Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there were two little feral calico cats who were trapped, spayed and vaccinated, and released in a safe location in my woods.  Sounds pretty simple.  Here are more of the facts between trapping and releasing.

Head 'em up, move 'em out

Head 'em up, move 'em out

They were trapped right before Christmas 2007.  My plan was to get them to the local spay neuter clinic, but the clinic had no appointments left before Christmas and were going to be closed from Christmas into the first of the year.  So these wild little cats lived in this crate in my garage until they could be spayed.  After they were spayed, they went back to the crate in the garage in order to recuperate for two weeks before releasing.  Six weeks is a long time to live in a crate.  And I’m scared of feral cats.  They do not play.

Crate in the van on the way to a new planet

Crate in the van on the way to a new planet

Then Sugar and I transported them in their crate to the new location at my property, covered them with a tarp for overnight protection, and released them the next day.
What's happening?

What's happening?

The day before release

The day before release

On the day of release, we transported an old desk to the woods and patched together a feeding station. 
Sugar's van full of important stuff in my driveway when I lived in a house

Sugar's van full of important stuff in my driveway when I lived in a house

Notice the Golden Ride RV parked in my driveway IN A SUBDIVISION.  I have no shame. 

We found later that the local dogs and wildlife were eating the food, so Sugar made a fence around the station with openings in the fence for the cats to come and go.  It keeps the dogs out, and my theory is, if the wildlife like possums and raccoons are hungry, they can eat here too.

The local diner

The local diner

The dog house on top of the desk has a soft blankie in it for a kitty to take a nap.  There’s a fact we learned:  feral cats are kick-ass kids and would not sleep in such an exposed situation.  We didn’t have an automatic feeder so we piled some dry food on a plastic plate.  We found that this is just simply not enough food, and that the plate ended up on the ground or even carried away.
Eventually I dismantled the desk, kung-fu style.  It was made of laminated fiberboard, and the rain and dampness over time had caused the desk to become sway-backed and weak.  It does me good to displace some aggression.
I had an abundance of boards left over from the shed construction.  Sugar took them and constructed an open-air protected feeding station. 
Stinky is hungry.  Where's the food?

Stinky is hungry. Where's the food?

Sugar is a good sport

Sugar is a good sport

The process of construction and destruction look much the same

The process of construction and destruction look much the same

The building inspector stopped by.  (It's really Sylvia.)

The building inspector stopped by. (It's really Sylvia.)

The inspector looks for her bribe

The inspector looks for her bribe

I have to say that the feral cat project has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.  And I’ve had lots of help, as you can see.  Sugar and Sylvia are always at the ready. 
The very first feeding station in the morning sun on the day of the first release

The very first feeding station in the morning sun on the day of the first release

This is a favorite picture of mine.  The sun was in the east that winter morning.  I paused to take this picture, the culmination of the liberation of these two little cats.  It was a day of promise, even though we didn’t know if this crazy cat project was going to work.  Catkin and Catnip were the first of many cats to be released.  This simple station became more refined and efficient.  We added a fence.  We replaced bowls with automatic feeding and watering systems.  We added shelters in the woods.  We built stronger, more protected feeding stations.  It’s been a great time.
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2 Responses to “Once Upon A Time”

  1. kari Says:

    You and Sugar are amazing!

    Like

  2. ruthrawls Says:

    Doing good in the world, one cat at a time.

    Like

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