I’ve fostered 241 feral kittens and never kept one of them. Not a one. And believe me, that’s super hard when I work for weeks and sometimes months to socialize for adoption a basically wild kitten. It’s incredibly rewarding when they eventually realize I’m not a predator and soon thereafter shower me with love and adoration. So letting go isn’t easy.
Then a couple months ago Anna called. She does rescue in the East Bay and found 4 kittens living dangerously close to the freeway. She trapped all 4 except an orange and white kitten who then somehow managed to escape the trap. Practically unheard of.
The next day Anna re-trapped the hungry kitten and promptly named him after escape artist, Houdini. Turns out he is a she, so she became Dini. Three of the 4 kittens were feral and will be Career Cats, re-homed to properties for rodent control but who receive shelter, daily food and water. Dini, however, went into foster.
So you know how I relocate un-adoptable feral cats to properties for rodent control? Well, last week’s relocation was slightly different. The property owner was referred to me by one of our volunteers so I thought, okay, great.
It’s rare that I know the people I’m bringing cats to. How it works is: they contact us, I get their address then go see if their property is a good fit for ferals. I never give it a second thought. And on second thought, maybe that’s not so smart.When I pulled into the driveway of Steve’s 7 acre spread, I noticed two houses. The one in back, where Steve lives, has an old barn attached that once housed ranch hands nearly 100 years ago. It sits at the end of a long dirt driveway. And as I drove in, I noticed a figure pacing back and forth through the lone upstairs window. Sorta eerie. I have to tell you, the whole scene reminded me of Norman Bates in Psycho. But maybe I’ve watched too many thrillers.
Trapping feral cats for sterilization means encountering something different each day. It’s the fun aspect of this work. Now don’t get me wrong; that doesn’t mean it’s one big party. On the contrary. The list of unpleasantness is long, but I’ll refrain from boring you with most of that.
Needless to say, working with Marin Friends of Ferals has its moments…I’ve broken my finger, been bitten through my knuckle by a kitten barely bigger than my hand, been saturated with poison oak and nearly lost the tip of my pinky from another bite. Scrapes and bruises come with the territory from efforts to spay and neuter feral community cats, yet I love what I do. But as it turns out, love hurts.
One joy of the job includes meeting new people and traveling to places in Marin County (and beyond) where I don’t often venture. For instance, last week a family in Sebastopol contacted us wanting 4 ferals for rodent control on their 5-acre spread. Continue reading →
Thanksgiving began with a phone call to my friend Sue.
Me: Just a heads up I may need you later today, so keep your phone nearby. Sue: What’s up? Me: You’re my one phone call I’m allowed from jail. Oh, and don’t forget to remove the turkey from your oven before coming to bail me out. Sue: Okay, will do.
You may be able to deduce from this conversation that Sue knows me well enough to realize one of these days I’ll be arrested for helping animals, probably cats, and if that means doing something illegal in the process, so be it.
The weird thing is, it’s an actual cat. No surprise I guess, as I’m assuming the saying originated when someone astute recognized that kittens tend to copy their mothers. Hold on while I google that. Okay, I’m back. Turns out the earliest reference to copycat was in 1887 with no mention of felines. After that it gets too boring for words, so Iet’s move along.
My copycat happens to be my cat Tippi, so named because her tipped ear is severe. Seems ever since I adopted the ever-entertaining Jack a few months ago, Tippi’s personality has changed. And not, might I add, for the worse.
I trapped Tippi in a feral colony 2 1/2 years ago in the small farming and ranching community of Valley Ford. Tippi and her 21 assorted siblings were born under the grocery store. Thankfully, the store owners asked us (Marin Friends of Ferals) to have them spayed/neutered before she had 41 siblings. Long story short, I ended up keeping Tippi after realizing she was a tweener – not adoptable at the shelter yet not feral enough to be content living under the market.