By Emilie Jouvin
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The grass is still wet this morning. Wednesday 19 October 2022in the campaign of Bazouges-Cre-sur-Loir, next to La Fleche (Sarthe). Jean-Jacques Bienaime had foreseen the battle, and it is equipped with boots that he examines the wooded ground on which he catch the cats since a month.
Cats that don’t belong
Not just all cats: wild animals, hikerswhich does not belong to anyone and multiplies at high speed.
“In this area, there has been a spread. There are about fifty cats”, it states qualified prisoner.
“Don’t make the cat a pest”
Since October 2021, Jean-Jacques Bienaimé, a retired craftsman, has been working as a volunteer for The town of La Fleche. But today it is for the municipality of Bazouges-Cré-sur-Loir that he is mobilized.
Collect as many so-called ‘free’ cats as possible so that the municipality can chip and sterilize them.
The latter then releases the cats where they were caught.
This huge sterilization campaign intended for limit the population of stray catssometimes carriers of diseases.
“If the wild cats become too many, they can be considered harmful and therefore become shootable for hunters”, warns the trapper, who as a lover of small felines would like to avoid such a scenario.
Kibbles for bait
Since 9 o’clock on Wednesday, Jean-Jacques has had three cages, or “traps”, ready to close for whoever is tempted by the food inside.
“Croquettes or pate”, most of the time. And tuna, for the most suspicious. “Cats love this fish, they are sometimes ready to do anything to eat it. »
A first individual was captured early in the morning, but it is a cat that has already been captured and sterilized. He was released immediately.
To be effective, Jean-Jacques Bienaimé follows the process he learned during his training. Because trapping is regulated by law and only authorized persons are allowed to practice it.
I trained three years ago in Angers. The two days of learning provided by the Hunting Association was 100% funded by the department and the region.
The training, which is valid for life and open to everyone, covers different types of traps, depending on the animal sought. “The gate is the basic type 1 trap. It is not a risky trap. »
During his training, Jean-Jacques learned “the approach”. Before hiding his traps, he comes to investigate the places where he is sent by the local communities. “I come to scout, at least twice. » The possibility to identify the animals and the places where they circulate.
The cats always pass and go again along the same path.
So much so that here, in the countryside in Cré, we can see a furrow, marked in the tall grass. It is along these lines that the trapper places his cages.
Next ? The catcher waits patiently and silently. He knows that there are times more favorable than others for catching tomcats.
The cat, a crepuscular animal, is actually very active early in the morning and late in the day. On the other hand, in the afternoon he “takes a nap”.
When he intervenes in private homes, Jean-Jacques does not hesitate to leave trapdoors open all night. “Often the cat was caught early in the morning. »
Sometimes he gets fun surprises.
I happened to find hedgehogs, they like croquettes!
On Wednesday around 11 o’clock another cat was caught. ONE kitten who is easily taken in the arms and who will be proposed for adoption.
Since he intervened in this area of Bazouges-Cré-sur-Loir, Jean-Jacques has already found 12 adult cats and three kittens.
When an adult cat is trapped, first put a blanket over the cage and wait for it to settle down in the dark.
Watch out for bites!
A step that is sometimes not enough to calm the animal, which remains aggressive. Jean-Jacques has often paid the price.
“Despite the pair of gloves, I was bitten or scratched. Especially at the beginning”, says the person who is vaccinated against rabies and has a box of antibiotics in the car to avoid superinfections.
Accidents that have not tarnished the pensioner’s love for cats, and more broadly “for nature and animals”.
It is already almost noon and the trapper will put down his cages to return in a few days to continue the mission that occupies him at least one day a week.
Meanwhile, he joins his own cats. Two “Mimi” whom he pampers with prawns on the menu.
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