Last night, I went to the barns where the ferals live and started setting traps. I don't think they were too happy to see me:
There are a total of 46 cats on the farm, some of whom have already been spayed and neutered. I had six slots at the spay/neuter clinic this morning, but I needed to set plenty of traps, so that if we captured some cats who had already been altered (the owner of the farm says she knows which ones have already been done), we could let those cats back out of the traps, and only take cats to the clinic who had not been altered yet, and still fill all six slots. Confused? ME TOO.
I took eleven traps up. One of the traps the farm owner wanted to leave open but with the safety catch on, as a kind of "dummy trap", so to speak, so that left ten traps set for cats. We set eight of them in the barn with the highest concentration of "feral-ferals" and two more in the barn where the "less-feral" cats tend to hang out.
I woke up at dark o'clock this morning and headed for the farm. How many cats would we get? Would we capture enough un-altered cats to fill the six slots?
Success! Of the ten traps set, one failed to activate and one did not have the safety latch removed (ooooops), but the other eight traps had cats, NONE of whom had already been altered! I told the owner to select the six "most-feral" cats to make this trip, as once-trapped ferals are less likely to go in the traps again, and we let the other two "less feral" cats back out of the traps, to be caught on another date. I covered all the traps with blankets and sheets, as it's less stressful for the cats that way, and the farm owner and I were on the road.
Pulling in to the SPCA:
The cats will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped. We took up carriers to put the cats in when they come out of surgery; it's more comfortable for them than putting them back in the live traps for the ride home. The farm owner and a friend will be going up tonight to pick them up and return them to the farm. The males can be released right away; the females will need to kept contained for a day or two (the farm owner is going to keep them in her garage) to make sure the incisions stay sutured.
And three weeks from now, we'll do it all again, with six more cats making the trip, until they've all been spayed or neutered. Yippee!