Got a call from South Richmond " I found some baby kittens in the trunk of my car"....sure enough, when I got to the apartment complex, there they were, but how had they gotten there? The trunk has been closed, and we couldn't find (at first) how the mother could have gotten into the trunk! (The car had been sitting for ages) Finally we saw where she'd eaten a hole into the trunk...I scooped up the babies, and placed them in a covered (it was winter) box behind a trap, as the mother was lurking, but had run when we arrived, I jiggled the box to make them cry (horrors) so that the mother would come. They cried a bit, but mother would not come to them...I sat there at a distance, on the steps of the apartments, for hours...then put the trap where she was, across the street. I couldn't put the babies back int the nest, as the man was going to use the car the next day. It had been sitting for ages. Truth, I didn't see how he could possibly get it running by the next day...it was a Mustang ragtop, in horrible condition, four flats, full of junk, etc., Finally I took the four tiny ones home, and came back to trap the mother. No luck that night. Next morning, the car was gone! Amazing. I went back for several days...watched and waited. I had seen the mother, but she did not go near the trap, no matter where I put it. It's especially heartbreaking to separate mother and babies. In addition to all they lose from being together, the mother's milk can get impacted... A trapper friend watched for her, as she worked in the area, to no avail. Oy. One interesting thing, the young man who had called me wore roller skates, in and out of doors. Kept them on He rolled one of the tires away, and hours later came back with it fixed...We never did find the mother, to our sorrow, but the four little ones flourished.
Francis, love of my life, was found on a rainy (!) day in June. I got a call from a woman in the Hilltop area of Richmond, and with friend Connie got my stuff together and went out there. At first we didn't think the drain cover would open, so were panicked. The little one cried constantly, demanding with all his strength to be saved! We couldn't see him, nor figure exactly where he was, and how he could have gotten in there! The holes in the drain cover were too small, unless...unthinkable. The drain cover was in the middle of a driveway, was 4 ft. square, and my trap would not fit into the opening, even IF we could get it open. It started to rain. I went home & got my soft carrier, and we figured out that the cover was not cemented in!! merely that the grooves around the edges were packed with dirt. Kitten still screaming; water rising slowly. We dug out the dirt, and pulled the cover off...it was SO heavy! And we put the soft carrier into the big drain with some smelly food. It was a four-way intersection, and, due to the echos, it was hard to tell which section of pipe he was in. Finally figured it out. Repositioned the carrier. Sat by the opening, rain coming down, kitten crying constantly and insistently: this one wanted to LIVE! and after about one-half hour, little Francis limped very slowly into the carrier, just as the water was getting more than an inch deep! He was so thin, and his hind leg was dangling and necrotic. My vet didn't think he was strong enough to undergo surgery, but cleaned and bandaged, the injury was still not clean enough to keep it from necrosing (the polite word for rotting) so he had his leg removed. He pulled through, tho had to stay in hospital for two weeks as he developed a systemic infection. VERY happy day when he came home! This devoted vet was with him at all hours, and the staff all hand-fed him when they didn't think he was eating enough. I visited every day, kept him company and cheered him on. Francis (named after St. Francis) is a happy, lucky boy! He's about nine months old now, and we love him dearly!!!
This rescue started out as a real horror show.. Another South Richmond rescue: the call came in that there was a mother and five babies in the caller's yard. I went to the house, and lo and behold, mother and babies were hiding in the big base of one of those tall basketball hoops with a big plastic base you fill with water through a hole in the top. The hole in the top was just a few inches in diameter; maybe three...must have been four, but fearfully small. How (and what) did they breathe in there? How did they not suffocate? What toxins had they ingested? How long before the mother could no longer fit...or could not get out? Also, I know that mothers keep the nests clean until the kittens eat solid food, but still....
In any case, the kittens were alive and healthy. I set the traps.It took a few days, but I got four kittens and the mother. The kits were eating on their own, so I took them home and fed them till I got mother. But there was one kitten who did not, would not come out. Was s/he even still in there? The man of the house was very sweet, and he put his camera in the hole (his hand barely fit through it) and took some photos. Finally one of them showed the little thing (black) huddled in one corner. Eventually.....the man was good enough to slice into the plastic base and make a hole large enough for me to grab the kitten! Bless him for his willingness to damage or destroy the base for the sake of this little one. Nightmarish beginning with a happy ending!
Another call...coincidence that they're all from S. Richmond, yes, actually...I don't remember how the woman described where they were, but I was amazed and appalled when I found the mother and tiny babies balanced on a small piece of cardboard at a risky angle over a bunch of big pieces of trash in a garbage can in the middle of the caller's small front yard!!
Good news was that they were not scared away by my presence: a rare easy rescue! I just carefully picked them all up and put them into my carrier! No problem, except that I was afraid of who might have slipped off that cardboard and was lost, dead or alive, further down in the can. So I carefully pulled out the big junk, and examined the can all the way down...NO more kittens! Whew! this story had a happy ending, but I still wonder how long they'd been in that precarious location....didn't stop to ask the residents.