It started about three years ago with a tomcat who showed up at our house.
We thought at the time he was a stray and we named him Eddie Vedder. He showed up like clockwork every day. Usually at the front door. He'd proceed to walk his little (or not so little) rear end right in the front door through the house and out the back door to eat. In time, we found out that he actually belonged to one of our neighbors. By then, he refused to go home. Unfortunately, by then, he didn't want to go home anymore. He stuck around our house, at least as much as any tomcat will.
Eddie was all man. He'd fight his own shadow. Beat up any cat that came around what he considered his territory. He also brought his girlfriends here. The stuck around and started what I call the "Eddie Dynasty". Over the years I fed upwards of thirty and forty cats on my deck. I watched them come and go, live and yes, die. I've got more cats buried in my backyard that any person should have. They all have little slate markers and I remember every one of them.
Everyone told me I had to get them spayed and neutered. That would have been a great idea if I could have caught them. Ever tried to catch a feral cat? Yeah, not easy. I had no money to buy traps, and everyone who promised to let me borrow theirs ended up letting me down. I either didn't hear back from them or the traps were in use by someone else, or something. Then there was Eddie. Can you take someone else's cat in to get it altered? I wasn't sure.
In the end, I made a decision. I stopped feeding them outside and opened the door so if they wanted to eat, they had to come in to do it. I figured if I could make sure the kittens were born inside, I could socialize them so they'd be adoptable.
On March 28th, KJ or Mama K, had four little gray babies. Baby, Jacks, Grayson and Noms.
On April 2, Muffin had four more. Gizmo, the Dumplin Twins, and Fussy.
On April 18th, Deceptikitten had her four. Kadie, TK, Slippers and Annabelle.
On April 20th, Juliet had hers. Three that were stillborn and three more. Molly, Lady and Lucy.
We watched them grow and finally got it worked out so all the Moms except KJ were spayed.
Surprise of all surprises, KJ got pregnant again.
On August 15th, KJ had Toby, Ike, Tigger, Puddin and George W.
On August 18th, Optikitten had Winston, Charlotte and Campbell.
Are you doing the math yet?
|Playing with the laser pointer.|
That's 28 just mamas and babies.
Then there are our four, Boo Boo, Leeloo, Kameko and Cajun Tuscaloosa.
Then there's Tango and Oreo, two of Muffin's litter from last year that we're keeping in the house most of the time.
Brings the total up to 34. In our house. Eating. Pooping. Shedding.
Did I mention I'm allergic to cats? Yeeeeah, fortunately it seems "immersion therapy" works wonders for allergies. If you live through the immersion phase.
|Fussy taking a bath|
This past year has been insane. I kept trying to find homes for them, called rescue organization after rescue organization but couldn't stand the thought of these little ones who have grown up with so much love and attention relegated to a three by three cage until someone fell in love with them. In spite of everyone in our house coming close to losing our minds, I wasn't willing to let them go to shelters. Plus, it actually costs money to surrender your animals. Money I didn't have.
Finally at the end of my rope, I started a Facebook page.
Mama Kittys Rescue Mission.
Unfortunately, we lost Noms and Annabelle. Noms was apparently damaged during birth. He had neurological issues and in a terrifying and heartbreaking visit to the vet, he was put down. I won't go into that because the vet was just horrible and the entire ordeal was too awful to relive, even in writing.
We're still not sure what happened with Annabelle, but she passed before we even had a chance to get her to the vet.
On the plus side, since the Facebook page, we've had some luck finding great homes for some of the babies.
Lucy was adopted first.
Then I found a great lady who volunteered to foster some for me while she helped me find homes for them.
She took Deceptikitten, and KJ's last litter. They ended up keeping Winston and finding homes for Charlotte and Campbell. She then took Baby and Slippers who are still waiting for homes.
My Mom took Kadie, and then for Christmas, we gave her Puddin.
|Puddin and George W. Republicat|
Since then, we've found homes for George W., Ike, Toby, and Fussy.
Another lady is coming to see Tigger tomorrow.
At the moment, I'll be honest, I've lost count of how many cats are in my house. I know them all, love them all, most of them stay inside all the time and have never even been outdoors. I've managed to get all of them spayed and or neutered except a couple of the females I'm still waiting for appointments for. No one can get pregnant anymore though. The girls who are still waiting are all in the house and there's no one in the house who can knock them up. It's coming to an end at last.
|Fussy loving on her brother|
There are some I'm not sure about. Jacks and Grayson don't love anyone but me. They run when people come to look at them, so they're going to be hard sells. Lady is the same way. She's gorgeous, but impossible for most people to fall in love with because she "seems" completely anti-social.
When I sleep every night, I sleep surrounded by little furry bodies. Usually six or seven curled up down my side and legs. They're hot. Like little furnaces and I'm having hot flashes. Good thing I have a sleeping disorder and can sleep through most anything or I'd never get any sleep at all. It's a good feeling though.
Knowing that you saved the lives of that many little ones. Even if I'm still taking care of them, and even if they never get adopted, I'm okay with that. I'd like to get back down to a manageable number of animals in my house. They make cleaning difficult to say the least. I've got enough cat hair in my house to collect and make about ten new cats. They turn things over, break things, pull things down, but amazing they never bothered my Christmas tree. They're good babies. For the most part.
|Winston, Charlotte and Campbell|
I've been reported to Animal Control. The officer came in and was amazed at how clean my house was. How well cared for the cats were. How fat they all were. The fact that they'd all either been altered or had appointments to be. That they all had rabies shots. That they were all using litterboxes and that the litterbox area was clean.
The part that kills me is that if only our neighbor had taken his cat to be neutered, none of this would have happened. In three years, ONE unaltered male has created over 100 kittens. I ended up taking Eddie to be neutered. He wasn't happy with me. He's happy now though. I thought he'd disappeared afterwards, but yesterday he showed up out of the blue. Fat, happy and healthy. For Eddie, that's something. He was usually beat up, bleeding, limping or something from fighting. Since he's been fixed, he's not fighting as much. He looks great.
I guess I could go on forever, but I'll cut it short here. With a plea to everyone who reads this blog.
Spay and neuter your pets.
You may say that you found homes for your kittens or puppies or what have you, but those homes are homes that other animals could have had. Animals who could be euthanized if they don't get adopted. Help stop the insanity. Be a responsible pet owner. Animals who are altered live healthier, happier lives and usually make much better pets. It stops the male urge to roam and fight, and reduces the females liklihood of getting ovarian cancer.
There are low cost and even free clinics to facilitate spaying and neutering, and traps are available at most supply stores for a minimal cost. If you're willing to put in the work, you can usually find organizations who loan them out. You just have to work, because most of the people who staff places like that are volunteers, so sometimes the customer service isn't what you'd expect. Just keep at it, and be responsible with your pets.