Thieves In The Night

In cat rescue, I never know what I’ll encounter on any given day.

I might get a call about kittens stuck inside the sub-flooring of a basement and find myself crawling over rodent skeletons to reach 3 kittens huddled in the farthest corner (naturally) after mom was hit by a car.

Basement kitties

I might have to traipse through poison oak, even though I’m horribly allergic, because it’s the only way to reach an injured feral. And once in a while I have to steal feral cats from a property where I brought them for rodent control.

Yes friends, recently my cohort Leanne and I became thieves in the night after discovering 4 feral cats being neglected on a 1000+ acre West Marin property where I’d relocated them 5 years ago. The property had been sold and the new owner had no interest in feeding the cats. So for the last few months Leanne and another volunteer continually made the long drive out to fatten them up.

Leanne and her foster kitten

If you’ve read my posts, The Great Escape or The Kitty Cat Caper, you know I’m no rookie at being a thief in the night. Now don’t get me wrong; one thing I’ve learned in relocating over 1050 ferals is that most people are loving and compassionate.

But others, like the Christmas Grinch, were born with a heart 2 sizes too small. Recognizing the difficulty in continually sending volunteers out there, we realized we had to remove the cats. So we kicked into gear, mustered every ounce of moxie we have, donned ourselves in black clothing and departed under the cloak of darkness to rescue those unfortunate felines.

There’s something to be said about the accompanying adrenaline rush when doing something potentially dangerous, where getting caught could have unfortunate repercussions. Still, the risk is absolutely worth the reward.

So for multiple nights the last 2 weeks, Leanne and I drove to the property and waited until 10 p.m. before sneaking in. Luckily, we know the gate code so once it appeared the residents were settled in for the night, we swept in like soldiers on a rescue mission and set multiple traps.

Before long we caught two of the ferals but returned each night for the remaining two. To avoid being discovered, we parked for an hour in the quaint town of Pt. Reyes before returning to check the traps.

One night we caught and released a raccoon, grateful it wasn’t a skunk. And since multiple people live on the property, we worked mostly in silence, using flashlights only when in the barn so we wouldn’t be detected. Talk about an adrenaline rush.

Then last Sunday Leanne went to the property and pretended to feed the cats. (They hadn’t even noticed 2 were missing.) But instead, she set traps at 5:00 p.m. since the residents appeared to be gone. Bingo! She caught the third cat.

I met Leanne again late that evening to try for the last feral, hoping it hadn’t seen his buddy trapped. Lo and behold at 10:30 p.m. success! Let me tell ya, I’ve rarely moved so fast to get out of a place. We grabbed the items we’d provided..kibble and canned food, auto water dispensers and raccoon-proof feeding stations and of course, the cats.

Our feeding stations trashed by raccoons and filthy from continual construction

As we hightailed it out of there, Leanne dropped her prescription glasses on the sprint to the car but she considered it a parting gift to the heartless property owner…a small price to pay so these cats have a better life with guaranteed shelter, food and water.

After Marin Humane re-vaccinated the cats, we brought them yesterday to a 20-acre property in the hills of Sonoma. Here, they will be acclimated for 3 weeks before being released to do what they do best: rodent control. Homeowners Matt and Usha are giving them access to one of their garages and a secure area under their massive deck. They plan to spoil them and we couldn’t be happier.

Sometimes it takes a thief to make a bad situation better. So yes, I’ll gladly do it again when or if any of our ferals end up with someone whose heart is 2 times too small.

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