Meet my captive.
For logistical purposes, I’ve dubbed him a boy, something I could confirm more definitely were I not aptly terrified that he might lunge at my face after all the hissing and spitting he’s been doing every time I refresh his food and water. (Don’t let the sweet face fool you: he’s feral, frightened by the meddlesome human who orchestrated his confinement, and prepared to defend himself by whatever means necessary.) Why do I have a wild kitten in my garage, you ask? It all started about a week ago, when I spotted a mother calico and her three babies lounging underneath my car. Kittens and cars, which provide a plethora of cozy nooks and cubbies to hide in when you’re scared, spell incipient disaster. On Saturday we found the family underneath my husband’s car as we headed out for the movies. Mom and her orange tabby fled underneath the neighbor’s fence, but this ebony precious above scrambled into the engine compartment, where we could see his eyes locked on us in panic when we opened the hood. After ten minutes of slamming doors and attempting to flush him out with a broomstick, we decided to take the other car. As we cut the wheel out into the street, the orange tabby was scrambling at the foot of our driveway on his two front paws, both back legs paralyzed, presumably by a spinal cord injury. He must have skittered back under the fence and climbed into some recess of my car, startled by all the banging. He died on the way to the veterinary ER: a wholly gut-wrenching accident.
Later that night, we bought a safe-trap to lure the live kitten out of the mechanical innards of my husband’s car because, well, one dead kitten is already too many in a lifetime. When I woke up Sunday morning, he was nestled inside with a belly full of bait and an empty food dish. After a bevy of frustrating phone calls, I ultimately locked into a whole underground network of cat-rescue folks, and managed to place the little guy in a home equipped to do the work of socializing him: one life spared to redeem an innocent life lost.
Our efforts to trap the mother have proven even more maddening (and decidedly less successful) than the quest to find homes for her kittens. She’s a veritable Houdini and has managed to eat the food inside the traps without triggering them, so I have a date in the morning to borrow a different kind of trap from one member of the aforementioned network, and I found a no-kill shelter that offers a spay/neuter clinic for a nominal fee. Capturing her is critical, as is nabbing the last remaining kitten, also a calico and necessarily female (i.e. future baby-factory). The whole process has really been rather worrisome, but my tenacity has always served me well.