For 7 years, our Marin Friends of Ferals volunteers have fed an orange cat (OC) living behind a theater in Novato. He was originally part of a sterilized feral cat colony across the freeway so we trapped and returned him, but he headed back to the theater. That OC is an independent fellow.
A couple months ago, the visiting CEO discovered our feeding station and demanded we promptly remove it, along with OC. Sadly, just like The Grinch, his heart is two sizes too small. When we ignored his demand, he had his employees throw away our feeding station. So we put out another. It, too, disappeared. Rinse and repeat.
Never mind that OC resides out of sight, hunts rodents in the ravine, and bothers nobody but apparently Mr. Heartless. Even finding the feeding station is a chore, hidden behind a bush at the end of the parking lot. Then he gave us a time limit to catch OC — not exactly an easy feat with a now trap-shy feral. (He avoids traps like I do Lima beans.) So after unsuccessfully playing nice, I reamed Mr. Heartless on a 20-minute phone call where I totally lost it.
Now don’t get me wrong; normally I’m an agreeable person unless someone messes with our ferals. Mr. Heartless, alarmed by my change in attitude, quickly relented and removed the time limit. (The squeaky wheel gets the grease.) So began the process of trapping OC to live inside the home of our volunteer, Gina. Those two have a special bond so she volunteered to do most of the feeding until he could be captured.
Another volunteer, Michael, is our tech savvy trapper. He placed his remote on a walk-in trap as we trained OC to enter a little deeper each day until a couple weeks later, all systems were go.
But don’t get too excited. When I pulled the trigger, I apparently released it too soon and the noise caused OC to dash from the trap. I wanted to cry. Or scream. Or both. Regardless, OC now stayed clear of that trap. On to Plan B.
Enter the drop trap, which most cats don’t fear. Our quickest catch? Eleven ferals in less than 30 minutes! Love that trap…but OC didn’t; he wouldn’t go near the thing. But Michael’s research discovered we should cover the trap inside and out with cardboard to disguise the wire. Cats can’t resist cardboard boxes.
Michael also equipped the drop trap with a remote triggering device and a camera that sent live videos to our phones. Pretty nifty, huh? So we started enticing OC into the back of the trap.
At first, OC barely put his head inside to eat. It took nearly a month before he fully entered. Again, all systems were go. So one evening we put our plan into action. That, however, was thwarted by a parking lot full of moviegoers, a blaring car alarm and someone smoking near the trap. Then it started sprinkling and I began to wonder if we’d ever catch him.
Michael, Gina and I returned the next morning to an empty parking lot. Hallelujah! The anticipation of waiting for OC was like being a kid on Christmas morning. From 50 feet away, Michael and I monitored the camera from inside the car. Gina put food in the trap, called OC, then sat in her car. Within moments he walked right in. Michael pulled the trigger, the door closed and then locked. We got him!
The next day, after being examined and re-vaccinated, OC was resting in his new room in Gina’s home.
It will be an adjustment for him, having never lived inside. But we hope as he ages he’ll finally experience comfort and safety with Gina. In that case, maybe Mr. Heartless did us a favor through his lack of empathy. Time will tell.
My parting words to him, when reporting we finally caught OC, were to sarcastically wish them luck controlling their soon-to-be-burgeoning rodent population. I’m afraid he has yet to realize they’ll need a little more than luck. They’ll need a feral.
PS…Thank you to volunteer feeders Allison, Anne, Gina, Connie, Diana and Hildie, who kept OC alive and well the last 7 years with your daily feedings. And a special thank you to Michael for being instrumental in helping trap him, and to Lisa for housing the cat food in your shed. Marin Friends of Ferals is forever grateful for everyone’s dedication to our sweet boy.
I am so moved by Marin Friends of Frrals’ dedication to these wonderful cats.
Love this, especially as a fellow orange cat adoptee. You all are the best.
Thank you Janet and all your dedicated volunteers for always going above and beyond for the homeless cats. OC is a very fortunate boy 😻❤️