Enough Love to Share with One More
Sadly, until the No Kill Alliance (of which I am a proud founding member and board member) recently started a trap/spay/neuter/vaccinate/release programme with these creatures, the cats reproduced until the colony swelled to about 30. NOKA received $29,000/year for three years, from the City of Lethbridge (we were very surprised when this happened!), for subsidized spay/neuters of cats and dogs who are already pets, and Feral cat sterilization.
If all pet owners were actually responsible, Lethbridge (and most other places) wouldn't have an overwhelming problem with unwanted companion animals. NOKA is also trying to get the City of Lethbridge Animal Shelter (or The Slaughterhouse, as Dorne calls it) to become a no-kill shelter. Many cities have gone to this model. The City "shelter" is a contracted service; for nearly 1/2 million dollars a year, they'll kill all the pets they can get their hands on, and NOT enforce a mandatory spay/neuter programme. Hell, they won't even bother trying to find a pet's owner when the pet is chipped or tattooed!
Mowzer, our first cat, now nearly two years old, was one of the ferals from that colony. There is a picture of him on my blog, go to the early archives to see it. We brought him home when he was about 5 months old. He is the most incredibly affectionate kitty I've ever had. The transition from wild to mild took about two weeks.
Bitsy, kitty number two, was part of a small semi-feral colony that found its way to the backyard of a co-worker, late last summer. She knew of my involvement with NOKA, and called. There appeared to be three generations of cats in that colony. One of the kittens ended up at our house to be fostered and socialized, and then a new home was to be found for him.
One evening I came home from a meeting, and Dorne was reclining on the love seat with Mr. Bitsy lounging on his chest. I was surprised, because up to this point, Bitsy would only be held for a few moments, and only under protest. Dorne stated that he thought Mowzer needed a playmate. Who was I to argue? So we became a two-cat house.
Then Wednesday morning, I was paged and when I went to the front, Dorne was standing there. He'd trapped one of the ferals and wanted to know if I thought we should adopt this one.
One very frightened kitty was inside that trap. I said yes, so Dorne took the kitty home, set it up with food, water and litter in the spare bedroom, and left.
That night, after supper, Dorne figured he could go into the spare room and start to socialize the new kitty. Bzzzt ... wrong. Kitty went crazy and bit right through a pair of deerskin gloves, produced copious quantities of blood (Dorne's, not the kitty's!), and triggered a weird hysteria between our dog (Innu) and Mowzer. Bizarre.
So once Dorne stopped bleeding, we decided that New Kitty needed to be left alone for a while.
He hadn't eaten or drank any water for nearly 48 hours. I was getting worried.
So last night we went and picked up some canned cat food. I put half a can on a small plate and put it in New Kitty's room. This morning I checked, and New Kitty had eaten both dry and wet food, as well as had a substantial amount of water.
Step one successful.
Kitty is now hiding under the bed, instead of completely out of sight. All three cats have used the litter box we provided, and have never gone anywhere else in the house. New Kitty will spend a few more days in the spare room, and then we'll open the door and see if s/he ventures out into the rest of the house.
Anyway, I have to get dressed and head out to the Yates Memorial Centre to pick up tickets to Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman! They'll be in town next month. The Guess Who was one of my favourite Canadian bands, waaayyyyyy back when (ahem) I was in my teens (a faint memory now
New Kitty is listening to the sounds of our house. Innu and Dorne wrestling on the floor .. oops, Innu chasing two cats, oops ... Innu playing with his stuffy ... oops, Innu schmoozing with one cat (flossing his teeth). I think the dog has ADHD. This is more or less a typical Saturday morning in our house. One great huge guy, three (now four) furry creatures, organic fair-trade coffee in the pot, and me. Soon CBC radio and Stewart MacLean's Vinyl Cafe. This is a very good life.