Friday, August 19, 2011

Crazy Cat Lady

Yes, it is true. I have become the crazy cat lady. I blame my grandma Joan. I am just like her, with my weakness for animals.

The woman who lived in our house before us, along with the neighbor, was feeding the stray cats. The cats were fat, healthy and friendly. When we moved in we decided not to feed them and let the neighbor deal with it. Then the neighbor, an elderly couple, could not feed them on a regular basis and the cats got mean. Now, you are thinking, how mean can a cat be—believe me, really mean. They were beating up my older cats, who are declawed and living in a heated/air conditioned garage. They would do anything they could to get in the yard, where a dog lives that doesn't like any cat but her cats. The male, appropriately named "bad kitty", was spraying everywhere. It was crazy around here.
So, I did my research to find out the options. I could not bring myself to have them trapped and destroyed, although the life they were living wasn't a good one either. Then I learned trapping and destroying them does not work anyway. Research shows more cats just replace those cats and so on. Instead we opted for Trap Neuter Release. The catch with this is we would have to continue to feed them, provide them with shelter but they would not be able to reproduce. They also clip their ear so you can tell when new ones show up that needs fixed. So, we put a feeding station in place—a large storage tote with a whole cut out with a bowl of water and cat food. I also put out two houses—two 30gal storage totes with 18gal ones inside surrounded by board insulation and on the inside straw with flea power. There is a small opening in the front and they set up on bricks. I will also surround them with a short wall to block out cold air and snow from blowing in. My goal here is functionality meets cuteness. I will post pics when I get it all done!
It is really hard for me not to want to bring these cats indoors and love them. That, after all, is my instincts but I really do not want all those cats inside. I would love it if they could learn to get along with my dog and other cats, at least then they could live in the heated garage with pillows and fluffy things.
I have been feeding them for only a week and have made huge progress. So far I have one "mommy kitty", one "bad kitty" aka dad, and two baby kitties. They, at first, would not let me get close and would run at the sight of me. Now, a week later, I am able to walk close to them and they are outside waiting by the food station for food every morning. The grey kitty still hides from me and Bad Kitty is a little skittish but Mommy Kitty and baby number 2 are really getting accustom to me.

Just this morning Mommy Kitty let me get very close to her while I was filling the cat bowls and cleaning out the feeding station. She just lay there, looking at me. I looked into her eyes and was amazed at the expression she had. She was looking at me like I was the strangest thing; a human feeding her. She looked so confused by this, like she just could not understand what was going on. Black kitty, ( kitty number 2), was just happy to see me and seemed to think this is all the new normal. I did not try to go towards them, I just accepted this was the limit they were comfortable with, hard for us humans who want to pet and cuddle everything. I talked to them, but I always do. I have a bad habit of that, talking to animals. I want them to come when I call "kitty Kitty". That would make it easier for roll call. Because once I start feeding an animal, I start worrying about it.

Ohh, the life of a crazy cat lady!
This is Mommy Kitty and Baby #2 aka Black Kitty!

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