Friday, August 5, 2011

Cat Explosion!

Background:  Last spring, my brother's girlfriend's cat had kittens and we took 2 of them (my brother assured me they were litter trained, apparently they were good at doing what mama cat did, but not so good without mama cat around to keep them in line).  Socks & Moccasin came to live at our house but when they refused to figure out the litter box thing, they became outdoor cats last fall, and loved it. They're both great hunters and living where we do, there's plenty to hunt. And since one of my reasons for agreeing to cats was to keep the mice away, having good hunters living on our porch has been effective. As they got bigger they began to roam, and last spring Socks was gone for a few weeks, then  reappeared, loving as ever. We decided we'd better get them neutered to keep them closer to home, and away from the feral females that live on the property. Took them for their check-up, made the appointment, and literally the day that we were taking them in (the evening before surgery), Socks took off again & we haven't seen him since (but several neighbors have, so he's around, just not at our house anymore. Based on where neighbors have seen him, I'm wondering if the rehab hospital that's up the hill from us, has "adopted" him, which he would love, and he'd be good for the patients because he's a cuddler (HE probably would have preferred to stay an indoor cat, or at least come and go, but HE was the one who flat out refused to use the litter box, sigh . . . ). So, we were essentially down to one cat.

There's a feral cat that the girls named Sneakers who lived in the chicken coop near our house last winter and has been eating out cat food sever since. This spring we discovered she'd had kittens when they were only a couple days old, but us finding them apparently spooked her and she abandoned them (bit it told us she was a female LOL). Also last winter, this spring, there was a yellow feral cat, that the girls named sandals, but this spring I saw it dead along the side of the road (didn't tell the girls, since it was during one of Socks' absences and I figured realizing that cats can get hit by cars wouldn't sit well with Sassy (Socks was Sassy's cat, Moc is MiniMe's). Hubby was going to go move it into the bushes, but someone else did.

A couple neighbors, and hubby, had mentioned recently seeing a small yellow cat/yellow kitten, though I haven't seen it, and I don't think the girls have. Guessing it's another feral cat that just stays out of sight more than Sneakers does and Sandals did.

So that's where things stood when we went to Pittsburgh. A neighbor agreed to come feed Moc and whatever strays chose to eat our food, she saw, and cuddled, Socks while we were gone (see, he just stays out of OUR sight, I think Moc told him what happened to him, and Socks wants nothing to do with that LOL).  And then the day we were coming home (last Sunday), she called and said that when she was getting the food, a black cat suddenly jumped out of a cardboard box on our porch and scared her half to death. Stayed out of her reach but didn't completely run off.

So we came home, as we drove in we saw a black cat take off toward the barn, so figured that was the cat Denise saw. Later that evening MiniMe went out and came running back in, telling us that she'd seen the black cat going toward the barn again but this time it had 2 black kittens with it (she described them as being about the size Socks & Moc were when we got them, so around 8 weeks, give or take).  Still later that evening, she went out again and said she thought Socks was under our car. We'd parked the car on the grass to unload it, so it was closer to the house. I came out and looked, and we determined that it wasn't Socks, it was a black & white kitten.

The next day we got a better look and realized the black & white "kitten" is much bigger than the 2 black kittens . . . as the week has progressed, we've determined that the "new" cats include:

A black male (this is the one that jumped out of the box and startled Denise)
A smaller black female, mama to the 2 little kittens
a young black & white cat (we think female, based on glimpses of it's butt, but perhaps it's just too young to be "noticably male"?)
a young (or at least smaller) cat that is striped like Moc (male), perhaps a sibling to the black & white one?
The 2 little black kittens

I simply canNOT fathom that these cats have been living on the property and suddenly decided to come to our house after never seeing them before. I'm convinced someone must have dumped them.
They're skittish but not truly wild.  The black male, "Moccasin Jrc", and the black and white young one all let us pet them while they eat. "Moccasin Jr" will even seek out attention, rubbing against us, or at one point, Sassy had been sitting next to him, petting him while he ate and then I called her to come eat, and he jumped off the wall and was meowing, the only possible reason we could think of was that he wanted her to come back and pet him/keep him company LOL.

This morning, we were finally able to hold one of the little kittens. It came and was eating cat food with the big cats, and I was able to pet it and then a little bit later, pick it up and cuddle it. It was NOT relaxed, but it didn't fight me. Later MiniMe was able to pick it up (she tried yesterday but it scratched her) and she and Sassy took turns holding it for quite awhile. I even let them take my phone outside and listen to their morning Bible reading on the porch so they could keep holding the kitten.

So . . . now what to do. I need to call the Humane Society and see what their policy is on spaying & neutering feral cats. I don't mind having several cats around, but I don't want there to keep being more & more . . . at least we shouldn't have a problem with mice LOL.

1 comment:

TN Quiltbug said...

Wow! You DO have a "Cat explosion!" Hope the Humane Society can help. . . We are glad the kitties came to your house, though. At least they found kind people who will feed them, poor things. The kittens may be young enough that they may have a good chance of adoption though the Humane Society. We have gotten most of our cats that way, and kittens always go first, of course.