Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Are You An Animal Lover?

I am. I cannot bring myself to be mean to any living creature...except for spiders (ugh!). Thus, we are now caring for a feral colony of cats. Someone abandoned a female cat about four years ago and the next door neighbor started feeding and caring for her. Subsequently she had several litters of kittens. About six of them survived over the years and suddenly he moved away and abandoned them. The house stood empty over the winter months, and my hubby and I felt sorry for the poor cats. We bought a large bag of cat food and every evening we'd go over to the house and leave food on the back deck for them. The house remained empty until April of this year. Once workers began doing some construction work, the cats migrated to our yard. The neighbor said she was allergic to cats and kept chasing them off. Much to our dismay and enjoyment we found some tiny kittens in the wood stock under the deck. Hubby built a closed-in area with doors where we store our fireplace wood. We soon learned there were two litters of kittens. Egads! As the weeks wore on the kittens ventured out into the yard. Another mother cat came in bringing her six kittens! We realized we had a real problem on our hands. We live in a subdivision, not in a rural area. What to do?

I began researching over the internet and found a group "Pet Promise" who had a "City Kitty" program where they would make arrangements to help with the neutering/spaying of feral cats, loan the traps, etc. I contacted them and they agreed to help us. All we had to do was agree to care for them with food and shelter for the remainder of their lives (which unfortunately, or fortunately, is short with feral animals). Now came the problem. How to trap them. They scheduled four appointments with a vet, every Tuesday for four weeks (3 cats each trip). The first trapping was fairly easy. We didn't feed them the day before then the evening of trapping, they were very hungry. The only problem we had was trying to keep the kittens out of the traps so we could capture the older ones. Every time we'd shoo the babies, it would frighten the other cats and all would run. Egads! It took us an hour, but we finally had the oldest male and two females. Yesterday we had to trap another three. We wanted to get the adolescent male and two older females. One of the females didn't come in, and the other one would have nothing to do with going into the cage--however, the ones that had already been captured wanted to go in!! So much for thinking they'd be traumatized. We managed to capture the male adolescent and three kittens (who are old enough to be fixed-over 2 lbs). Now we have managed to neuter seven cats. We have to our best estimate another nine to go. I'll have to call Pet Promise again and hopefully they'll agree to do the other four. The saddest part is that they clip the left ear to mark them as being "fixed."

We're really at a loss as to how to capture the rest. The more that are fixed the harder it is to keep them out of the cages without scaring away the others. Here's our brood:

We have a large orange tabby with white feet- male - Boots
A tiger and white female tabby - female - Little Mama
A long haired tiger - female - FoxY
A black - female - Blackie
An orange and white - male - Sammy
A fluffy white and tiger - sex unknown - Lucky
A black and white - sex unknown - Oreo
A white and tiger - male - Skeeter
A tiger with white legs - sex unknown - Little Britches
A coal black short hair - male - Boo
A fluffy coal black - sex unknown - Spook
A tiger with white paws - female - Spats
A himalayan siamese (cream and dark brown with white feet) - sex unknown - Mittens
A calico - sex unknown - pumpkin
A long hair tiger - sex unknown - tiger

Anyone want a cat???


Stacy Dawn said...

Oh my goodness! But good for you.

Carol Ann Erhardt said...

Oh my goodness is right! I felt so bad when I released the kittens from the traps today after their surgery yesterday. One was a tiny female, Spats. Her stomach actually looked like it touched on both sides. I wanted to cry. She walked very unsteady to the pond and drank for a long time. I had been giving them water and food in the cage, but she must have not partaken. She finally ate a pretty good amount of canned food and has been scarce ever since. Someday I should write a book about this experience.

Emma_Sanders said...

I love animals, too, and I'm feeding 2 strays right now. I live in the country, so cats are a good thing to keep mice and snakes away. Kudos to you for doing this!

Lee Morrison said...

I'm a soft heart too. I must say, those kitties don't look like they plan on going anywhere, anytime soon, lol. I think they've decided they like you. You should name that picture "Contentment".