Tag: feral cats

Taming Adventures: the 5-month feral kitten

Today I trapped a kitten, the last from a litter of four that I have been socializing for several months. The first three were barely 8 weeks old when I caught them in my driveway on Thanksgiving weekend. The fourth escaped from our hands and hid under the shed for a day until his mother came back from her spaying appointment.

The capture of the first three was such a traumatic experience, listening to the cats crying all night alternating with mom crying for her kittens in our driveway for three days–and living with several weeks of timid cats who wouldn’t return any of the love I wanted to give them. I had to resist the urge to feel I had done a terrible thing, by taking them from their only sense of care and love.

{left to right: snow, leo, sasha at 8 weeks}

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caught him, finally!

After months of feeding the same five cats every morning, I decided to work up some nerve to trap a few of them, and implement stage three of my personal “Stop the Kittens” program. Kittens are cute, yes, but more than half of them die and the rest go on to fight for turf and roam in search of procreation.

One such kitty, almost a year old, has become our friend. We love Teddy, otherwise known as Theodore on bird-hunting occasions (the only time I felt sorry for a grackle on a particularly gruesome hunt that resulted in a squawking cacophony of birds and grackle bird-blood-feathers all over my porch). The first day this little guy appeared, he ran all the way to my hands when I was putting food out. I’d never had a wild cat come that close. Most of them hide till the coast is clear. The last time I set out traps, Teddy was one of the lucky victims even though I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks.
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Homeless and Feral Cats

Here on this mountain top whoa-oh / I got some wild wild life
–Talking Heads

My garden is always hosting roaming cats. Some seasons there there are more than others, and until a couple of years ago I was never bothered by it. I’d send one of my border collies (who are generally eager to chase and herd anything that moves) rip-roaring out of the house and down the driveway. Cat gone. Me satisfied.

But last winter, after a several nights of being kept awake by the ear-splitting sounds of cat mating in our neighbor’s yard, sending my dog after a cat the next day didn’t have the same sense of satisfaction. I’d always thought these cats belonged to someone. They were were simply “outdoor cats,” and they needed to go back to where they belonged. Yet I couldn’t understand why there would be so many “outdoor cats” to begin with, and they had no intentions of getting anywhere near me, not like my cuddly neighbor’s cat.
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