Monday, August 30, 2010

Cat Traps

Our neighbors have been very focused these last couple of days on a mission given to them by our host mom: catch the black cat, and receive 1.000 colones each.

José David and José Luis (they have informed us that they are both named José because they are brothers – obviously) spent all day on yesterday building and setting up a cat trap. It looks like a pyramid and is only held together with a piece of cord strategically tied. They have balanced one edge of the trap on a piece of bamboo; in theory the cat will enter the trap looking for food (there is a bowl of bread under the trap), hit the piece of bamboo and the trap will fall, detaining the animal that likes to enter the kitchen at night, knocking baskets of eggs on the floor and biting into any bread or bananas accidentally left out when everyone goes to bed.

Last night as we were washing up after dinner María called out to the boys to say that they had caught the cat. Everyone ran outside to see what we had. It was not the black cat, so unfortunately the boys didn't get their money, but one of the black cat's kittens had been caught. Of course, this was a process. The kitten hadn't actually set off the trap, it just got scared and started meowing. José Luis was able to corner it, but didn't want to get scratched so he scared it back toward the trap. María was there waiting and knocked the trap off its post when the kitten entered. She and Rafa then put it in a bag and Rafa took it to the cuadrantes where they say a family will take it in. So, one kitten down (there are 5 more that are currently living in our attic), one black cat to go.

This morning the boys decided that the cat would not be strong enough to set the trap off, so they tied a string to the piece of bamboo and sat at their house, watching and waiting for the black cat to enter their lair (this was their plan for the day as there is apparently no school). They lasted a little while, but by the time we had returned to our house at 8AM, they were no longer sitting in wait. Around 10 we heard them working in our side yard again. This time they had sequestered the help of André. They had decided on a new method:

Tie a box to the window bars where the cat frequently climbs into the attic. Place a little bit of food in the box to lure the cat in, and make sure the box has a whole in the bottom. Place a bag under the box and in theory when the cat enters the box for food it will fall through the hole in the box and into the bag. They have a piece of cord situated around the top of the bag and it is rigged so that once the cat in in the bag they can tie it shut. Of course, they had to watch the trap if they wanted to tie the bag after the cat fell into it, and instead they decided to come inside and talk with us about the US.

So, we still have a black cat wandering around the premises – but there are two traps waiting for it, and two boys anxiously awaiting its capture so that they can be 1.000 colones richer (approximately $2).


Aunt Beth said...

I'm anxiously awaiting the results!!!

Tarah and Chris said...

I think the boys have given up. The black cat still runs free, however a total of 4 cats were removed from the premises thanks to their innovative traps!