Horrible day today! Am caring for a colony of about 12+ cats, that were abandoned back in the summer. They are all young, and under a year old. We took out all of the kittens we could a couple months back. Now are the "older" (6-8 month) cats. There was one kitten that appeared about 6 weeks back. He was very very scared and was living in the basement under one of the two vacant/abandoned houses with the door left open. On Tues. some men were cleaning up around the house, we told them about the basement that there may be cats in there. Next day, the door was shut. I was most of the cats outside including this kitten, but still went and checked that no one was left trapped. So now, I have been trying all along to trap this kitten, but he would always run away or around the trap, but he was starting to associate me with food because I would place it down in a special area for him. So gradually he would come out more with me still in the yard. Now yesterday, I spotted him near the house. It was colder and he looked like he was cold, sitting in a ball close to the house. So I tried setting the trap, but not good with 12 other cats trying to jump in it instead, and then I tried just moving close to him. The odd thing was he didn't run away, only until I went to try to grab him. Did this a couple times, and he ran into somewhere and hid. Went back right when before it got dark, tried to get him again-did not have a flashlight and he was all black, so bad idea. I was able to almost get him and he went down into a window hole. I had the carry case right above so was not sure if he went down or in. Had the sheet right above him. He ended up getting out quicker than I could figure out where he was. And since it was dark, I retreated for the night. I did not know how cold it was or that it would be a problem for the kitten (he was probably about 4 months old). I never took into consideration that though he was out of the basement-he had lost his shelter, and did not really appear to stay with any of the other cats. So today, I go back. Found another cat that was missing for four days, and was surprised she was back (though she was acting really weird like she was spooked-so only God knows what happened to her). But then, I go back to area where the kitten was, and I find him in the window hole-not alive He wasn't even in a sitting position, it looked like he was trying to move somewhere in action. Now I feel HORRIBLE, knowing I almost had him last night, and having NO idea that he would not make it through the night!!!! All the effort the last few weeks to try to get him, and I didn't make it in time. I was so sure this morning I would go and be able to definetly get him! Never never never would I think things would end up so cruely and tragically. If I knew this I would have stayed out there and tried more than I did. I did not think he couldn't survive the night, it wasn't that cold, but for him it would have been knowing he was used to the basement on cold nights, and that this was the first since he was closed out of there. I assumed he would have a shelter like the others. However, I was wrong. Now tonight is even more brutal, and I realized today that these cats do not have sufficient shelter. I went back this evening after dark to try to get the other cat that was missing a few days. I didn't see her-but some others were just sitting around, in no shelter. I have never seen a cat not make it overnight from weather. Any that were too cold, I would grab. It made it harder that this kitten was soooo scared. He was as scared as he was cold. And now I am so angry at myself for not being a success sooner than later. I left last night so angry that I did not get him, knowing how close I was. Now tonight, I can't even explain how angry I am at myself, that this cat's life literally depended on me. It is just absolutely horrible!! Now as it stands, we have to come up with some shelter for the others-though we have no idea who actually owns this property and if anyone is even in the house (lights are on and off all the time). But the BEST thing would be to get all of these cats out of there and into homes, which is never easy. Sorry this is so long. I just don't know what to do-I feel like I really failed for this kitten. If anyone else has had a similar experience where you did everything to save a cat, and it didn't turn out well, let me know. I am good with trapping and/or catching, but I really f***** this one up!! And now I can't fix it and that poor baby is not here.
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12/7/08 at 8:38pm