You Do the Best You Can, But…..

I set out the traps again this morning, and before long the other white & calico cat started checking them out.

She rather quickly walked into a trap–ate her fill–and walked out, without ever touching the trip plate.

  

Still hungry, she confidently walked into one of the other traps, but THIS time….!

Like the other cats I’ve trapped in the last month (10 cats!  TEN!!), she panicked when she realized that she couldn’t get out. I quickly drove around, covered up the trap with an old shirt, and put her in my car.  It was a nice day, and with the car windows down, she wasn’t too hot or too cold.  I checked on her once an hour until the end of the school day.

Before I left school, I picked up the remaining traps, just to make sure that no one got stuck in one while I was gone.  However, after trapping the white & calico girl this morning, I didn’t see any other cats, not even the orange & white girl who usually shows up every day.

I’ve thought a lot about the missing orange kitten….  I thought about it even more today when I saw two Red-Shouldered hawks flying behind one of the academic buildings,  screeching out their hunting game plan to each other.  It’s a dangerous world for any cats who spend most of their time outside, domestic or feral….

At the SPCA I filled out the paperwork and paid to board the incoming kitty overnight since it was too late in the day for her to have her surgery.  The first kittens’ foster mom was there, and she helped me load the black cat and the other white & calico cat in my car. I enjoyed hearing about the kittens’ progress, and yep, “foster fail” with the first little white & orange fluffy baby; the foster mom will be keeping her. <3

On the way back to school, I stopped to buy two disposable litter boxes and a long funnel (for adding water to the bowls in the dog crates), and I also emailed to verify that a second dog crate would be there by the time I got back. (Many thanks to two of my co-workers for letting me borrow these!)

I enlisted the help of a couple of students to help carry the second dog crate to my classroom–and assemble it!–while I carried one kitty upstairs.  When I went down to get the other one, a teacher who was walking by asked if I’d heard about the kittens.

OMG, WHAT kittens?!

She said that a teacher in one of the other buildings heard faint meowing today. When she went to the basement area to check, she found 3 kittens–two dead, and one in poor condition.  Immediately I felt incredibly sad and … guilty.  Had I contributed to the death of these babies by trapping and taking away their mother?  WHICH mother? WHO was their mother?  The black cat or the white & calico cat that I’d just returned to school?

There was nothing I could do at that point since I needed to get the post-op kitties out of the traps and into the crates, so I thanked her for letting me know and said I’d check into it. 🙁

After setting the litter boxes, food and water into the crates and covering them with large blankets, I set up cardboard barriers on the sides of each trap,  opened the door and easily got first one and then the other cat into their crates.  I plan to release them on Friday afternoon before I go to the SPCA to pick up the other white & calico….

When I got home, I called the SPCA to see what I could find out about the kitten.  They didn’t have much information available at the front desk, so I also emailed the teacher who’d found the abandoned kittens, and I also emailed one of the women who works in the clinic there.

As friends have told me, it doesn’t seem likely that the kittens would have died less than 24 hours after being without their mother.  As that information has sunk in a little, I’m now wondering if the mom somehow brought her kittens into the building a few days ago–via an open door or vent or whatever–and then somehow lost access and couldn’t get back to them.  I don’t know….

Tomorrow I’ll check out the location where the kittens were found.  I’d really like to think that I didn’t cause the death of these babies by removing their mom-cat, but I don’t know that for certain at this point.   And tonight I find that I’m also stressing about the cats in the crates in my classroom for some reason, wondering if they’re okay.

I’m glad that I care so much about cats (and bats and birds–and the environment, and human rights and a whole boatload of other things, too), but sometimes it’s really stressful to care so much.  You do the best you can, but…..  🙁

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