All things come to an end and today marks one of those times. After six weeks of caring and nursing her offspring, Mama-cat will have one last afternoon with her babies, then be placed (probably more like herded or wrangled) into a Have-a-Heart trap and removed. From there, I'm guessing, she'll spend the night in the trap, in the garage at the ANC. She's so feral, I doubt it's going to be possible to let her out of the trap unless she's either being released or being anesthetized.
Tomorrow she'll be spayed and given her rabies shot and have her ear tipped. I know it's not supposed to hurt, but we don't really know that. Again, I think she'll be forced to live in a trap until she recovers from her surgery and by Sunday, she'll be released to her new home—which I was glad to know was going to be a real home, but now I've found out Mama is going to be a barn-cat. I truly hope she'll make the transition to her new environment and not simply run off, never to be seen.
I find myself feeling sick to my stomach. I know. I've heard it a million times before. This is better for her than being placed in a cage at a shelter where she'd end up being terrified and freaked out, then, most likely, be euthanized because she's too wild. Her life will be hers to live. She can come and go as she pleases and spend the days enjoying the sunshine and still get a meal (I hope!) and still have someone looking out for her well being.
In the time she's been here, I've seen no sign of her softening towards me, though she does eat in front of me and her posture is more relaxed now. I find myself wishing, as always, that I could tell her what's going to be happening, so she could find a way to prepare herself and know, too, that it's time to say good-bye to her babies.
Am I anthropormorphosizing? Maybe. Maybe not. I think it's arrogant of me to believe that only humans have emotions and only humans feel the pain of separation. I'll know tonight when the kittens are looking for her and crying, while I try to comfort them as best as I can.
As it is, I plan on moving them to another room when it's time to take Mama. I know it's going to be difficult to cage her and I don't want her kittens to be traumatized by seeing what we do. It's bad enough it has to be so stressful. Last time I had to deal with a feral cat not wanting to get into a carrier, I got bit so badly I had to go to the ER and get shots. My hand blew up like a balloon and this was with my OWN cat—a former feral, who loves to get belly rubs, but hates to be picked up! Now I'll never be able to get him to a Vet. He better have a healthy life. I don't think I want to risk my limbs again.
A Breakthrough, at Last!
I'm not even sure I'll have the kittens past this evening, anyway. Truth be told, things aren't going so well with my relationship with the rescue group I volunteer with and I have a feeling the kittens will go partly because they won't have to deal with me when the kittens are gone and the convenient reason: "If you're having trouble weaning the kittens, then we'll take them from you and have someone else work with them." Even if that was true of only one of the kittens, the other two kittens are big enough to move to the main building to be adopted (once they're spayed/neutered).
The only thing I've got going for me is that this morning, while reloading the feeding-syringe, Jelly-Belly, stuck his face into the bowl of KMR plus Wellness Chicken flavor and started to lick out of the bowl! Just like that. I guess he got fed up with the messy syringe and the tiny flow of food. He lapped at the food, then moved away from it. I syringe fed him a bit more, still not enough, but something. It's a start. I looked over at Mama-cat and she was sitting up, looking at me. It's was as though she was sending me a message; that she glad to see me taking over the care and feeding of her young ones.
Thank goodness this happened today. Hopefully as the days pass, Jelly will be more and more interested in eating other food besides the KMR. For now, I'm glad of this new beginning, while I also mourn for the end of what was; this family unit will be no more.