Catching kittens who crossed the Road – the Ice Cream Cats

A friend of one of our volunteers reported a kitten and a mom cat crossing a busy road in Granville, NY that stopped traffic. It took us six long hard days and nights to catch the whole family.

Day 1 – Wednesday, June 28th

One of our volunteers was on the scene in 90 minutes and caught two kittens within 2 hours. She learned that mom and five kittens lived under a porch and were getting some food from the folks living there.

They were skinny but thankfully old enough to eat gruel (a mixture of kitten food and Kitten Milk Replacement formula) and just a bit spicy 🌶.

DAY 2 – Thursday, June 29th

On Day 2 we wanted to rescue the remaining three kittens and the mom cat. Instead trapped another pregnant cat that we didn’t know about and learned there is a loose cat community in that area. She became the start of Friday’s Foster Friday post! She is now in foster care to be assessed and have her kittens.

She has been named Häagen-Dazs and we are assessing if she really is pregnant.

We got Mom! We tried using her to trap the remaining kittens, but after hours of that not working, she went to the same foster who had her two tabby kittens to be reunited with them. She was ecstatic to see them and opened the milk bar promptly.

…we CANNOT leave baby kittens unattended without mom. We took her away from them, now we have to make sure they’re safe.

Foster Coordinator

The trapping team was there all day and into the night…and all night! The occupants of the house started to get to know us a little bit, and realized we aren’t going away without these kittens.

….and no luck getting our target kittens.

Day 3 – Friday, June 30th

We listened to very noisy neighbors and barking dogs. We got hot. We listened to folks shooting off local fireworks.

Trapping is going to be challenging until after the 4th.

Trapping Coordinator

We started to really worry. We hadn’t seen the other three, and there had been a gap in coverage for a few hours. We set up cameras. We inspected the porch for a way in and got permission to remove the trellis.

Day 4 – Saturday, July 1

We watched the cameras. We worried and waited in hot cars watching the traps. It seemed like every time a kitten poked its head out, something or someone made a noise.

My trapping motto…..requires 98% patience, 1% luck and 1% skill. 

Trapping Coordinator

This is our Trapping Coordinator’s motto, but it is not really true. She knows ALL the tricks!

Day 5 – Sunday July 2

We stayed really late. Nothing. We worried! We worried more as the hours ticked by. We didn’t see them on the cameras until mid-day–of course, when no one was there.

Still nothing. We tried toys. We tried food. The ground was uneven, so once or twice the trap didn’t trigger.

Other volunteers dropped by to see if the lattice on the porch could be removed. The kittens were just out of arms reach. No luck with the porch.

We slowly moved the trap further and further away, towards the flat lawn. We stayed as late as possible, but at least we could tell they were eating, which was a huge relief.

We also learned that Mom is not extra feral. She likely had positive contact with humans in the past.

Mom isn’t very feral.  She is a pretty calico who reminds me a lot of Symphony (a friendly calico mom!)

Foster Family

Day 6 – Monday July 3rd

We started again early in the morning. We discussed carnage to the porch. Then finally success! Two kittens at the same time!

We tried using the calico and the dilute calico to lure the last one out, but that didn’t work. We didn’t try for very long and then took them immediately to be reunited with Mom.

One of the kittens bit their Foster Family. It only takes a few days to warm up kittens this age, and we rescued them early enough that they will be 100% socialized before adoption. But, in the first hours, they still think we are about to eat them and behave accordingly! They quickly learn we are the source of food and love!

My finger is beginning to hurt. Just noticed the little bugger got me with both upper and lower teeth–another mark on the top of my index finger. I think sometimes kitten bites hurt more than adult cat bites!

Foster Family

Back at the location, we stayed on. We watched and waited and worried.

Eventually, about three hours later, we got the last one! The black one!

We took it straight to Mom, who immediately gave the kitten a bath! That must have been one dirty kitten by her high standards!

We are all so relieved! We celebrated! This took much longer than most rescue efforts, and a lot of teamwork and coordination. It took about seven different volunteers to make this happen.

Mom and kittens are all doing well, and the group has been named the Ice Cream Cats. We had to put off other rescue/TNR work to make sure this mom and kittens were rescued and no longer crossing the busy street. So we have now turned out attention to those other projects. The rest of the cats in this colony will have to wait their turn, but we will be back for them!