A Trappers Tale - Megan and her kittens

megan's kittensMy daughter Amanda lives in Wales and when one of the cottages in the village came up for auction she decided to bid for it. It was one of a row of three next to the old church and been lived in by a reclusive elderly gentleman for the past forty years. The plan was to renovate it and rent it out as a holiday let, as the area is very popular with walkers and ramblers

It wasn’t long before Amanda discovered her sitting tenants – a semi feral Tortoiseshell cat and her three kittens had taken up residence in one of the outhouses in the courtyard. Never was Amanda so happy that her mum was a CP volunteer who could perhaps do something about this situation before it got well out of hand. She straight away got on the phone to tell me about it

The cat had first appeared a year ago and was being fed by Gill who lived in the cottage next door. She had named her Megan and she had given birth to two kittens last year, one of which had been killed on the road, the other a beautiful ginger Tabby boy called Bailey had moved himself into Gill’s home

Gill had then caught Megan and taken her to the vets to be spayed but they were turned away as she needed an appointment. Back at home all Gill could do was release her not knowing what else she could do. So it was no surprise when Alwyn who lives in the house on the other side of the church said that he had seen Megan in his garden with three kittens. It seemed that Megan had given birth to them in the safety of the old churchyard with its centuries old graves overgrown with ivy. A few furtive peeks over the stone wall showed them playing and it wasn’t long before they were coming through a gap with their mum to be fed by Gill

The kittens were just about young enough to be socialised and by the tameness of Bailey these too would be very nice placid kittens. Also mum would probably not yet be pregnant again so she could be neutered and returned back to the care of Gill.  In theory an easy enough task but given that it would be a seventy mile round trip and I would need to be collected and driven back home we hoped that everything would go according to plan. Normally when I trap I take as long as it takes until the job is done but here was just a small window of opportunity. We knew that Megan came for her food at 7pm when Gill would ring the bell on the wall outside her door, and then Megan would go off and return about 9pm with her kittens

So I thought the manual trap would be best to use, it is a large metal cage, operated manually to allow capture of mum and kittens all together. We needed to run a line through Gill’s kitchen window, attached to the trap, and we would be in hiding in the kitchen, watching through the window. Once the little cat family were inside eating the food, the line would quickly be pulled to trigger the catch and they would be secured. We hoped that Megan wouldn’t be fazed by having to enter the trap for her food and would then return with her kits

Amanda came to collect me and by 6.30 the trap was set up and we were ensconced in Gill’s kitchen in readiness for Megan to arrive. As expected she appeared at 7 pm and after sniffing round the trap decided it was safe to go in, After eating her meal off she went, would she return with her kittens? The trap was baited again with freshly cooked chicken. Gill retired to her lounge leaving us well supplied with chocolate biscuits and access to tea making and wine. Now all we had to do was wait very quietly. On cue at 9.15 Megan returned with her little family and whilst they were all tucking into the chicken the trap was sprung and all were safely caught. The next morning they were taken to our vets. Megan to be neutered and the kittens to be health checked. The vets thought the kittens were nine weeks old so we started them their course of vaccinations against cat flu and leukaemia.

Megan’s’ kittens went to one of our fosterers. They were very sweet natured happy little kits and have tamed up well though a little timid. They were found good homes where they will live a life of domestic bliss. After a couple of night’s stay at our vets Megan was delivered back to the cottages where she sprinted from the trap into the churchyard. Half an hour later when Gill tinkled the bell Megan came running for her dinner none the worse for wear after her operation

Now that her days of looking after her kittens are over Megan can at last relax and enjoy life. Amanda tells me that she spends her days lazing around the courtyard with Bailey. So a happy ending for all concerned both human and feline, I’ve never sat around eating chocolate and drinking wine whilst trapping before! I am more likely to be found hiding in bushes in the pouring rain!