Monday, July 20, 2015

Feral Cats I'm Trying Not to Love

Meet Sammy, Gracie and Hissy Missy.
Amazingly, these three came from the same mama.
(That's feral for you.)
     Thinking some of you saw this one coming, but a little background in my own defense.
      So I have 3 new cats. Why 3 you ask? Because I have a friend who cannot count.
     Background on these kitties: I got a panicky email a few weeks back; subject line: "HELP!"
...content saying his girlfriend started feeding feral cats around his place and in one big bad week, two mamas had big litters of kittens. (This happens with feral cats; it's why you spay and neuter--provided you can catch 'em.)
      Given the timing in my own animal kingdom (i.e. haven taken out a black snake, discovering mice mama and mice babies in my garage, etc) I had been pondering a barn cat. (Note:  "a" means one...not 3, but who's counting?)
     First response after telling my friend I'd give it some thought, I reach out to other farmer friends who know lots more about the subject. (Obviously when it comes to cats, I'm only experienced in "spoiled" and "worthless" kinds of cats....not those that actually have to work for their keep). Like all things involving areas I know little about, I asked a lot of questions...did a lot of googling. Come to find out, most everyone who farms has feral cats if for no other reason than to keep the mice at bay. (Cause face it...If you've got feed, you've got mice.)

     So for starters, (to my friend who shall remain nameless) "feral" by definition looks like this:

fe·ral
ˈferəl,ˈfirəl/
adjective
  1. (especially of an animal) in a wild state, especially after escape from captivity or domestication.
    "a feral cat"
       
    The cute kitties above? Not so feral.  How do I know this?
    a) You named 'em. (I've changed a couple; but folks don't normally name feral cats. These are not household pets.)
    b)  They purr. (Feral cats hiss. They run from humans. Yours run TOWARD humans.)
    c)  You don't "free feed" feral cats. (Of all the things I was told repeatedly about barn cats is that you don't overfeed, after all the reason you have a barn cat in the first place is to kill the mice. It's a nature thing. (I know. I was concerned myself. That's why it took so long for me to decide if I could do it. But once I did (after seeing more mice) I knew I was in trouble when your girlfriend said she free feeds. Heck, I don't even free feed my dogs. So now we have 3 more things to feed each morning, but hey...aren't the kitties cute?)
         So to my friend who doesn't know the definition of feral, your babies are doing fine. Grateful to you for having them clipped and tipped (See earlier blog on why the ears of these cat babies are cat-e-wompas.) I find myself laughing at just how this whole thing got out of control, but I applaud you for having both mamas and babies neutered. (Anybody needing a not-so-feral barn cat, I think they have 2 left.)
         I rest my head knowing I did my part.

    *To my feral cat friends, your name choices needed altering. "Sammy" (far left) is the only name we kept, (obviously named because it looks Siamese.  "GW" (your middle cat) I felt too political a name to stick on an innocent kitten. By the time I learned it stood for gray/white it was too late. Given she is more sweet than feral, she is now known as Gracie. And that one on the right? She's no Princess. She actually has feral potential. We have hope for her. I've never seen a cat hiss and purr at the same time, but this cat does and thus I have renamed her Hissy Missy. Your babies are doing fine. Next time learn to count and buy a dictionary. (#loveyoududes #ucrackmeup)

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