Friday, November 15, 2013

Feral

I never realized when I moved to Florida that I would become the crazy cat lady. That seems to be the case, however. When our family came down to Florida five years ago, we came with one cat. Jasper, our sweet kitty, was acquired unbeknownst to me by my husband on a blustery October evening while he took the children out to trick-or-treat. He saw her under a vehicle and she tugged at his heart strings. Cold, frightened, and hungry, this tiny grey cat was too great a temptation to resist so he scooped her up and took her home with us. We had just lost our previous cat and were still in mourning. While he was thus engaged, I was serving in our church bookstore, blissfully unaware of the future litter box demands to be once again placed on me.
Sweet Jasper, begging to be let out.
I quickly fell in love with this little cat, and she has been my friend and companion ever since.

Not long after we moved to Florida, though, we found another cat. This one, while very sweet, was quite wild. We watched her and observed that she was pregnant. Because of that, we called her Mama. Mama gave birth to her kittens somewhere in the community, and, as things would have it, she quickly became pregnant again. I'm not the most brilliant at math, but it didn't take me long to realize that a pregnant feral cat can quickly become several pregnant feral cats, so we decided to trap her as soon as we could and rescue her kittens for adoption. As luck would have it, she and her daughter from her earlier batch (we named her Fluff) both gave birth together. Mama had her kittens under my office window. She had ten orange tabbies!

Thus began the marmalade round-up. Between our neighbor and us (with our neighbor the most involved), we managed to capture all 15 kittens. Yes, 15, as her daughter, Fluff managed to have babies at the same time. Given that they were all orange marmalades, I suspect some incestuous activity, but nonetheless, all the kittens were duly captured. Mama and Fluff were successfully spayed, and all the kittens were adopted out.
Ginger, Mama's or Fluff's baby is now our baby.
One of the kittens, which we named Ginger, came home with us. Our house officially grew by one more indoor kitten, and two more (still wild but non-breeding) feral cats, namely Mama and Fluff.

Which brings me to today. Last week, I managed to capture a robust male our daughter affectionately christened "Tippy." I scratched the active plans to instead drive the new guy north to First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Two days later we came home with him. No longer locked in his love of the ladies, he quickly settled in for home life.
Tippy
My original plans were to do what we did with Mama and Fluff: catch, neuter, and release; however, this guy doesn't seem to want to leave. He's as gentle as they come and happy to be out of the crazy wild cat life. But now we have THREE cats, plus the two "wild" ones! I think somewhere along the line I crossed over to crazy, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how I got there. I'm going to blame my family.

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