Know Better, Do Better: Backyard Cats, 2016 Edition

Our journey into cat rescue began last fall when Mama Spots, Cali, Sneaky, Tiny, and Dan showed up in our backyard. Mama Spots and her babies Cali and Tiny were first, and when they weren’t snacking on the deck, Sneaky would come in for a bite. Dan was the last to arrive, showing up after we had trapped everyone else.

Mama Spots and Cali playing the yard last fall.

We learned the hard way that feral cats don’t stand a chance when they’re surrendered. We dropped Mama Spots and Sneaky at one of the largest shelters in our area, thinking they’d have a chance as barn cats. Instead, they were transferred to the municipal shelter and killed. To say we were heartbroken is an understatement. Tiny had severe injuries to her hind legs; she was euthanized.

Sneaky, doing what she did best: Sneaking a bite when Mama Spots was away.

Lucky Cali — now Tink — has a loving home with my parents. Dan — now Gizmo — lives with two little girls who love him fiercely.

Dan, all snuggled in on the day we caught him.

Now, it appears that we have a small colony of community cats in our yard again. We got home from vacation last night to find two cats lounging on the sidewalk by our front door. We’ve named them Fireheart and Bluestar after characters in the “Warriors” book series. They appear to be friends.

Fireheart waits patiently for dinner.
Bluestar, who is buds with Fireheart.

As we were unpacking, another little tiger cat ran through the side yard. And this morning, I woke up to find Ghost, who has been a resident for a few months, waiting on the deck for his breakfast.

Ghost is waiting for breakfast.

And that doesn’t even count Captain Fluffy, a friendly and occasional visitor who loves to be pet.

Captain Fluffy, who we imagine lost his (or her) eye in some pirate adventure.

We know so much more about community cats in 2016 than we did in 2015. Time to get to know these cats, and make a plan for them. Stay tuned.


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