It’s 11:30 p.m. and I won’t be sleeping anytime soon. My adrenaline is surging like a spewing fire hydrant. That’s because I just got home from stealing 4 cats with Loretta, my partner in crime.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not normally a cat snatcher. I’m more a cat trapper…as in trapping feral cats for sterilization. Tonight, however, was different.
Marin Friends of Ferals has relocated over 500 un-adoptable cats to act as mousers that also receive daily food and water. Only 4 times we’ve had to retrieve them for inadequate care. (Read The Great Escape for another cat caper I chronicled.) Tonight’s snatch was equally exhilarating. Except last time we didn’t get caught.
Here’s what happened:
Loretta and I checked on 4 cats we’d relocated 2 days earlier to a rural property where the ferals acclimate in cages for 3 weeks before being released. That’s when we discovered the so-called guardians hadn’t fed nor provided water since then. (Precisely why we conduct surprise visits.) So after tending to the cats, we immediately implemented a plan to remove them the next night.
Still, we didn’t want to alert the guardians for fear they’d release the cats before we took them back. So Loretta and I gave Oscar-worthy performances in hiding our shock and disgust at their neglect, along with our desire to strangle them right on the spot.
So the following night I borrowed an enormously long van to haul both 4-foot wired cages back to the humane society with (hopefully) the cats safely tucked inside. I picked up Loretta and we headed to the 8-acre property, parked nearby, and waited for the cloak of darkness before embarking on our cat-snatching mission.
Loretta, like a good Girl Scout, came armed with essentials: gloves, flashlights, head lamps and snacks. Gotta have munchies on a cat caper, you know. So we waited. And we waited. People were coming and going like Grand Central. When it finally quieted down, we made our move. (Insert Mission Impossible theme song here.)
I drove the van up the road to the back of the property, parking behind a structure I hoped would hide us. Then, like synchronized swimmers, Loretta and I jumped in unison from the van. Two thieves in the night, we sprinted toward the cages while attempting to avoid falling into gopher holes hidden in tall grass. Or worse, be discovered.
We worked quickly, mostly in silence. First we took the cages from the tables, quickly carried them to the van, then hurriedly collected the rest of the supplies. We were ready to roll within 10 minutes. (My personal best.) Now we just had to leave the property without being spotted, after which I planned to call the guardians and explain why we removed the cats.
With hearts pounding and adrenaline racing, my accomplice and I headed down the driveway toward the street. As we rounded a bend, 25 yards from freedom, Loretta whispered, “I smell cigarette smoke. Someone is here!” And there in the road before us, illuminated in our headlights, stood one of the guardians.
Not to worry. I’d prepared for this. Feigning being happy to see him, I said, “Oh good, we thought you weren’t home.” I explained that upon further thought I felt these cats were too shy for their busy property and would spend more time hiding than hunting. So we could leave without incident, I lead him to believe I’d bring back less timid ferals. Luckily, he fell for it.
We then whisked the cats back to the humane society. Next week they’re going to an awesome property with loving guardians. (No doubts with this family.) You see, I often rely on my intuition when relocating ferals. This last placement whispered so softly I either didn’t hear it or I wasn’t listening. I won’t make that mistake again; therefore, this could be our last cat snatching.
But to be honest, I’m going to miss that adrenaline rush.
The 4 rescues from our kitty cat caper.