It’s Kitten Season

Typical morning: I wake up, put on a pot of coffee and feed my cats. And Instagram my cats while waiting for my coffee. Then I see a little fluffy head pop up at the glass window of the back kitchen door.

It’s Sweetie. We named her Sweetie for her friendly disposition. She’s a black American long-haired, around 7 months old. She began visiting regularly two months ago. I’m able to pet her which means she may have been domesticated as a kitten. If you’ve been reading my column for a while now, you know I dabble in cat rescue when the need is present. And so, here I go again.

But unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the ASPCA and similar Trap Neuter Release (TNR) services have been shut down, only recently opening on a lottery appointment-based system. It’s been a waiting game to get Sweetie in to see the vet for vaccinations and spaying.

One morning when she arrived for breakfast I noticed she was lactating. Sweetie was a teenage mom! I went into high alternate – MUST FIND KITTENS.

A week went by and the kittens just appeared in the backyard, goofing around and exploring. Matt saw them nursing and took some pics. There were four babies! I kept a close eye on Mama those few days and discovered where they were staying. My fear was taking the kittens and Sweetie but leaving a kitten or two behind. We needed a head count. All the kittens being black with no markings made this a challenge but we determined that only three of the original four made it.


The following week the family was out again in the yard. Matt and I needed to get them “off the street”. More so for Sweetie’s sake. Females are sexually mature at four months and they can get pregnant again two weeks after giving birth. Time was of the essence. Without much trouble we scooped up two kittens from the garden and took Sweetie in too.

We were missing one kitten.

The kittens were still nursing, but also nibbling on solid food. But 6 weeks is far too young for a kitten to be on it’s own … this was a high pressure situation. The next morning I called on The Sisterhood of Cat Rescuers – a few friends of mine that do underground TNR work. They helped me set up a kitten trap and a drop trap. A drop trap is a simple metal cage with a string attached. You sit far away holding the string and wait and when you see the cat, pull like hell! It sounds primitive but it’s very effective for catching multiple kittens at once or ferals nervous to enter a three sided trap. Also kittens are so light, often they don’t trigger regular trap mechanisms.

I sat there for three hours with no “bites”. The ladies in the sisterhood suggested I bring mom out in a carrier so she would meow and alert the missing kitten. After another two hours, I brought Sweetie back in, she was stressed. I abandoned the trapping site to bring her back inside. I went into the house for a glass of water and I heard a very loud meow. I ran outside to the trap, no kitten. I called Matt, “I hear the kitten!!” He looked in the garden where we found the others the day before and the last baby was there! I do believe hearing his mother’s cry lured him out. Matt picked him up from under the plants and he rejoined his family.

It was so stressful but now all are safe and doing well. I still couldn’t get into the ASPCA but booked an appointment at Faithful Friends Animal Hospital (2455 McDonald Ave, Brooklyn – 718.339.7387), which works with rescuers. We are on the path to adoption! In fact, it looks like I have already found all three kittens forever homes!

If you have feral cats on your block that are not spay/neutered it’s important to take care of the situation before it gets out of hand. If you see cats with their left ear tipped, that means they have been fixed already. Here are some helpful resources on TNR: and