Category Archives: cat behaviour

Piggy The Teacher

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The first thing PP did to surprise me involved an elderly turkey sandwich.

Vickie came to see me first, and I was tossing bits of turkey and cheese her way (I didn’t need a lunch, right? It was a couple days old anyhow). She wouldn’t come close to me at all. Eventually Piggy showed up, came to me, sat beside me, got some loving and some cheese, and then she went to sniff the bread, which I’d left on the ground next to me, thinking they wouldn’t have any interest in it.

Piggy picked up half the bread (French loaf type), took it over to Vickie and dropped it, then gave a “momma cat call.” She was calling her teenager over and saying, “Hey! You missed this. Look, it’s got butter on it! Eat it, dummy! That weird big cat over there has good stuff, and you can trust her.”

Well, I was gobsmacked. Even more so when Piggy took the other half off into the bushes. I knew it was for the still-hidden kittens. Wow!

In the middle of this, the tomcat showed up. I’m calling him Big Boy. He’s honestly not that big, as he’s mostly floof.

He was stalking Vickie and looked like big trouble. I was about to get in between them when someone left the parking area making lots of scary car noise, and everyone scattered. Whew, right?

Big Boy came back a few days later, and as above, he perched on a wall. I got closer and closer until I was about a meter and a half away before he fled.

He is gorgeous. He has the lightest ice blue eyes, and faint orange/red colour on his face. He’s also filthy as hell on his belly and feet, poor lad. This was taken on the 17th. I was assuming he was trouble for the kittens, especially after Piggy growled at him during the ‘stalking.’

Backtracking a bit to the 15th, when the kittens started popping through the fence to get food.

The all black one was first. He was brave. I’m assuming he, for no reason whatsoever. So there we have black kitten, Piggy Peggy, and Vickie.

Yum yum yum!

I’m using those bright blue bowls on purpose – a visual cue that food can be found inside.

This Monday Vickie was right there when I called, even before Peggy. Then three wee ones popped through the fence. The black one, and two B&W ones.

Vickie is still very scared, so has run to be safe behind the fence. At this point, the kittens are warming to me via the blue bowl of noms. This also tells me that Vickie is being a good aunt to these babies by helping keep them warm and guarding them. They trust and follow her.

Piggy Peggy shows up and we do our usual cuddle greeting. I get a second bowl so she can eat, too.

Then… Big Boy arrives. I get tense as I know male cats kill kittens sometimes. He goes to the now-empty first bowl. The kittens have moved to the closer one to steal from momma.

Piggy…doesn’t care?

What is going on here?

I dole out more wet food.

Big Boy is actually sharing it with the kittens. Piggy isn’t worried at all. I’m baffled.

He actually turns away and stops eating to let the wee ones have their fill. Exactly the way Peggy and Vickie do.

All this time I’m sitting quite still and trying to remember to talk to the cats, getting them used to my sounds and calls so they associate my voice with food. I’m also checking to see if Big Boy is deaf like so many white cats – he isn’t. But he does have a raging case of ear mites; I can see the dirt they leave. Yuck.

He backs off when I get more food. He actually sits to the side and proceeds to groom himself. I’m thinking he’s pretty comfortable with me if he can do that.

I’m feeling sorry for Peggy who has given all her food to the babies. Still trying to get them closer to me, I fill the closer bowl. That’s when I get to touch two of kittens! They came at a run to momma’s call. I gave them gentle strokes on the head and back, one finger only, while they ate even more.

These are the two I made contact with. The all black one, and one of the black and whites. I think my efforts are paying off and I’m taking the feral out of them with Piggy’s help.

I’m only up to Monday. I have more!

Piggy’s Clowder

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Something has changed in Piggy Peggy in the year I didn’t see her. Now that I’m back at work again, she has clearly missed me and is showing it in some very surprising ways.

It was obvious that she had recently weaned another litter of kittens when I first saw her again, in April. She had the remnants of milk still, the poor thing. Soon, I found missing fur on the back of her neck and initially thought it was mange. It was not. The baldness was from mating. Cats aren’t very romantic.

Soon Peggy disappeared for long weeks. I knew she’d had more babies.

I’ve been looking for the kittens ever since.

And I’ve found them, living in a dense garden hedge that borders my workplace. The company put up a fence a few years ago along that line, and the homeowners keep it nicely trimmed even on the side they can’t see. It’s thick, and it’s chock-full of cats.

Six, I thought. Piggy Peggy, a mostly black teenage daughter from the spring I’m calling Vickie, and four kittens, one all black and the rest black and white. Then I spotted what I believe is a male teenager, all black. Seven, Then I met who I expect is daddy Tomcat, pure white and stunning. Eight. Then I saw a fifth kitten! Nine. Oh no, no no.

Piggy and Vickie.

For now there are nine. I say for now, because I’ve seen two dead black and white cats in the road across from this house. How many have died there that I didn’t see? It could be dozens by now. I saved just one, Iggy (who is still happy and healthy and beloved). But he cost me a lot of money. If she is having at least 4 kittens 3 times a year… this is awful. They die. They die horribly.

I know it’s hard to see, but there are two kittens in this picture. Taken 7 October. This is where they are living, in the bushes.

At the same time, it’s amazing to see them interacting. And also how my efforts to make friends are working, but it’s Piggy Peggy who is the one teaching not only her kittens, her teenager, but me.

She kept me away, and kept them away and safe as a good momma does. But they are bounding about now and exploring, and I am not making this up but she is trying like hell to teach the little ones, and her teenage daughter, that I am safe. I am honoured.

I’m also feeding them all!

Next post is about how she is educating her babies, including Vickie, and some surprises.

Last picture is as close as I could get to the kittens on 11 October. Notice Piggy Peggy is watching over them, and watching me also.