Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wild Beauty

So, it's nearly Thanksgiving already. My the year has flown. Last year, on the day after Thanksgiving, I was at work and my husband stopped by the shop I work at to surprise me with lunch, and to show me some video he had taken in the backyard that morning. A local feral cat had shown up with two kittens in tow. They were romping around our backyard, playing amongst the worn out garden and leaves. They were adorable.

We were on the lookout for them after that, and eventually discovered there were four kittens in all. We would put out food and it would disappear, but they managed to come by when we weren't looking, or weren't home.

When winter came, we wrapped a big tarp around a swing we had in the yard. One day we discovered that Momma kitty and her kittens were enjoying the shelter inside the tarp. I had hopes of trapping them and getting them to a shelter, but I've never done that before, and they were rather inconsistant in their visits. And, being winter, I didn't want to set a live trap and have them out in the cold all day without any decent cover.

So, I enabled them instead. I got two big wine crates, some old fleece blankets, and set them up on the cushions of the swing inside the tarp. They made themselves at home. Trouble is, any time we got close, they took off running so fast, there was no way we could catch them. So, we just kept putting out food, and watched for them.

One sunny winter morning I looked out the bedroom window to see a couple of them playing, peeking in and out of the tarp. I quickly grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures. I got some great shots and posted them on flickr. When spring came we took the tarp apart, washed all the blankets, and dismantled the swing. It needed new cushions anyway. Some friends of ours took the swing and rehabbed it for themselves, and we got a new swing with removable cushions.

Earlier today I looked out the bedroom window and discovered one of the kittens, now a full-grown cat, napping on the new swing. I'm sure he's done it before, just not when we've been around. I called my husband, Joe, to come and see, and we both snapped some photos of our guest. That adorable kitten had grown into a beautiful, wild, cat. Eventually, a neighbor walked by and the cat ran off to some other spot.

Watching him rest on the swing, it was clear he was truly enjoying himself. Basking in the sunlight, and the softness of the cushions.

We dismantled the cushions today, got the yard winter-ready. But I'm worried about that cat. And his mother and siblings, too. Clearly they've made it this far on their own. But winter is coming again. I'll have to come up with some kind of shelter for them for those cold, cold nights. Maybe this year I'll be able to rescue a furry friend.


babbler said...

I love the story about the feral cats! I hope they make it through the winter ok. I have a friend with an entire family of feral kittens that are getting quite big, she is trying to get them tame enough to take them in one by one to get spayed and neutered but has been unsuccessful in getting the lured into a cat carrier..I told her to put tuna in the carrier...any suggestions? Love your blog, and your birdies!

kmbrco said...

I have a cousin who has had a lot of success in rescuing/neutering feral cats. She claims tuna definitely does the trick.

I'm hoping to come up with a makeshift shelter for them this winter. I've got a large crate, tarp to cover most of the outside, and hay and fleece blankets for the inside. It's snowing today, so I'll have to get going on this project!

Thanks for reading my blog. I promise to try and update more often.