IT'S ALL GONE TO THE
DOGS CATS! (Part 2)
Thankfully, feral cats can have guardian angels. And
3 of them have come to my rescue and that of the cats here at the farm.
First up is someone I know from the local food scene
who saw my plea-filled post on Facebook. Kim Pierce who writes about our
Market Days from time to time, ushered my situation over to a couple of
ladies she knew, who are also cat guardian angels.
They are in the business of helping take care of
feral cat populations. Feral
Friends and Cat Matchers. If
you’re looking for a good animal welfare cause to donate to this
North Texas Giving Day – please, consider either or both of these
Right away I was given paperwork by Pam to fill out
and assigned numbers for having the mommas and Yellow Tom altered. The
website was full of tips for trapping. Big help for a rookie like me.
The kittens, if I could catch and start handling,
could be found good homes – of this they were sure. Farm living can be
risky and if a safer life could be had, it would likely be preferred.
Besides, having 20 or so cats roaming the farm’s barns might be a bit
But, 3 days later, after two successful days of
picking up baby kittens so tiny I nearly burst with excitement, they were
gone! I feared the worst.
But, thankfully, it turned out that Lil Yellow momma
kitty apparently didn’t appreciate me trying to be friendly with her kids.
Never fear, I was told, when she’s ready for them to stop nursing, she’ll
lead them straight back to the food! I was reassured and kept my eye open
for Cammo kitty and her gang knowing she was the furthest along with her
Then, another week or so later, I saw what seemed
like a zillion kittens running under the shop when I came out one morning
to feed chickens. Oh goodness. Possum kitty must have had her litter, too.
And from the blur I saw, it looked like quite a successful one! How many
were there? 7? 9? Which litter was who from? With only a couple of weeks
apart, I wasn’t really sure who was whose or, as fast as they ran back
under the shop, how many there were.
I knew the likelihood of Yellow Tom coming back
around to visit was drawing nearer. So I set out to begin trapping Cammo
kitty and her crew first. They’d been hanging out by my garage, under my
house and on the front porch – giving me quite some entertainment.
The first night I set out a trap, I went into the
garage that morning, expecting to find a cat, and oh I did, she was
looking right at a scared half to death caged possum hanging upside down
from the side of the trap. The cat was just as happy as could be and it
seemed as I could hear her say “thank goodness you caught that hungry
fool! He was eating all of our food!”
So off to the pond area went the hungry possum to
live the life of a wild possum, instead of a well fed, semi-urbanized one.
Next time I had opportunity to trap was several days
later, (there are only certain days you can take in ferals for vetting and
it’s not like my mornings are free everyday), it was hot, so I checked the
trap before I went to bed. I wanted to make sure if I’d caught someone
that they’d not spilled the water – and possum number 2 was in there! Oh
for the love of Pete…. So off to the pond I went again. This one was
bigger, so I suspected it wasn’t the same one. Thankfully.
First thing in the AM – yet another possum had
found its way into that trap – and again, a hungry cat scurried out of the
garage; probably rejoicing the news to the rest of the litter that another
thieving scoundrel had been nabbed!
And as I was carrying the little trapped beast out of
there, to join his brethren at the pond, two more of his buddies
waddled by on their way to who knows where, but in quite a hurry!
I had a colony of possum! Do they have a
trap/neuter/release program for them, too?!
So, until I caught, or scared off, all of the rest of
these possum, I feared I wasn’t going to catch Cammo kitty or her kids.
That seemed certain. I started to feed outside of the garage, only in the
mornings so the possum would hopefully be sleeping. But no one took the
I thought, maybe I’d have better luck with the little
kittens by the shop, now that they were a bit older, yet they’d be too
young to vet, if I caught a few I could tame them and maybe I could have
new shop kitties and find homes for the others.
I had the reassurance of help in the neutering costs
and having mentioned a feral cat outbreak, one of my suppliers gave me a
bunch of soon to be out-dated cat food, so there were two immediate
expenses taken care of. And no garden shop, or farm, is complete without a
pair of cuddly cats for the kids to pet, right?
I soon discovered that catching 6 week old kittens was nearly like taking
candy from a baby. Especially, if their little eyes are gunked up with
mucus and they can’t see you coming or to get away. Just like that I had
basically picked up 3 of the cutest little white kittens you ever saw.
Soon after that, 1 of the slightly older ones was caught in a trap. Possum
kitty and Lil Yellow sure had some pretty kittens.
managed to snatch up 1 more of the older ones in a trap a few days later,
and then another 6 week old practically ran right into my hands in a
frenzy to get away just a day or so after that. So in less than a week, I
had caught 6 kittens!
As best as I could figure, 3 more kittens, plus the
mommas were still "at large" from the under the shop residents.
Now what? I have 6 kittens in a teeny, tiny,
un-air-conditioned bathroom with a screened window that one previously
caught kitten tore out of, that now needed to be shut to a tiny gap to
keep the rest contained.
Spiderman had nothing on those 8 week old kittens or
their momma! (Hearing the crying, one of the mommas followed me into the
bathroom one day and proceeded to go bonkers when I shut the door. She
showed the others the wall climbing trick and screen window escape hatch.
I had no choice but to let her out for fear she’d hurt herself.)
The little ones were simple to tame. They took to my
touch right away and had no fear.
Except, that is, for the one to soon be named, Mouse.
He must have thought if he could shrink himself down like Ant-Man he could
escape through a small opening in the drywall he’d found – that I’d not
even seen until a litter of trapped cats showed it to me. I nearly had to
tear the wall out to rescue Mouse from his near demise. Oh my heavens what
was I going to do!?!
Into the carrier they all went – and I became a
carpenter and a decorator as I quickly nailed up a piece of fence post to
the wall, covering the hole.
Having secured the mouse hole, naming one of the
kittens, and buying a small fan and finally seeing some trust built with
the older ones, too, the 3rd angel of mercy entered the picture
in a big way.
Robyn, who was instrumental in helping gain control
of and manage the feral cat explosion at SMU a few years ago, offered a
life saving option.
Bring her all of the kittens – she’d hold them at her
home, until they were old enough to be vetted – and put them up for
adoption to good, multi pet homes.
Since I’d tamed them all, they were perfect
candidates for loving homes – as inside kitties. She pledges never to send
one off to live alone – they have to go as a pair or to a home with a cat
loving dog or other cats. And a whole list of other rules/requirements are
met before she surrenders these sweet creatures, for a very small fee to
help recoup the vet and food expenses.
She understood I wanted a pair of tame kittens for
the shop. The kids who visit always wanted to pet Eve – who was pretty
finicky as to when or who she’d allow to pet her, and with her now retired
I supposed it was a good time to bring in replacements. I knew it was part
of the farm experience for many children to get to pet a cat – as well as
But how was I ever to choose?! They were all so
my decision was almost made for me. A friend of Robyn’s heard about the 3
adorable white kittens and wanted to adopt all three of them together.
Now how could I resist; not
breaking them up was awesome – plus, as cute as they were together, they’d
probably end up famous!
I had wanted to return one of each litter to the
farm, for the mommas’ peace of mind, but there was still a chance that
would happen anyway, if I wasn’t able to catch the last of Possum kitty’s
kittens. And after a trapping snafoo – that seemed like a plausible
outcome as she was being very, very guarded of her last kitten.
Possum kitty – now AKA Houdini, managed a desperate
escape from her trap one Friday night. We still don’t know how she managed
to squeeze her skull through – or push open the door enough to escape, but
she did. A mother’s love. With just one kitten left – crying for her that
night no doubt, she made a way out. It actually broke my heart.
But, the next day – all of the remaining kittens and
both mommas – were nowhere to be found. I’d failed as a cat catcher. I was
The next few days I missed having them scurry around
outside the shop in the morning when I’d come to feed chickens and put out
their breakfast – possums and a big ol fat raccoon I trapped one night,
always saw that there were no leftovers…..
As the next few days passed though, I started to
regain their hungry tummies’ loyalty as I saw them come to feed, but
quickly disappear just as fast.
Today (as I was writing this) – I saw the kittens,
again, too, though! My hope is renewed that I’ll be able to finish
catching and neutering and releasing, or perhaps re-homing, the rest of
the kittens, and for sure re-releasing the mommas. It’s all a matter of
time to re-build trust, so I can lure them into a trap - once again – and
get them to the vet.
And then there’s Yellow Tom and his gypsy gal and
their litter. They’ve moved back next door to the new neighbors’. This
isn’t over yet, by far.
the meantime, Toro (l) (named for the birthing place), and Tigger (r),
(just look at him), have come home from the foster house, vetted, happy to
be together. As soon as they’re recovered fully, they will move into the
shop to take Eve’s place. (Notice it takes two males to replace one, savvy
female cat. At least that’s what I told Eve to make her feel good. )
The lesson in all of this to me – if you see a stray
male cat – and you have the opportunity to TNR (Trap/Nueter/Release),
do it! It could save you hours and days and weeks and months of
work in the long run. They’ll not wander much once altered, but usually
stick around and help keep rodents to a minimum.
I love cats – as I love all animals – but unless they
can find shelter, food and water – life on the run, is no life at all.
Please, spay/neuter your cats – and dogs for that
matter. And, male horses! There are so many without homes going hungry, we
really don’t need to add to the over-population of them.
I’m so grateful to Kim, Pam and Robyn for helping me
– I don’t know what I would have done without their help. We’d soon be
over-run by cats as I’m sure you’ve seen the graphic on how many litters a
single female can deliver in a lifetime.
Come meet Tigger and Toro at Market Day real soon!
I'm slowly socializing them to new faces besides mine, and hope to have
them out in the shop, reunited with their momma and siblings, as soon as
they're all trapped and vetted, too.
loving belly rubs and scratches and at this age – they’ll make perfect
pictures with your kiddos, too.
And, if you’re looking to adopt a kitten, or even an
older cat – give Robyn a call. She’s a sweetheart, loves the animals
dearly, and sends you home with a cute little care package for your new
Who knows, you may even end up with one of Eden’s
Eat your food, Naturally!
To contribute to Feral Friends and/or Cat Matchers -
help name the remaining kittens raffle! All raffle proceeds will go into
our "itty bitty kitty fixin fund" and help reimburse for the care and
vetting of Eden's inherited feral cat community!
Name the farm kittens raffle
$2 per chance to name the kittens! One boy (orange tabby) and one girl (gray
tabby) Winner will be chosen at our 3rd Saturday Market Day, Sept. 19th