Monday, November 17, 2014

The Release Phase

I released Buffy this morning.  It was so hard to do, but I did it anyway.  

I set the carrier outside on the ground, facing the area where I feed her, to orient her.  I left the carrier closed for a minute so she could feel the breeze and possibly register where we were, then I opened the door.  She sat there for a minute and then she bolted.  It'll probably be a while before I see her again.  She'll try to keep out of my sights until she no longer remembers my audacity in grabbing her like I did.

My brain knows this is best for her.  She won't be happy inside and I already have a full house of completely indoor cats and there just isn't room for one more.  Still my heart wants to keep her and work on socializing her. 

I keep telling myself I've done everything I possibly can to give her the best possible chance of survival.  I had her spayed and got her shots.  She's been dewormed and given flea meds. I'll continue to feed her and give her water, but she's just so little still.  They said five months at the Humane Society, which according to most rescue organizations is past the age of socialization.

Five months in kitten-world though is still little, and I'm thinking she's fairly small for her age as well.  I just hope she makes it through the winter. I'm not the right person to do this whole TNR thing (Trap-Neuter-Release), at least with kittens. When they're full-grown adults, it's not a problem for me. But when they're kittens, I feel so cruel not investing the time to socialize them because I know from personal experience that it's not about the age of the kitten.  It's simply about the patience and effort you're willing to invest in the process of socializing them.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Buffy the Feral Kitten

It's a regular kitten parade over at my house.  I dropped off two of the kittens I've been fostering to a shelter last Saturday (they'll be taking the third kitten this Saturday) and discovered at least one kitten running around my property the very next day.  She's blonde and adorable, but quite fierce and so I named her Buffy.

No matter how often I do this - rescue kittens from wherever I find them (feral and not) - I just never seem to get it right.  Sure I should have set out a trap and sure I logically know that the ole snatch-and-grab is never a good plan when dealing with ferals, but when opportunity presented itself this morning, I just couldn't resist.

On the plus side, I was wearing gloves, so they mostly protected me.  I was absolutely shocked when Buffy came right up and ate the food as I set it out rather than waiting as usual for me to walk away.  Since she approached unexpectedly, I went ahead and went for it.  Needless to say, when I grabbed her, she went insane, snapping and biting at me.  Somehow I managed to keep hold of her though and got her into the house and into a carrier, but it was touch-and-go for a minute.  She did not like the turn of events.

I have a kitten who will be spayed in the morning though, a kitten who was absolutely destined to drop litters in my backyard for the next ten years, which would involve those kittens dropping more litters, so all things considered, today was a rousing success.

After getting Buffy into the carrier, I immediately took her to the Humane Society.  I was hoping they would agree to find a home for her, but was told she was already too old for socialization. Of course, I know this isn't really true - after all, I've managed to socialize Skittles who was on her own for the entire first year of her life. It just takes patience and a lot of calm, caring, soothing effort. 

I completely understand why this is the Humane Society's stance though. Some kittens are easier to socialize than others, but bottom line, shelters have to focus on helping those they truly believe they can adopt out and a feral kitten is always a long shot.  So, though it broke my heart, I requested the feral package, which involved spaying her, giving her shots and tipping her ear.

I'll pick her up tomorrow, keep her for the weekend to ensure she recovers well from the surgery, and then I'll release her once more to the wilds of my backyard.  I absolutely support the efforts and theories behind TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) programs, but the release part is always the hardest to manage for me.  If I could find homes for all of the homeless cats in the world, I would. Still, little Buffy with her sharp teeth and wicked claws should be fine to defend herself.  I'll feed her and make sure she has water and shelter and she'll undoubtedly love her outdoor life, for however long it lasts.