Two Down, Five (for now) To Go
I'm happy to report that Fern and Clover are now spayed and neutered, vaccinated against Rabies, Distemper, and some nasty respiratory diseases. They did great! As we guessed, Fern is a girl and Clover is a boy. The vets thought Clover is older though, so they are not littermates like I thought. Now that I can look at their pretty faces up close, I think they're right.
Early yesterday morning my Dad and I brought them to TCAP for their feral services. It involves getting there around 7am and waiting in line until they open around 8. TCAP can only do 12 feral surgeries a day so you need to get there early to be sure you get in. We had 12 in line by about 7:20. It was all very straightforward though, and inexpensive. I spent $20 on each; $5 for rabies, $5 for a pain injection after the surgeries, and $10 for the FVRCP vaccine. This last vaccine is not mandatory, but my own little kitty Mowgli caught one of the illnesses it protects against when he was a kitten. I remember how sick he was and I'd like to spare them that misery! Also they are extremely contagious illnesses, so the more protected against it the better.
I picked them up around 5 and brought them home. They need to be kept for at least 24 hours to recover, but maybe more since little Fern had a spay which is more invasive. I've set up a dog crate in my garage as a little nest for them. I've collected some unwanted pet beds, towels, and floor mats to make it comfortable, and I've got a little water dish and litter box in there for them. Then I covered the whole thing with towels so it'll be dark and snug and they won't feel exposed. I've got an oil filled radiator on near them as well so they stay toasty warm. It's pretty dang cozy, if I say so myself!
Since last night they've settled in well. They've eaten some wet food, drank water, and used the litter box. This last one is pretty awesome as they've probably never seen a litter box before. As far as I can tell they haven't had any accidents at all elsewhere in the cage! I mixed a bit of dirt from their colony in with the litter so that may have helped clue them in what it's for. Cats are smart, but I am still slightly surprised at how quickly they understand litter boxes.
They are understandably scared and keep to the back of the cage when I'm around to clean the litter, change the water, or bring them food. They have not shown any aggression at all though. No hissing or growling, or any noises at all actually. They even let me reach in quite close to them to change out this little heating pad I have in there. So far so good, little babies!