Urban Cat Hunting: Out Trapping Feral Felines For the SPCA

The sun was starting to dip beneath the horizon when the call came in. It was supposed to be a relatively easy job — we were to finish cleaning up a colony out by Ocean Beach. Four kitties had already been bagged and, tonight, our mission was to snare the lone holdout — a stubborn little tortoiseshell who, so far, had proven trap savvy.

On any given day, one to 10 volunteers are off trapping feral cats for San Francisco's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The animals are spayed or neutered, socialized if at all possible (which, after eight months of age, is a lost cause) and put up for adoption — or released back into the wild. “Mohun Biswas,” a veteran volunteer with more than 200 documented feral cat-trappings to his name (which he painstakingly records on yellow legal papers which he can whip out of his back pocket on a moment's notice) loads up a pair of boom box-sized traps and tosses them into the van. It's time for what Biswas refers to as a night of “humane hunting.”  

(Since your humble narrator dropped in on this expedition unannounced — and did not jump through the hop-scotch pattern of public-relations demands such a ride-along would likely have necessitated — the names of the competent and dedicated SPCA volunteers have been altered).

Biswas slips on his knit cap as the night turns cold. He's in good spirits, though. “Cats are crepuscular animals,” he notes, dropping a GRE-prep word into the conversation with the greatest of ease. It was, he felt, a perfect day for cat-trapping.

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