by Madeline Laughs
In 2011 we realized there was a lone black cat that looked starved hanging around outside of our house, so we started feeding it. The cat would show up every morning for breakfast after a few days, so we bought special outdoor kitty food and proceeded to get into a morning feeding routine.
One morning my husband told me that he was sure the cat was a female. I watched her that afternoon as she scurried across the yard to safety and noticed she was indeed female, and she had distended teats. She was nursing a litter of kittens somewhere in the neighborhood.
When the kittens became old enough to start following her, they started coming over for breakfast too. Then another, bigger cat started showing up. Pretty soon we had the whole family dining under our steps.
At night the kittens and mama would play right under our bedroom windows. We have security lights on that part of the house that are motion activated, so all night long the lights danced on our bedroom walls as they cavorted together down there in the yard. We called it our Kitty Disco.
I’m certain mama picked this place on purpose because the lights probably kept any predators at bay and away from her babies at night.
Making sure the kittens were weaned, we set about trying to trap the female to have her spayed. She was clever though and we caught the male instead. We took him in and had him neutered.
We kept him in the garage overnight after his surgery to make sure he had completely recovered from the anesthesia. Then we released him in the yard and reset the trap to catch the female.
That night we heard the trap go off again and immediately went down to secure her in the garage, so she wouldn’t be outdoors in a live trap, unable to defend herself. What we found was the male in the trap again! You would think after the last two harrowing days, he would never have gone near the trap again, but he did.
We eventually caught the female, who I had named Ferala, and had her spayed too.
When we released Ferala, she took off and took her kittens with her. She was probably pretty pissed off and felt betrayed and threatened after her visit to the vet. I can’t say that I blame her much.
She stayed gone for a few weeks and during that time a bad hurricane hit the island. When she returned, her litter had reduced in numbers. We aren’t sure what happened, but instead of five kittens, she only had two now.
These two kittens were now adolescents. If they were going to stay and be a part of our feral cat colony, they would have to have surgeries too.
Every morning the kittens would sit on the railing outside of our kitchen window and peep in, waiting for someone to come down and feed them breakfast. They were very attentive, though extremely skittish.
My husband’s mother fell totally in love with the small black female kitten. She is gorgeous! Long black fur with a small delicate face. The male kitten is a brown tabby with beautiful markings like a leopard. We named her Midnight and the male we named Tiger.
Our feral cat colony was born. Stay tuned as I share all of the wonderful stories of these marvelously mysterious creatures and how we have come to love them, even though they remain as wild as the day they were born.
- Maybe feral cat colonies are not the cat’s meow (thestar.blogs.com)
- Kitsap Humane Society program not fatal to the feral (kitsapsun.com)
- Feral Cats Colonies Found In Bellmawr (gloucestercitynews.net)
- L.A.’s Proposed No-Kill Policy Raises Hackles on Both Sides (kcet.org)
- Sun City Center’s Feline Folks has a purr-fect solution for feral cats (tbo.com)
- To Get Involved or Not with TNR (Why I chose to get involved) (thisandthatwriting.wordpress.com)
- Cats, wildlife & people II (triblive.com)