By Carla Horstmann, Veterinary Technician Supervisor at AHNA
Recently on my way to work at AHNA, I was horrified to see a cat hit by a car along I-26. I immediately stopped to see if I could help, and unfortunately the poor kitty was already dead. I then saw two little kittens, one calico and one black, in the overgrown area about 50 feet from the interstate. I assumed the cat that was hit by the car was their mother. When I approached them, they fled deep into the thicket. I began to stop twice a day and put out food and water for them even though I often did not see them. With time, they started looking for me, but I was never able to get closer than 8-10 feet from them.
Over the next week, the AHNA staff and I devised a plan to set up a Have-A-Heart trap in order to safely capture them. The kittens were very small, about 5-6 weeks old, and we were worried they weren’t heavy enough to set off the trap when they entered it.
Kalon, a coworker, and I left work on a Thursday to set the trap. We set the trap up with food inside and with a small rock leaning on the lever so the least amount of pressure would set it off. We ran, got into the car and kept close watch with a pair of binoculars. Sure enough the calico came out right away and went immediately into the trap to get the food. She walked all over the lever, ate all the food and left without setting off the trap!
Next came Plan B. I took the trap home that night and tied a long rope to the lever and “practiced” setting it off from a far. The next day after work I took the trap with the attached rope and my binoculars to the side of the interstate. I got the trap all set up, complete with camouflage branches and leaves and with the rope stretched out to the front of my truck. I waited. Sure enough, the calico immediately went in, and this time she immediately set off the trap before I could enact my carefully laid out plan! I transported her (against her will!!) to AHNA where Jen and the evening staff helped me treat her, feed her, and get her settled, so I could go back and try to get the little black male kitten.
By the time I made it back to the roadside site, it was nearly dark, and I did not see even a glimpse of the black kitten. I decided to go ahead and set up the trap and leave it overnight, hoping for the best. The next morning on my way to AHNA, I pulled off the road, and the first thing I saw were two little black ears sticking up wondering how he was going to get out of the trap. SUCCESS!!! I transported him (against his will!!) to AHNA where the wonderful staff assisted me in reuniting him with his sister.
The kittens, having never been around people, were feral cats. With the help of my co-workers, Sheri, Nan, Jen, Kalon, and Laurie, Animal Hospital of North Asheville, Mallory (Cathy’s daughter), and the entire AHNA staff, we were able to socialize (constant love and attention was given), vaccinate, deworm, and FeLV/FIV test them and offer them for adoption.
The little black male kitten is now named “Beeker”, and he has a wonderful home with his mom, Amy Shivers, and his new brother, Buddy, the beagle. He is quite the happy little guy.
The little female calico kitten, “Juniper”, has become quite fond of AHNA technician Laurie (actually she is the only person Juniper really likes!) and Laurie has taken to little miss Juniper, too! Juniper has joined the family of Laurie and Sam, their two dear canines, Bagel and Rosemary, and their 19-year-old kitty, Magoo.