Time For Spay and Neuter
I had set the trap out for several days, with the trap trigger tied so it would not snap shut.
Mommycat, Dusky, and the kittens became pretty comfortable eating inside the trap.
I made an appointment to get Dusky spayed at People for Animals, a low cost spay/neuter clinic about a half hour away. They specialize in feral cats, so I knew they could handle my strays. They participate in the TNR, Trap Neuter Release, programs many of the cat rescues are involved in. The idea is to catch feral cats, neuter them and then release them back to the areas they were trapped to live in their colonies without producing more kittens.
The next trick was to capture her. I went to PetSmart and bought a new, fairly large dog cage/crate to hold her in overnight both before her spay date and for a day or so after for recovery.
I set the trap last night before dark. Within two minutes, I had captured both kittens. Since I was hoping to try to tame them a little, that was OK, so I brought them into the house and put them in the crate, locked in the sunroom. Then I set the trap again. It took less than ten more minutes for Dusky to get caught. I brought her in as well and the little family spent the night in the house.
I called the clinic to see if I could bring the kittens in as well. The woman said if they were at least 2 pounds in weight, that was OK to neuter but she didn't know if they would have time. (There are several clinics in the State of NJ and the one I was going to was closed on Monday, so I called one that was open.) She did tell me it was worth a try.
So I pulled out three cat carriers and risked life and limb getting the two feisty kittens in. Hissing, spitting, biting little bundles of fur are not easy to stuff into a carrier, I can tell you that. I did have gloves and a jacket on so I manage to escape serious injury. Then came Dusky. First, I tried to snag her, but she was even more dangerous. Finally, I stuck the open carrier in the cage and, lo and behold, she went right in on her own. I guess I looked like a safe hiding place.
Packed the car with cats and headed out to the clinic.
Bless their hearts, but they were perfectly willing to neuter all three of my little bundles of spitting joy.
The waiting room was filled with other people with cats. A good number of them were strays/ferals that had been either trapped or dumped. Two women had lovely black cats that had shown up at their homes as strays. Both of those cats were sweet and lovable. One rescue women brought in six she had trapped and another woman and one--she'd been trapping a family one at a time for several weeks. With about four more owners with pet cats there, the waiting room was alive with meows.
As it turned out, my little ones were old enough and big enough to neuter, so I left them for the day.
I picked them up at around 4 PM discovering, to my surprise, that the solid gray kitten is a female and the light gray tabby is a male. I was totally convinced, just by observing them and never getting close enough to check, that it was exactly the opposite. Shadow works fine as a name for the little girl, but I'm not sure Slip is the ideal name for the boy.
I plan on keeping them in for a couple weeks to see if I can tame them and I'm hoping I'll come up with the perfect name for my little guy. According to the vet at the clinic, he was the toughest one to handle. He's gotten away from me twice now in the sunroom where there is no place to hide, so in one way, Slip is kind of an appropriate moniker. It does tend to slip out of my control pretty easily. Clever little dude.
I will take some pictures soon, but tonight I am just letting them settle down in the cat bed in the crate. I'll put some food in later. Dusky needs to stay inside for a day or so. So far the weather is staying on the warm side so I don't have to worry too much about putting her back outside to be my barn kitty.
I really can't adopt any more indoor cats as I already have seven. Outdoors I have the barn, two garages, the hay storage area, and the igloo dog house I bought for them so they should be fine. I'm not keen about having outdoor cats, as I do worry about the busy road, but I will do my best to give them a safe haven, good food and, I hope, some solid human friendship.