Just when I think I've finally managed to get the feral population, at least in my own backyard (and on the abandoned property next to me), under control, I am proven wrong. Again.
It's my own fault. Life got away from me. I managed to trap and spay Buffy, but never did catch Willow. And the next thing I know, there she is with two kittens. And one of those kittens, a tiny blonde who looked a lot like Buffy and Crookshanks, disappeared after only two sightings, before I could manage to trap her.
And so I had Willow and a little gray kitten to worry about. I started feeding the cats in one of my larger cat carriers. And shockingly, managed to trap, first Willow, and then the gray kitten, without any trouble at all. Willow wanted nothing to do with me. Hissing and growling and generally acting like the feral cat she is, it was a challenge to give her fresh food and water over the long, holiday weekend.
The kitten on the other hand, was a bit subdued and allowed me to pet him/her on a couple occasions.
I took the two into the Humane Society first thing Tues. morning and paid for TNR packages on both. This is where I always have my dilemma. Do I beg for space for the kitten, who is definitely young enough to be socialized?
This kitten is so young, in fact, I don't believe he's even hit that magic age the Humane Society and other rescue organizations put such stock in. The reality is that kittens can be tamed well past that supposed 8-10 week magic cut-off date - as seen with both Skittles and Buffy. It simply takes time and patience, something most rescue organizations simply cannot afford to offer. They need to be able to move their incoming pets out as quickly as possible, to make room for the other homeless animals coming in.
I've seen too many kittens become cats in cages, waiting for that forever home. It's so difficult to know what to do. The kitten is happy with his mama in my backyard, roaming free. His life will undoubtedly be harder and shorter because he's not an indoor cat, but can I claim that his life in a cage in a shelter would be any better? The dilemma is one I hate having to even contemplate.
The Humane Society makes it easy for me, telling me they have no room to take in this kitten, whom they've determined is a male. And so I bring Willow and her kitten, whom I've named Giles, home with me. I keep them in their cat carriers, feeding them, bonding with the kitten, while the mother ignores me, hisses at me, growls and swats at me, watches me in fear.
And finally today, desperate to give Willow her freedom, to end her torture at being locked up, and knowing I've done the best I can to give her time to recover from her surgery, I carry both carriers out and set both cat and kitten free.
Now to wait and see if Willow will ever trust me again. If Giles will continue to let me pet him, now that he is free to roam the neighborhood once more.