Animal shelters in the city do great work, taking in abandoned cats and dogs. In my city there's an underclass of feral cats, often living on wasteland at the edge of the suburbs.
I've even made my own small, though thankfully neutered, contribution! Sifter!
Rescued Grey Kitten
My big tabby cat, prophetically called Sifter, finally went feral after spending over four happy years as a house cat here at Mooseys. He started disappearing for days, then for weeks at a time.
His final visit was to the Moosey kitchen one dark December night. He gobbled down a meal of fresh meat, growled and spat, and exited in a furious furry flash through the window - never to be seen again!
Cat Woman - aka Judith
It's definitely time I did some feral cat penance! So I'd like to pay tribute to a very special Cat-Woman - my friend Judith.
But you won't ever find her in sexy black leather, and she definitely won't be carrying a large black whip - more likely cartons of cat-food tins and trays of fresh chicken wings. She doesn't get much fan mail, either - only vet's bills!
The Cat Colony
From her suburban house Judith runs a one-woman cat-operation - it's a drop-in-centre, and a meals-on-wheels service for the local stray cats and kittens. When the Moosey family decided to get some new Christmas kittens, I went straight to her, and came home with B-Puss and Fluff-Fluff. She'd rescued both from the paddock where her 'colony' lives.
Every afternoon she puts on the silliest cat T-shirt, gets the day's food out of her fridge, and goes to feed the cats. Last week I accompanied her.
As we drove slowly down the cat-road, furry felines popped up out of the two hedges, while kittens of all colours and ages bounced along the long grass following her car.
The cat-meals were set out in three safe feeding places deep in the hedges, and soon over a dozen cats and kittens were peacefully chomping. In the middle of summer it looked like a comfortable, dry living space - but what a hard life it would be in the depths of winter!
Great excitement! I 'met' - well, I spotted, and tried to photograph - the mother of my beautiful B-Puss. And I saw the very spot where little Fluff-Fluff was found abandoned, wet and shivering.
Wild Grey Kitten
Catching the Kittens
Judith's been feeding the cat-colony for over three years now - that's thousands of pots of fresh cat food (chicken mince and steak'n'kidney). The adult females are quite relaxed, but they keep their distance.
Whenever possible she catches the kittens and takes them home. They're vet-checked and socialised in Judith's house, with toys, cat-beds, and lots of gentle handling. Good homes will eventually be found for some, while others just stay on!
Occasionally the rescue is quite serious. Just this Christmas a truck driver brought her a box full of the tiniest week-old kittens - they'd been found in the rubbish pit at the end of the road. There was much intensive bottle feeding in Judith's house for the next month!
Feral Ginger Cat
Two of these kittens have now started their new life at a friend's house. Dear Tommie and Tippie, two of the lucky ones, growing into fine, loving, gentle cats.
Unfortunately the Moosey house hasn't got any vacancies at the moment - six cats is enough. But let's think again about B-Puss and Fluff-Fluff. What would they both be now, without Judith's help? Rangy, scruffy toms, fighting and scrapping...
Thank You, Cat-Woman!
Whereas they're two of the gentlest, most companionable gardening cats in the whole feline world. Thanks, Judith, for your small, constant contribution. You're better than Cat-Woman!
The Moosey Team are going to sponsor a part of Judith's one-woman rescue business. We're getting her a special trapping cage, and hope to sponsor the next rescued kitten. We'll help with food and vet bills.
Rescued - Mini-Mee, Tommie and Tippie, and Friends
It's a small contribution, but little things can make big differences!