The Ballad of Micro Scaredy and the Cal Football Stadium Feral Kittens (Part Two)

Micro Scaredy — the mother — disappeared one day, never to return. And left behind her two feral kittens, about 3 months old, who had been born and raised inside the Cal football stadium. And now were on their own. Football season would be starting soon, and the stadium would be flooded with 60 thousand people. So I didn’t know what to do about the two kittens who had been deserted inside the stadium. I’d see them every night when I passed through on my way to my campsite. They’d meow at me from the other side of the fence — this mournful sound. I had been leaving food for them every night, so they knew me and anticipated my arrival. But I didn’t know what to do about the situation.

I had trapped many feral cats at my campsite over the years. But that was a controlled environment. I couldn’t just set up traps on the grounds of the football stadium. As a homeless person, my situation was tenuous enough living in public spaces. And how was I going to carry the heavy traps back and forth from my campsite to the stadium every night anyways? So it was an impossible situation. So all I could do was listen to the kittens crying every night for food with this doomed feeling.

And then one day, one of my Facebook friends, Julie, suggested I hook up with some “cat rescue volunteers” from Oakland that she knew. So I did. Jill and Rachel. And we made plans to meet later that night at the football stadium. I’m a total recluse these days, and rarely even hang out with people I know, let alone total strangers. So I was nervous as fuck about meeting them. But I figured they were “cat people” so they’d be cool. And they were. It turned out they had previously trapped and adopted a litter of feral kittens who had been born at a nearby building on the Berkeley campus — and were almost certainly a part of the lineage of Scaredy feral tabby cats born at my campsite. And Jill was also a longtime Cal football fan who had been to many football games at the stadium and was well familiar with the area. So the situation was perfect.

We met later that night at a bench outside the stadium. And Rachael — who was an expert trapper — set up her traps in the bushes on the grounds of the stadium nearby where I fed them every night. And then we sat there and waited. And chatted amongst us. Cat talk, mostly. I’m hard of hearing as it is, and we were whispering so as not to alert the kittens of our presence. So I could barely hear a word they were saying to me. So I just nodded my head and smiled and said “Yep!” and “That’s right!” to everything they said, and hoped it was an appropriate response. Rachael told a story about a feral cat she had tried to trap for years, and failed. “She was like my Great White Whale and I was Captain Ahab relentlessly stalking her.” That cat popped out litter after litter — feral cats can have like three litters a year. And the problem kept growing exponentially as the feral cat kept popping out more and more feral kittens. I forget the punchline to the story (like I said, I’m hard of hearing). But I think years later Rachael finally succeeded at trapping that Great White Feral, and then the cat just ended up passing away shortly after anyways. (Rachael: “The punchline with my “white whale” was that we caught her and she gave birth on her way to get fixed so she got the last word before she finally was fixed and released back to her home.”)

We managed to trap one of the kittens on the first day. So it seemed like it was gonna be easy. But then we spent a week trying, and failing, to trap the second kitten. She just would not go into the trap. So it seemed hopeless. And we were just sitting there on the bench outside the football stadium every night, waiting for the kitten to walk into the trap.. I’d see the kitten on the other side of the fence inside the stadium — she’d come right up to me looking for food — but she just wouldn’t go into the trap. Finally I came up with the idea of using the same black food dish that I fed her with every night as a lure, and putting it at the exact spot where I fed her every night. And Rachel — the expert trapper who knew every trick in the book — set up the trap like one of those boxes propped up with a rope connected to it, and when the cat walks under the box you pull the rope and it crashes down on the cat. And lo and behold it worked! We almost immediately trapped the second kitten with that set-up.

We all high-fived over the success. Jill took the cat back to her place and spent several months “socializing” the two kittens — basically ridding them of their wild, feral instincts and making them suitable to be housecats. And the two kittens ended up being adopted together to a good home in San Mateo — which was great, that they got to stay together because the two sisters were totally bonded and needed to be together. And we all lived Happily Ever After.

And the whole thing turned out to be a great success. Which was great. Because I haven’t had too many successes lately. The End.

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