Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The ferals I have watched over (31 Days of Halloween Kitties Day 16 Year 3)

It is National Feral Cat Day.
Today is National Feral Cat Day...or as I like to point out to people, just another day in the life of a colony caretaker.

I did not wake up one morning and say, "Gee, I want a bunch of cats to be both happy to see me and fearful of my presence at the same time." But that is what happened when my wife and I brought our house.

Now, I was technically a rescuer before that point. I had taken in Talisman (Little Miss Dynamite) along with her brother Lucifer (Morning Star) a few years before. Lucifer was a rough cat; his previous owner was a biker who used to wrestle with him as if he was a big dog. There were several occasions that Lucifer clawed me across the face, and a lot of people thought he should be put to sleep due to his violent reactions to simple play. I exercised a lot of patience and retraining techniques--over the years I had him, he mellowed out. Talisman would have been abandoned if I would not have agreed to take her along with her brother...turns out that she was pregnant, so that would have been...well, a lot more feral cats if I had not stepped in.

The colony my wife and I inherited consisted of a male and female cat, and periodic litter of kittens. Sandy and Blackie never completely trusted me. Blackie ended up being put to sleep because he was diseased. But Sandy lived for several years on our property after we got her fixed, along with one of her daughters. Sandy eventually died of injuries (she would not let anyone get close enough to take her to the vet), and her daughter was displaced by a shift in the leadership of the colony (Sandy was the original top cat in it).

Four of the indoor cats that I own are kittens from feral mothers (two from Sandy, two from another feral mother who just showed up one day). Both Devil Kitty, the first that we rescued from the colony (or rather my wife rescued her), and three legged Princess Kitty are daughters from Sandy. And three years ago, we added to more cats to the pride from another feral mother (who just showed up one day with kittens in tow).

So for me, every day I live with the results of people just abandoning unfixed cats and letting them fend for themselves. Every day is Feral Cat Day in my universe.

Pirate Kitty is the son of a feral cat.

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