Thursday, January 10, 2008

Momma Kitty

When we caught Momma Kitty, I was intending to catch Brodie. She was obviously pregnant and we obviously had a problem. Over the last several months, feeling sorry for a number of stray and feral cats behind our apartment, I occasionally leave them food. A lady several doors down has been doing the same for the last five years. Interested in trying to help these cats, I started doing some reading.

A feral cat is just a cat that has gone wild. Feral is just the latin word for wild. There are a few different catagories of them. There are truely feral cats that you rarely see in the day time, they only come out at night to eat, and like most other wild animals they are terrified of humans, often just seeing a person is enough to make them run. Then there are what they consider to be hard strays. These are cats that either were once owned by someone or sometimes the offspring of a cat that was once owned. Since they have been treated poorly and often thrown out by someone who was moving or didn't want them anymore they are leary of humans; however, they will come out some during the day and will tolerate humans being around. There are soft strays, who are either pets that have gotten lost or young cats that are born to feral or hard stray moms. The problem is that they reproduce at astronomical rates because cats go into heat at least three times a year, and when they are nursing litters, or when several males are around. Every year shelters put thousands of cats to sleep because there are not enough homes.

In the past, it was customary to round up these cats and put them to death. Over the last 10 to 20 years a group tried a different approach and found out that if you trap them, spay or neuter them, and then return them, it will stablize the population. The number of cats killed by shelters in the areas where this is being done has decreased by 70%.

The momma cat that we have right now, is nine years old and pregnant for the third time since we've gotten married. The problem right now is that if we carry her in to get her spayed, then they will abort the kittens. Gary isn't wild about cats, but he hates to kill them like that. From the reading I have done she can't be more than 3 weeks away from delievery (at absolute most), so we have decided to keep her till then. After the kittens are old enough we'll spay her and turn her loose if she no more tame than she is now. I've got her set up in a taming cage. The Abernathy girls graciously agreed to let me borrow their large cage. She has a litter box, food and water, and a carrier to hide in. Here are a few pictures of her, we've decided to call her Bobby, as she looks like she's wearing the little ruffled bobby socks I wore to Church when I was five.


Owl of the Desert said...

Aww...that's so sweet of ya'll. Hope it works out.

jsarber said...

I'm really glad ya'll are waiting. I worked at an animal clinic for awhile and assisted during many "abortions." It's horrifying. Sadly, many people get reminded to take their cat or dog in only after she's pregnant.

~*Rachel*~ said...

how is she doing now? has she eaten or come out of the carrier?

Dani said...

Bobby is doing pretty well today. She got out of her carrier last night, when she realized that she was sitting right by the door. She's climbed around on the bars and used her litter box.

Brodie kept trying to get to her food during the night and managed to spill all of her water out, so I had a fun time cleaning up this morning. I've taken yarn and tied the carrier in place so that she can't move it out of place. During the night she ate all of her food.

She also let me pet her through the cage yesterday, though with some hissing. Today, I held my hand out to her in the cage, and she was pretty calm about it. When I was about to touch her she swatted my hand pretty hard, but not with her claws out. She's also been pretty intent on watching me.