Vultures of the Low Country

Mr. Stinky has been a loyal feral cat.  I’ve written about him before, and how he ended up in the local shelter.  Normally a feral cat that is trapped and ends up at the shelter is euthanized.  Mr. Stinky has an ear notch that was given to him when he was neutered.  The notch identifies him as a feral cat.  Somehow he ended up at the shelter.  When the shelter workers saw his ear notch, they knew that he was neutered and vaccinated, and they called me to see if he could join my colony. 

Mr. Stinky stayed close to the cat station.  Sometimes I would not see him for several days, but he always returned after a walkabout.  Many times he would come to the side gate and look in, as though he were curious but not curious enough to shimmy under the gate.  One morning I was late for work, and as I backed out of the driveway, I saw Stinky sitting in the ditch looking at me and meowing plaintively.  I parked the car and went to the cat station – work be damned – and, sure enough, Stinky was telling me that the feeders were empty. 

I heard some sounds of a bad cat fight last week coming from the direction of the feeding station one night.  I haven’t seen Stinky since.  A few days after the fight, I saw turkey vultures in the distance from the station, perhaps 20 or more, flying in a smooth, regular formation, like a living  column that circled round and round.  It was a mesmerizing, macabre sight.  A few days ago, I saw a vulture contingency sitting, waiting in the cleared lot across the road.

Across the road

Sylvia goes to inspect

I had to drive closer to them in order to go to work. 

Like they are waiting on a bus

More are in the distance

They seem to be waiting for something hiding in the brush piles

I set a trap at the cat station later that evening to see who I could catch.  Yes, I caught Marcellene.  Again.  I let her out of the trap when I checked it about midnight, and baited the trap again.

The next morning when I went to the cat station, I found a very angry, very vocal male in the trap.  He hissed and struck out at me. 

Let. Me. Out. Now.

The better to eat you with, my dear.

He looked like he was related to Marcellene with those distinctive gray swirl markings on his side.  I covered him back up with the rug and took him to work.

(Insert muffled cat cursing here)

He had surgery and vaccinations later that morning.  His right ear was ear-tipped to show that he is a feral cat.  Sometime when you get the chance, take a look at for more info on feral cats. 

Mr. Biggun: "I am heavily medicated but will be mightily angry when I wake up."

After surgery, he was placed back in the trap and transported back to the cat station.  He recuperated in the trap the rest of the day, and then I let him go that evening.  The vet had recommended leaving him in the trap until the following morning, but the rate that he was hissing and spitting at me when I checked him that evening assured me that he was fully awake from the anesthesia and able to manuver safely.

I will continue to believe that Stinky has gone on a long walkabout in the fine spring weather we’re having.



4 Responses to “Vultures of the Low Country”

  1. Simba Says:

    Vultures find carrion by its odor. They can smell dead flesh from as far away as five miles. If they were circling they were zoning in on a dead creature. Possibly it was a ‘possum?


    • ruthrawls Says:

      There were more than 20. I’m not sure what to say about a possum – you think that many for a possum? There’s a lot of roadkill around here. Last week I saw 10 vultures around a deer carcass on the side of the road.


  2. Becky Says:

    Oh, Mr. Stinky, I will join the believing-you-are-on-a-spring-walkabout club!! 😦


  3. Big Angry Feral « Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] I saw that neither ear was tipped.  Bonus!  A big angry feral.  He must have been a brother to the last one, because he was just as ferocious.  He thrashed about in the trap, causing it to bang against my […]


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