After the chicken beheading two nights ago, I've been setting the live trap up at night but each night it was empty and still contained the chicken leg.
This morning I went out to chip ice and open the chicken door and almost forgot about the live trap until my flashlight beamed across it and I saw glowing eyes. Whoo hoo! Got 'em!
Except it was just OtherKitty (not to be confused with Outside Kitty or Evil Kitty). Poor thing was scared to death and shaking. When I came up to the cage, he didn't hiss or spit. I did my best soothing "kitty-kitty-kitty" while I walked up. He looked pretty healthy; fluffy & shiny coat, bright eyes, and had plenty meat on his bones. For a moment I considered bringing it inside the garage and seeing if I could get a vet to check him out and get spayed/neutered, but I didn't want to have the poor thing go through any more trauma than it had just gone through. And there was also the distant memory of me trying to get BarnKitty out of the trap and into a dog crate and almost having my face torn off by a very feral feline. So I opted for safety for me and freedom (for now) for him and I opened the trap door. He just buried himself in the opposite end of the trap so I just kept talking to him (or her, I couldn't tell because s/he was curled up in a ball so tight) and he finally ran out and across the yard. I'll probably end up trying to coax him back to the porch with some canned cat food as to ease my self-imposed and unwarranted feelings of guilt. Yes, I'm nuts.
When I came back inside and told Paul I caught OtherKitty, he asked if I thought it had been the one to kill the chicken. I will readily acknowledge that I have an inherent bias against blaming my cats for just about anything, but I honestly didn't think he was the culprit. Am I 100% sure? Of course not. But I figure he's not starving (did I mention that I've been feeding him?) and that MeowMix is a much easier meal to obtain than a crazed, flapping chicken.
But the chicken leg in the trap had been eaten while he was in there. But since I don't provide in-flight movies I suppose there wasn't much else he had to do while being confined. Hmmmm.
Even though we have conibear traps and snares, we've long since discontinued using them. The conibear traps are great for putting right over groundhog holes and snares are very useful for catching raccoons in your attic (right, Dad??), but they are indiscriminate in their skull-crushing or neck-strangling. In a survival situation they're the bee's knees, but at this point in time and in our current location, the chance of killing or mortally wounding something we don't want harmed is too great. Live traps are pretty expensive; the large "Raccoon Model" I used last night will set you back close to fifty bucks, and we have two of them. But their monetary cost has saved the lives of many animals and I feel better knowing that we aren't killing whatever just so happens to set off the trap.
We also stopped using poison bait for the mice / pack rats. As much as I like the idea of those rodent bastards keeling over, I do not like the idea of their lifeless bodies being found and consumed by an animal that we don't want to keel over. And although we haven't had poison bait on the homestead for years (and the neighbors don't use it either), I do have to wonder if Outside Kitty's near death experience and subsequent lifelong kidney problems was caused by eating a poisoned rodent.
So, is there a moral or point to this rambling story? I guess that I'm just trying to say that if you can afford it, get yourself a live trap. I'm pretty sure none of my readers actually enjoy killing animals at random and a Hav-a-Hart trap can save the lives of countless numbers of animals. And if you're really nasty, you can release all those stray cats up at Pioneer Preppy's place. I hear he's been working on a new building and doesn't have his quota of cats in there yet :)