An outdoor life for a cat is not an easy life especially in Los Angeles. They struggle against the elements, the environment and predators. A healthy and savvy feral cat has a good chance of surviving 3-5 years before it gets taken out by a coyote, a car or a disgruntled human with a container of rat poison. However, that’s only if they survive kittenhood and unfortunately many of them don’t.
Feeder and veteran trapper Trey Weidner has been managing a number of cat colonies for many years. She also helps other feeders and trappers with their colonies when needed. In October, when temperatures started to drop, Trey got a call asking for help by a fellow trapper with a colony in Northridge. There was an explosion of kittens from numerous females that were trap savvy and couldn’t be caught. “When I got there I was shocked,” Trey said when she first arrived to scout the area. “I was trying to get the lay of the land to determine which type of trapping methods would work best when I kept coming across kitten parts.” The regular trapper/feeder confirmed there was a large raccoon family in the area.
Kittens are vulnerable to many less obvious predators like hawks, opossums, alpha male cats and raccoons. Raccoons will kill young kittens not just for food but to remove future competition for food. “With kittens being being as vulnerable as they are they’re usually the first to be taken out,” Trey said. “It was really heartbreaking. I’ve seen a lot over the years and this was one of the saddest things ever.” Trey knows it’s not the fault of the raccoons. “They’re all just trying to survive,” but she altered her course of action at the colony. She decided to trap any and all kittens first and then get them out of there and into any rescue that would take them in.
Trapping the kittens was the easy part as “they were still young and stupid,” Trey joked. “Some of them I could pick up with my hands if I was fast enough.” She managed to get seven off the property and began networking them. Within a few days she was able to find a rescue group that would take them but first Trey had to get them up to good health and weight. Unfortunately shortly after she secured their future with a rescue the kittens developed bloody diarrhea. She rushed them to the vet for fecals and other testing which all came back inconclusive. All seven kittens remained at Beverly Oaks Animal Hospital in Sherman Oaks for six day of 24-hour care.
Thankfully, with medication and professional care every kitten started the road to recovery and are all doing great. Unfortunately each kitten cost Trey almost $250 per tiny little head. “I knew as soon as I walked in the door with 7 kittens the bill was going to be a lot but they needed care I couldn’t give them. What else could I do?” Trey has gone back to the property several more times to make sure she didn’t miss any kittens and is determined to catch the remaining females so more kittens don’t meet the same demise as the others.
A Go Fund Me page has been started for Trey to help her cover the kitten vet bills as well as for a not-so-feral feral teenaged kit from the same property with the worst luck ever. “I named him Jinx because seriously,” Trey jokes. Between mange, a badly healed broken leg, a dog bite and an infection, “if he didn’t have bad luck he would have no luck at all. I couldn’t leave him behind.” If you would like to make a donation to help these sseven adorable kittens (and Jinx!) you can make a donation to the Go Fund Me campaign. Also check it out for updates and for more pictures on the way. If you’re interested in adopting Jinx or one of these adorable kittens you can call or text Debbie at 805 432 0099.
UPDATE: Two of the seven kittens (one whose picture wasn’t included in the sideshow) have already been adopted!