Tag Archives: feral cats

The Plan for Peggy and Co.

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I finally have the timing right: I know Piggy isn’t pregnant right now, I know where all of her kittens are and one teenager.

I also have all of next week off work! The Halloween stars have aligned to allow me to get them all help.

Look how close they will come now! My big steel-toe boot is right there.

I’ve been in contact with the county SPCA, which is very local. They are even aware of a colony directly across the main road. Likely it is a colony founded by one of Piggy’s daughters from a previous year, who has set up over there after surviving the crossing.

It’s the perfect time to stop this nonsense, give these babies a good life, and keep any more from being born and raised in the bushes beside a very busy warehouse.

It’s even more urgent as one of them has bad eyes. Bad eyes, but is also the friendliest and bravest kitten of the six.

This poor sick baby ate bits of cheese from my fingers, and then climbed up my leg in hopes of more!

I’m in love. Over and over again, I’m in love. Oh, with this little face especially.

Here is where I beg. Please, if you can, donate to help these lovely babies find forever homes.

We are also going to get Piggy Peggy (and hopefully Vickie) spayed and returned. They will keep their territory clear of other feral cats, and this is definitely Peggy’s turf. I am of course tempted to bring her home with me, but my boys are indoor only and so very bonded that she would have to spend most of her time outside in a strange place. What with my neighbour cat very decidedly, and violently, thinking this whole estate is her territory, it would be bad for them both. Of course if I can find Peggy a safer place I will be sad to lose my friend, but happy for her new, safer, life. As it stands, she knows very well how to be safe where she is. I won’t ever stop caring for her. If she looks ill or has parasites I will be there. Vickie… is very feral. In a few years I might tame her like I did Peggy. But it’s going to take a lot of time.

The SPCA is no-kill. If any of these kittens are seriously ill, there might be a problem to deal with at that point. First is to catch them, veterinarian check them, and get them used to humans more than my meagre attempts. They are young enough that there is lots of hope to tame them before it is too late.

So please, if you can, donate via PayPal by emailing it to my blog email. No matter how much it is, it helps. We need help, and it is such a burden on shelters to take in these unloved ones, give them health care, and find them homes.

Please. Heretherebespiders@gmail.com

…And on Wednesday, Even Closer…

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It was raining like hell on Wednesday, and I had little time with the cats as I had a personal emergency and so lost my lunch 45mins.

I fed them under the bushes so they wouldn’t get rained on too much. I got wet of course!

Something is wrong here…

Ah, no!

One two three four five … six. Six kittens now? I swear they are multiplying.

Six. Sigh. This gets worse every day. Except… look how close I am to them all. That’s very good! I stroked the ones who let me, but I move slowly and quietly and try not to hover my hand or arm overhead as that scares them.

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.

Pics of the rescued kitten

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We got a wee doohickey that means I can now connect the SD card from our ‘real camera’ to the iPad for direct upload. Previously, if I wanted a pic from that camera I had to upload to one of the laptops and email it to myself (not happening), or wait for iDJ to do it and steal the pics from his FB page. Now that I’m in control, I’ll probably be out of control and you’ll be seeing more photographic posts. Sorry if they are boring.

I’ve uploaded a ton of pics to the iPad now, and the first ones I’d like to share are of the kitten I found, rescued and delivered to the Mayo SPCA last month.

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These are the only two pictures I have of him. He was so filthy, but had cleaned himself by morning. He looked a lot better, but was still stained brown on his nose and paws. I wonder if he found a home.

Kitten update

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I felt I should include an update on the kitten I rescued yesterday. He was pretty good until about 3am, then the mewing started. I have earplugs in my nightstand, and was not slow to use them. Hubby either didn’t know I had another pair, or was too scared of waking me up to ask for them. So, he got NO sleep – up at least 4 times, culminating in him sleeping on the couch with a huge, heavy pillow over his head. He said at one point, he went into the spare room and lay on the floor with his pillow for 15 mins trying to make kitty feel better. Aw.

Neither of our cats or the dog got any sleep either, they were too excited by the odd noises from behind the closed door.

I started getting up for kitten around 6. Got him more food and water, as he’d spilled the water. It didn’t help, he spilled it again. I got him a new clean, dry towel next – a good idea as he finally had peed on the one in the cage. The next time, I gave him a little stuffed toy for comfort; one I didn’t mind having to throw away if it turned out the little guy had something contagious. The last time I went in, I poked a dowel rod through the bars and gently stroked his head and back, and that did the trick. He was lonely. Not so very feral, then. Good.

He also looked better. He’d taken the time to clean his little face of the dirt that had accumulated. His nose and paws were still stained a bit brown from being outside so long, but the pink now showed through. A cat that cleans itself is a healthy cat, another good sign. No snot or eye-boogers, either. Yay!

Hubby was nearly late to work from sleeping through the alarm on his phone and being exhausted. I said he could have the car to make it on time, and I’d walk up later and get it, as I wasn’t awake enough to drive yet. I got the car around 10:15, came home and packed up kitten for the trip to the vet, about 30 mins away.

Got there no problem; kitten was silent, staring at my face the whole trip. The Dr said he was a he (I knew it, from the screaming & neediness – not a judgement on men, just male cats), and he didn’t have the nasty fatal disease they were worried about. Ears eyes nose & mouth looked good too, but he had a sore hip from an unknown altercation. A little painkiller shot, and now what do I do with him, sir? Well, they had no room to store him for pick up, so I could take him back home and schedule a pick up, or take him to Ballyhaunis myself. I said I’d be glad to take him, if I knew where it was. They were too stupid to offer to tell me, so I didn’t bother to ask – the directions would have been suspect. No answer at the MSPCA cattery, either, but I left my mobile no.

I started back home, and realised I was to pass our vet’s office. I stopped in to ask if they knew where the cattery was, nearly gave him away to another customer, and got a call back from the SPCA. Whew. Got my directions, on my way!

Had one panic and had to call the hubby for help – Ballyhaunis wasn’t signposted at a dead end T-junction. After one bad turn from iDJ’s also highly suspect directions, I found the place, and as per their request, rang to say I was there.

A lovely lady cradling a tiny terrier of some sort inside her fleece jacket greeted me and took me into the cat area, where I deposited the little guy into a much bigger cage containing three other kittens of his age. He did go and hide, but no hissing or growling. I gave some love to the two kittens that were asking for some, and then it was time to go.

I had been given some kitten food last night, so I donated that to the shelter along with a big box of unopened dog biscuits that our girl can’t have due to her allergies. I was never made to feel bad or guilty for bringing them another cat – and they have a lot, this is a no-kill shelter – and I was given some gently hinted ideas for helping them raise donations. Everything was clean: there was no odor or mess, and it was obvious the animals are loved, even in their dozens. How hard, so very hard, to do that job. I would fall in love every day, over and over.

The way I fell in love yesterday with a blue eyed white kitten with grey streaks on his head, back and tail. Yes, I’m crying now. Please don’t tell anyone.

What have I done…

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I caught a mostly feral kitten this eve. He was screaming non stop, and when I talked back, he started following me. So I got him to follow me home, into the house, and trapped the wee thing in a towel. I only got bitten once but it sounded like I was killing him. He’s in a cage, in a closed room my indoor, pampered boys aren’t allowed into. Called the SPCA as I cannot keep him. To a vet in the late morning to see if he is sick, if he’s fine then the SPCA will take him. If not, goodbye, little guy. Why can’t I be hard enough to turn away? I’m very sad for him already.