him go and re-set the trap. (His time will come for the snip, I'm sure.) When we went to bed a little before 11 p.m., Outdoor Cat had returned to stare in the front door waiting for dinner. At one point she sniffed at the trap, but didn't go in. I woke up at 1 a.m. and the trap was still open, and O.C. was nowhere to be seen. Indoor cat Nuts woke me up at 3 a.m., and lo and behold! The trap was shut! I half expected to find Other O.C. in there again, but instead there was Outdoor Cat looking very annoyed.
IMG_7201 Outdoor Cat looking very peeved
I bundled her into the garage and went back to bed. The next morning, I dropped her off at the Humane Society knowing there was a possibility she might not be coming back, if she was deemed adoptable and they could find a good home for her (the outcome I was hoping for), or if she tested positive for a communicable disease like feline leukemia, in which case they would have to euthanize her. So I spent the day waiting for a phone call good or bad, but no phone call meant I could pick her up after 4:30 p.m.

So now she's resting in our garage, under observation for 48 hours before I can let her go. Our neighbor lent us his dog kennel so she didn't have to spend two days in the wildlife trap. I can offer her food tomorrow morning, and in theory I'm supposed to check her stitches, but I don't think that's going to be very easy. The black blob in the white plastic carrier is her, still looking peeved.
As part of the program, she had her ear notched, so observers can tell she's been spayed, and she now has a microchip identifying me as her owner should she ever get picked up as a stray, though after this adventure, she may never want to see me again!


Peace said...

Good for you!! Me and my too many kitties are happy at your being Double Secret Outdoor Cat Mommy. We had a feral kitten hanging around last summer -scared to death of anything with human feet. Our boy (cat) Licky (you can guess why) dragged her in by the scruff one night. After several weeks of aquainting her with the things on the other end of feet (us), she's a pretty happy family member. (Still loves Licky and foloows him around.) Unfortunately she's stuck with the lame moniker "Kitty Girl", bevause I didn't plan to keep her so refused to give her a proper name at the time. Now I refuse to change it because she knows it. Sigh.

vintagepix said...

How funny about Licky - When I was in kindergarten my big brother found 3 abandoned kittens and our male cat Susie (long story) would pick them all up and clean them, until they tried to nurse, and then he would have none of that! Poor Outdoor Cat is stuck with that name for now :D Checked on her this a.m., and she was moving a bit stiffly around the cage, grumbling at me.

Mixing-Katie said...

What an adventure! Good for you for doing it, even if Outdoor Cat doesn't appreciate it!

Katxena said...

Very cool. I'm sure you could have used a bit more sleep, but it's wonderful that you are doing this. It will improve your local feral cat community significantly.

juanita de la vega said...

Hi Carolyn! Must read that book!
That thing you did for OC is fantastic, (I like Outdoor Cat name!) Our Ciro, "The cat that fish",(it is pronounced something like "Cheero) was but a kitten when he climbed to the high pine in our building garden. He stayed up there for one day and one night. We rescued him and... here he is after thirtheen years!
We called him "our furry son"!lol

PaMdora said...

Now you sound like my friend who catches strays and tries to help them. You both are braver than me. ---

but hey, wouldn't that make a great title for a quilt or work of art -- "naughty acts!"

vintagepix said...

Thanks, Katie, Kristie, Juanita and Pam! Outdoor Cat is resting comfortably and even let me pet her through the cage. We'll let her out tomorrow p.m. if she's still doing well, and hopefully she'll fall back into her usual routine of lolling on our front porch and not be spooked by this whole experience.
@Pam - well, it wasn't that brave since the alternative was finding homes for the inevitable kittens that would be born under our deck!

Michele said...

Wow! I'm so impressed that you went through all that (though I suppose you're right that the alternative of finding homes for all those kittens isn't too appealing!). It is so nice anyway that you're taking care of her. Do you think Outdoor Cat wasn't deemed adoptable because she's too feral?

Janne and I found a young, stray dog last summer and consequently discovered that there's no humane society in Finland--not enough stray animals. Which I suppose is an overall good sign, but it also means that there's no support system for the few that do pop up. We were finally told by the police to let the dog go. Poor thing. I still wonder what happened to him.

So is Outdoor Cat now permanently your outdoor cat?

vintagepix said...

How interesting, Michele, that Finland doesn't a system for strays because they don't have many! We're lucky to be out in a rural area because the folks looking after feral cats in the city of Milwaukee have to steer around all the local animal control regulations (I gather from the orientation that city animal control doesn't agree with the "Return" part of Trap Neuter Return, though one of the humane society's arguments is that if you remove the cats, more cats will come into replace them. (In our case, if we remove the cat, we'll probably end up with a raccoon or possum living under our deck.)

OC has been friendly with me, but she will hiss and growl when startled. All winter, she hissed at me whenever I put food out for her. If you've ever heard a cat growl and eat at the same time, it's pretty funny! *grum grum grum*

Michele said...

I was very surprised! It seems that people who want to adopt pets get them from Russia or Estonia!

I didn't even realize that cats growled at all, but that does sound funny :)

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