Posts Tagged ‘Feral Cats’

The Treehouse Gets A Roof

September 4, 2017

Sugar had made a treehouse for the cats. 

It was perfect for lounging and feeding. 

The Butter in the Treehouse

There was one flaw in the set-up. It was a platform only, and, while the gravity feeder fit perfectly on the platform, rain would soak the dry food in the feeder’s basin. In the coastal heat, that rain-soaked food turned foul quickly. 

So Sugar built a roof. 

Mr. Friendly takes a bath

He used the same board system as the platform. I had a piece of metal roofing that a cat lady friend gave me years ago. It proved to be the answer to protect the feeder from rain. It was about 33″ wide so it didn’t completely cover the platform. Sugar pushed it to one side against the tree trunk which left about 10″ open to the platform below. The cats thought they had a hatch to the penthouse. 

Friendly went all the way to the end and lounged there. He is basically cantilevered over open space. 

Then he went to the other side and did the same thing. 

We considered putting the roof on at a slant for rain runoff. Now we’re glad we didn’t since the cats like the sun deck effect. 

I don’t have a problem with intruders. Anyone can see the property is protected by C. A. T. Surveillance. Lots of people are afraid of cats, and seeing one 8′ in the air over your head would give one pause. 

I think a “Beware of Cat! Owner is also Sketchy” sign would add to the fun. 


Of Cats and Raccoons

June 25, 2017


A while back, Sugar installed a feeding shelf for the two girl cats at work. We thought that it would make an excellent feeding station or perch or safe place for them. Mostly, we were worried that it was a long time from when I fed them on a Friday evening until I returned on a Monday morning, and we knew that ants would get in the food.

We had a plan to put yummy canned food on the shelf to lure them up and to show them that the shelf as a good thing. They refused.

Sugar had a further great plan with which I disagreed.

He went to PetSmart and bought a self-feeder. I use the very same feeding system at every cat station I’ve ever made, but these girls were different and difficult. I didn’t think they would get on the shelf and that the raccoons would drag the feeder off. If they won’t use the feeding shelf for canned food, they are just not going to use it for dry.

Sugar:  I got a feeder for the girls.

YoursTruly:  They’re not going to use it.

Sugar:  But I bought it for them.

YoursTruly:  Take it back.

Sugar:  But I made a special trip to PetSmart, and it cost $21.

YoursTruly:  They are not going to use it. Get your money back.

Sugar:  But I got the special smaller size to fit on the shelf. There was a larger one for only a few dollars more, but I got this one because it’s the right size, even though it cost $21, and I’m not planning another trip to PetSmart.

YoursTruly:  Then I’ll take it back. Do you have the receipt?

Sugar: I really want them to use it.

YoursTruly:  The raccoons dragged off the other bowls I put on the shelf, and they’ll drag the whole frickin’ feeder off into the canal.

Sugar:  (silence)

YoursTruly:  ALRIGHT! Give me the damn feeder.

I set up the precious little self-feeder on the shelf on a Friday evening. When I returned on Monday morning, the feeder was in two pieces off in the nearby canal in the woods.

The next week, Sugar removed the shelf, and I went back to feeding them in containers on the ground.

Then I tried feeding them extra heavily in the evening.  Keep in mind that I also feed them at breakfast and lunch.

Then one evening I fed the girls, and sat in the car while I checked my messages on the iPhone, skimmed over FaceBook, and glanced at the email. When I looked up, the girls were no longer at their bowl. They were lying in the grass in front of my car, lounging and looking at the woods.

I cannot win this game. I have been out-smarted.

Treehouse Update

May 29, 2017

Yeah. They refuse to use. 

I’ve never met a cat, much less two, that refused to jump up to a shelf to get canned food…

These girls are a challenge. 

Another Treehouse

May 21, 2017

Sugar decided to make another cat perch for the cats that live in the woods next to where I work. 

I’ve been approached two times in the past week by interested people who have seen the cats hanging around in the morning waiting to be fed. No one had a problem with it, and they were surprised that I had trapped them for spaying and vaccinations. Apparently ordinary people don’t realize that other ordinary people can be agents for change. 

Like Sugar is an agent for change. 

He brought two different boards to choose from. 

Next he checked the brackets that he mounted directly onto the tree trunks. 

He screwed the bigger board to the brackets, and, quick as you please, he’s done. 

Little Miss Sassy Pants and her sister stayed well away. The sister is so far away that I couldn’t get a clear photo, even with the zoom lens. 

The platform is big enough for an ant deterrent system, which consists of a large shallow bowl of water with a smaller bowl of food set into it. The water creates a barrier that the ants can’t cross. 

We’ll see tomorrow if the system worked. 

The Welcoming Committee

April 21, 2017

The two feral girls that I trapped, neutered, and released a month ago have finally shown themselves. 

Apparently I move too slowly for them. 


Cats in the Pines: Sugar Makes a Space Station

February 25, 2017

I have been wanting another cat feeding station. The old one in the woods has become dilapidated, almost beyond repair, but more importantly, the wild cats have decided to come inside the fencing and eat at the feeding station on the picnic table. 

Several of the cats have taken to living in the woods next to the driveway. Since I’m feeding cats there now anyway, a feeding platform would be handy. I imagined if I had a platform between two of the pines, then the food and cats wouldn’t be as exposed to ants and stray dogs. 

I explained my plan to Sugar. 

I was driving along one day when I saw a children’s play set, the kind with the ladder to the slide, and the horizontal ladder for children to go across hand over hand. 

What about a horizontal ladder structure connecting the two pines?

I explained I need a ladder between the two pines. He thought I meant a ladder from the ground to a tree. It was getting frustrating: me explaining and him not getting it. The word “ladder” was throwing him off. 

So I drew my example. 

He contrived a ladder from some old 2 x 4s that he split lengthwise. 

A Chinese Fringe shrub provided local color. 

He added a piece of plywood for the dining surface. 

Suddenly it is finished. The Butter demonstrates that form follows function. 

The Butter has some neurological problems which cause him to have a head tilt and a stare that is a bit unordinary. 

The new station is too high for dogs but not for cats. This does not discount a clever, hungry dog. 

Mr. Friendly demonstrates that canned food is welcome here. We will probably add some side rails to keep the dishes from being pushed off. You can see that we have already removed the metal bowl in favor of a dish with a flatter, heavier base. 

In other news, I am worried that I might have a marauding owl. Before the station was built, one morning during the dawn hours, I found Wendy deceased on the driveway. I had arrived home the night before that in the dark, and I fed her by the gate as usual. When I found her body the next morning, some bird high in the trees was screaming at me. Apparently I disturbed his actions. He was very angry at me, and I messaged my cousin the birder scientist. It’s possible that it was a hawk, and I learned the word “crepuscular”. 

Sugar buried her for me where she lived in the woods by the driveway. 

Cats like vertical spaces, and I’m hoping the new space station will give them safer options. 

The Cat on the Picnic Table

June 2, 2016

A new cat was lounging on the picnic table a few weeks ago. I had seen him at a distance before, but on this particular evening, he had made himself at home on the picnic table feeding station. 

When I got a little closer, I saw that where his right eye should have been, there was nothing but a squinted-closed eye. And a little closer, it looked like maybe his eye had been damaged or was missing. There was a dark spot where his eye should have been. No blood, but no eye, either. 

He didn’t bolt away when he saw me, so that was an improvement. Before, he had kept himself protected from my view by keeping barriers between himself and me, like hiding behind trees or staying outside the fence. 


Today, during the evening time when the air is cooling down and the mosquitoes are out, he was lying flat on his side on top of the table. I hoped he wasn’t dead. I approached the table from behind him, and chirruped a welcome. He raised his head, looked at me and meowed. Then he stood up and walked toward me, still on the picnic table, and raised his tail in the air. If you have spent time with cats, or read this blog for more than 15 minutes, you’ll know that a tail in the air is a good thing. 

He let me scritch the top of his head. I opened a large can of food for him, and while he ate, I was able to scritch him on the back. I was able to confirm that he was a boy. His head, face, and shoulders were covered with wounds and scars, old and new. That eye was missing, but I couldn’t be sure if it was because of a wound or a birth defect. 

I supposed that he would become the third one-eyed cat here at the Swamped! Plantation and Cat-Scritching Facility. 

Next stop: catching and testing. Please let him be negative. 

Kittens of Spring

March 23, 2016

It’s too cold for kittens. We had a cold snap a few nights ago. 

A woman called me because she was monitoring a nest of kittens born to a feral mother, and suddenly, the morning after the cold night, the kits weren’t moving. 

They were basically so cold that the thermometer could not get a reading. Today, they are on soft bedding in a crate on a heating pad. They have been fed and rehydrated and dewormed and de-fleaed. Which is not a word except in my world. 

If you would like to donate a dollar or two, there’s a “Hep a Kitten Out” button on the main page. 

Or just send happy thoughts our way!

Here a Kit, There a Kit, Everywhere a Kit Kit

December 7, 2015

Sometimes I write about dead people and the convoluted connections. It looks like cats are becoming convoluted, too.

Back in the spring I got a text from someone asking if I could go to the Wendy’s and pick up a cat in the parking lot. It seemed that a nice cat was living there.

Now, the best place for a cat is not a parking lot of a fast-food place. I can understand that cats like the dumpster scenario, because once I took in 3 cats from a McDonald’s that were feeding from the dumpsters.

I drove on over but never saw the cat. I would have thought that someone was pulling my leg, except the report, along with a photo, came from a reputable person. I parked and got out and walked the entire place, even checking out the Burger King next door and the gas station past that.


I never saw a cat around. It was like an urban legend.

Three weeks ago I saw the cat.

I was pulling into the Wendy’s, and there he was brushing up against a van, oblivious to the traffic. I just so happened to have canned food and a trap in the car. There was nowhere to park, when a spot opened magically as if on cue when a car backed out in front of me, three spaces away from the cat.

I popped a can, walked up to him, put the can on the ground and wiggled my fingers at him. He didn’t make a move, so I tickled the top of his head and a ruffed him hard.

He went limp, as limp as death, and I walked back to my car with an open can of cat food in one hand and a swinging limp cat in the other.

Somehow I managed to open the hatch and open the trap and stuff him in. I didn’t dare look at the restaurant because I want to make eye contact with any patrons who might be staring out the window, mouthing Killer Catcatching Crazy.

The cat was not happy about being in the trap, but I drove on through the drive-thru ’cause a girl’s gotta eat.

Back at work, we made a plan to fix him.

Really, it was too late in the day to add on another surgery, so we made a plan for the relief vet to surgically alter the kit on the following day.


The next day, the relief vet took one look and said…

She’s a Cali-point. Like a Siamese is a seal-point, this little mix is part-Siamese, part-alley at, the second part being calico which is generally a female.

After surgery, I took her home to recuperate. After a week, I released her, not sure if I’d see her again. After all, most releases I never see again or only from a distance. Maybe she’d head back to the Wendy’s.

Nope. She lives here now.

Because Cats

December 1, 2015

Miss Ella lives in a double-wide that I pass on my way out to civilization from my ‘hood. The trailer belonged to her Uncle John, and he left it to her when he died. 

Miss Ella doesn’t have a car, and so there’s an accumulation of trash and garbage at the tree line at the edge of her lot.  I thought I saw a cat there one day. 

Then I thought I saw another cat. Then I saw a kitten. Then I saw several kittens playing in her yard, as bold as anything. 

I don’t like to think that I’ll be driving along one day and find a run-over kitten in the road. That thought makes me cringe. Maybe you cringed, too. 

This means I have to do something, so I talked to her about TNR. She was agreeable to let me trap, have them fixed, then return them, even though she’s afraid of cats, because one tried to “steal her breath” when she was 11 or 12. 

It was very hard for me not to roll my eyes right about here, because she was absolutely serious. I think my eyes widened in disbelief, but did not roll out of my head. 

First round of TNR yielded nothing. I set up a trap by the garbage. Several cats went in and out and managed to spring the trap but not get caught. I didn’t have a towel in the car. to cover the trap, so I used a broken-down box from a 24-count box of 9Lives canned cat food. 

I spotted about 8 cats and kittens in and around the woods. 

The next attempt involved setting two traps since the numbers were higher than expected and called for the big guns. I trapped 2 females, probably about 5 or 6 months old. 

I set the traps again the following week. 

I earned two kittens, one female weighing 1.8 pounds and one male weighing 2.4 pounds, probably from the same little and looking suspiciously like the black and white male I tried to trap last summer. 

After surgery and during recovery, I sat with the female, who might only be 7 weeks old, to see if a little handling while she was highly medicated could imprint upon her that hands were good, not bad. Sometimes the window of opportunity for taming a cat is small, and sometimes even a big window is useless. It’s 

a big mix of nature vs. nurture. 

 And a few days later…

We photobomb ourselves.

I give myself a birthday present.