When a Daddy Cat and a Mummy Cat love each other very much and they haven’t been sterilized there will usually be a population explosion.
This is what has happened in our hamlet and now we have two litters of kittens with no place to go.
At first, there was a female cat who, last summer, deposited two pretty kittens in our log pile that we have up against the front of the house. She carried them back and forth for a while and I never saw them again. My neighbour who is renovating his house (spasmodically) started to feed the mother and said he was going to have her sterilized and keep her as a pet with me feeding her when he is away on one of his frequent visits to Paris.
That was the plan. However, he left it too late and this was the result
I did put out a plea for new owners but, by this time they were 5 months old and not so easy to tame even though they allowed us to stroke them while they were eating. I said that, if we got them sterilized, I would feed them while my neighbour was away and they could live a semi feral, semi domestic life in his barn. I established that only one was a female and was worried that, post operation, we wouldn’t be able to care for her properly or give her antibiotics. Apparently, with feral cats, they use soluble stitches and don’t bother with the antibiotics afterward so we decided to try to catch them and get it done.
These were the three that had their day at the vets. The tabby you can see in the background was spooked by seeing his siblings being caught and took off so we’ve yet to get him ‘done’ From left, Bilou, Nero and Gipi – can you tell my French neighbour named them? Gipi is the female so was the most important to get to the vets as, at 5 months, she could soon have become pregnant herself. After a week, with a bit of help from me giving what remained of the dressing a bit of a tug, she recovered very well from her op and is a lovely, lively girl. Nero is a hero and I’ll tell you why in a minute. Bilou has become a little less friendly since being nabbed and put in a cat basket but who can blame him – I’m sure he’ll come round eventually.
Meanwhile, the mother appeared to be ‘with kitten’ again. After a while, it was obvious she had given birth somewhere and I was determined not to get stuck with yet more kittens and told the neighbour we must catch the mother and the new litter and take them to the refuge. I should just say here that I already have four cats of my own and three dogs so am already halfway to being a crazy cat lady as it is.
On Sunday, the neighbour was away visiting parents by the coast and Mlle. Tialys the younger went down to put some food out for the big kits. She heard plaintive mewing and we had to break into next door’s barn in order to investigate. Up on a concrete shelf we could see a teeny kitten making a racket and hear another, quieter mewling. We left them there because the mother had obviously taken them up there and would be back for them.
Two days later, the neighbour returned and we told him that his favourite black and white kit had not been seen for two days. When he went to search for him later that evening, he found him beside a section of wall in his barn and heard a mewling behind it.
He broke open the wall and this is what he found
Guess where this little chap is now. In my spare bedroom being fed on formula milk. I am going to draw the line at the usual mother cat method of getting them to go to the loo and compromise somehow or other.
We think this new litter is about 5 weeks old and, apparently if you want to tame feral cats, that’s the right time for them to be taken from the mother. We wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the fact that this one was trapped behind a wall but now I think we should probably try to get the others from the litter – however many there are – and keep them together. At least we then might have a chance of getting them adopted eventually because they will be socialized. I hope so anyway because I think four cats is quite enough for one household.
In the meantime, the reason Nero is a hero is because he refused to leave the section of the wall where his half brother was trapped until we found him.
and, hopefully, this little one won’t have to remain in a bed on his own – with just a microwaveable soft toy for company – before we catch the rest of them.
As an aside – I nipped down the shop quickly to buy kitty litter today with formula milk stains all down my front. Aah, memories….
Have you ever had any experience of raising feral kittens. Any advice would be gratefully received – there is lots of useful but sometimes conflicting information on the internet.