Last week, we learned of a legendary quest undertaken by Sir Mark Beocat, a fearless and valiant man who spent several months (that’s several years in Olde English, armor-laden, horse-riding time) meticulously planning and executing a dangerous mission, battling nature herself and saving a village and one particular villager who had been feeding said cats. Despite the great odds against him, Sir Mark Beocat had set his sights on, er, “fixing” the problem of a full load of fertile feral cats and would not be deterred. He lives in Maine, 300 miles from the village in Connecticut, and so planned to spend the week. His months of relentless, heroic preparations came down to this: 1 week, 13 cats, 16 humane traps, 1 cat trapping boot camp, 1 helpful pet rescue organization, 2 willing veterinary clinics in 2 states, and pounds of the stinkiest bait food you can imagine.
His first stop was Our Companions Animal Rescue, which had agreed to lend Sir Mark 16 humane traps, train him how to use them, and connected him to 2 vets who were willing to spay and neuter the cats on a walk-in basis. Here’s what happened next; quotes are from his log book.
Sir Mark’s log, December 17, Sunday: “Looks like we’re clear for liftoff on Operation Krazy Katz. Cover me troops! I’m going in! I’m heading down at O dark hundred to ground zero Sunday and will be at Our Companions Headquarters for a 10:30 am briefing on the details of the operation. Agents ‘My Sharona’ and ‘Mighty Martman’ [our sister and brother-in-law] may accompany me if they so chose for the briefing, and we have been instructed to stay focused as Commander Caroline will cram a 1-hour briefing into 20 minutes, distribute a truck load of secret conTRAPtions, and send us on our way by 11 am.”
After the briefing, Sir Mark sent an update:
“The blitzkrieg training at Our Companions went well, with all three of us graduating Katz Cum Loudly! We threw our mittens into the air and did what graduates do, go to the liquor store and head to the beach. We didn’t get far before realizing: (a) It was too dang cold for the beach; (b) The liquor store was closed; (c) We’re not that wild and crazy enough any more for that sort of thing! Instead we somewhat reluctantly did the mature, responsible thing and got ready for the Mission Inkatzable. We picked up extra supplies [sardines and other stinky foods Katz can’t resist!].”
Later Sunday: “I will stake out the territory, do some reconnaissance, ready the traps, and start Operation Krazy Ol’ Koot on Monday. Then I’ll collect fur ball specimens to be spayed or neutered Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.”
The two vets that agreed to take on whatever cats he could trap had very strict rules around when and how to bring in the cats. They were also about 50 miles apart, one in Connecticut and one in Massachusetts.
Sir Mark reported: “Chippens Hill Animal Vet Hospital has agreed to take at 8 am, 2-3 Kats on Monday, 3 on Wednesday, 3 on Thursday, and possibly 2 on Friday. Should I trap more than that on any given day, I can run 3 more a day up to the Dakin Humane Society in Springfield, MA. They accept cats at 9:15 am. Hopefully I will get some leads on finding places to unload a few of the Katz, and we can work on thinning the herd down to a more manageable number. Probably wishful thinking! I’ll be sure to give daily updates and call for backup if I get in over my neck in flea bags!”
Sunday night, Sir Mark recorded this entry: “The Katz were getting familiar with the open unsprung traps in the afternoon. Commander Caroline suggested we put them out without food to get the Katz used to them. I was surprised at how some had enough curiosity to check them out and even go into them! This is very encouraging! The traps were set to stay open so that the they wouldn’t close on the curious felines while they explored. Today we will set them up and see how many we can get.”
The traps were in place. Everything was set. Would the Katz be too skittish? Would they find a way to steal the food and get out? All we could do was wait it out for Sir Mark’s next update.
Monday, December 18: “We had a successful first day, trapping 5 Katz in the first hour, and 1 more in the afternoon.” Success! They had reached their daily limit of 6. On Tuesday morning, the katz-feeding villager took 3 cats to the CT vet and Sir Mark drove up to Springfield. “We will try more enticing bait tomorrow, sardines and chicken.”
But later that day, there was a worrisome development. Commander Caroline had told Sir Mark to limit the Katz access to other food so they would be more likely to go into the traps to eat. The neighbor agreed not to feed them, but a social club in an adjacent property dumped a load of fettuccine Alfredo out their back door. Would Sir Mark get derailed by some person’s party food waste? Would his efforts come to naught? Would the Katz learn that the fabulous smelling sardines and chicken in that cage thingy leads to a really, really bad trip and a hangover and stay away?