There’s a Babe in the Manger

There’s a baby living in the woods at the feral cat feeding station.  I first saw her last month, about mid-month, during a cold snap, and I thought that she belonged to the mother cat that I trapped and released before.  That’s the mother that brought her litter to the cat feeding station – click here to see the video. She looks like one of the kittens from that litter. I have since seen the kittens from the litter, and they are much larger than this baby.

This baby is always alone.  I had gotten a donation of cat food from Maranatha Farm, and at the bottom of one bag was a new bag of kitten food and some cans of Fancy Feast cat food.  What a coincidence that I need kitten food, and it appears.  Those of you who prefer to call it divine intervention, feel free.  I’m just grateful for the donation. 

The first day that I put out a can of cat food, I could see the baby further out in the woods.  I spotted the mother cat even further out, and she came first to the canned food.  The baby approached it, and the mother cat hissed at her.  I had recorded wildlife videos of this mother with her litter, and she would stand guard on the feeding station while her babies ate.  She never pushed them out of the way, or got in a stand-off with them over food.  It seems clear that this is not her baby.

Sylvia the former feral and current wildlife ambassador has been spending a lot of time at the feral cat feeding station.  Some mornings when I go into the woods, Sylvia is off in the underbrush just outside the gate, or she’s already at the feeding station.  It’s cold – what is she doing out there?  The wildlife camera showed the answer.  There was one night in particular when she’s on the feeding station every few hours.  To the left of the feeding station is a small A-frame that used to serve as the watering station until the raccoons started to throw the automatic waterer off the station to the ground.  I put the waterer on the ground but left the station there as shelter and also as a step-up for smaller animals that couldn’t jump to the table. 

The wildlife camera showed the baby is on or around the A-frame.  Sylvia was hanging out with her, perhaps watching over her.

This morning, I went to visit the station to fill the feeders, and there’s the baby, in the manger, if you will.

This is a shot from the back side of the station. I blocked up one of the openings where the dog was getting in. That's what the pallet and cat trap stacked on top are about. In the foreground, Sylvia celebrates a crisp Christmas morning by taking a bath in the woods after her breakfast. See the dark spot under the A-frame, there to the left? That's our baby.

 

I bought a bed for the cat station. It's made of indoor-outdoor fabric and stuffed with a removable pillow filled with styrofoam, so it shouldn't hold moisture. See the baby under the A-frame? Where's her mommy?

 

This shot is the back of the A-frame. See the baby?

 

And another shot from the back of the A-frame. I can't get within 4 feet of the baby. She's mostly wild.

 

Last month, I decided when I started naming cats again, I’ll choose names alphabetically.  The last cat was “Alice”.  So this cat must be “Baby”. 

It’s a scientific method.

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