Ireland, in general, has a feral cat crisis. Northern Ireland has the worst reputation in the entire United Kingdom for abandoning and abusing animals according to local charity 7th Heaven.
You may remember this post from last year about the kitten I caught in a bush. It appeared to be the last of the second litter of kittens to be produced since I started my current job.
Well, it appears to be kitten season again. It also seems that the feral queen producing them did not meet a rubber fate on Portaferry Road as we had thought, but has been prowling the woods thoroughly in season.
When I got to work on Thursday I was told that yet another litter of kittens had appeared; looking very similar to the last two lots with at least one kitten with a splodgy moustache. There seemed to be somewhere between three and six kittens. I have only seen three personally: black & white, ginger & tabby and tortoiseshell.
Two of the kittens decided they wanted to move into a car engine. Even though the car hadn’t been anywhere it was dark, enclosed and sheltered from the recent rain. Car owners using that car park were quickly advised to inspect before driving off. One woman checked her car on Saturday evening and, low and behold, there were two kittens sitting on her engine. This was very quickly deemed inappropriate and a great kitten extrication mission was launched.
A small group of colleagues, including one man from a neighbouring farm who parked his tractor and came to help, formed to contain the feline situation. The farm man dove straight into the engine to try and coax the kittens from underneath it. The little black and white kitten escaped and I, leaving my ‘just in case’ gloves behind, nabbed it as it was climbing the wheel of the tractor. He chomped down on my index finger, puncturing it nicely, but I had him.
While I was being given first aid, the kitten was boxed. Unfortunately, the other one was wedged in nice and tight. We had to call it a night, hoping the kitten would come out on its own. I don’t know if it escaped but have a funny feeling it might have ended up squished on the road…
At least we had one kitten! He was taken to a neighbouring house for some overnight care. After going home and talking to Tiernan I was pretty much convinced that this time was my time. I was going to adopt at least one of the kittens and the caught kitten had basically nominated itself. Perhaps I’ve missed my calling – I should have been a cat lady!
Let me introduce you to Eddie. He is the half or more sibling of Poirot (my esteemed colleague’s cat from a June 2015 litter) and the half or more sibling of the bush kitten from last October. He’s not very happy about this photograph. Well, he’s not really happy with people in general at the moment. But this is the baby picture for the mantlepiece in the new house.
I owned a feral cat in my childhood – much to my parents dismay – and kind of love their independence. At least this little guy will be vaccinated and fixed even if he remains a little timid.
Back to that feral cat problem. After three litters we are more than obliged to turn our attention to the kitten’s mother. The plan is to humanely trap her, spay and return her. I guess I’ve kind of adopted that as my mission now (as much as I love kittens).
Check out Feral Cats Ireland for more information about the Cat Crisis and how you can help.