I’m helping feed a friend’s feral colony while she’s on vacation, and I get the evening shift. And, of course, any cat who I feed has to work for its meal—by being a model! I don’t think they mind at all, except Spider, seen above and also below. He’s a tall and gangly, slender tabby as befits his name. I could pet Spider this year, and it’s never a surprise to see how feral cats will warm up to people after they’ve been spayed and neutered. He escorted me around and kept an eye on my activities. Here he is below, saying, “Hey lady, can you just put that thing away and feed us our dinner?” Love his spots!
I hadn’t planned to photograph them, but they were so beautiful as they all gathered for dinner. I find any cats hard to resist photographing, no matter where I see them, but this was just too much. I used my cell phone the first and second night to send a report back to their person, and after visualizing all the really nice photos I could get, I gave in and brought my DLSR the next night. I showed up a little early hoping they’d be hanging out when the light was better, and hopefully the evening storm would be late. But they fooled me, no one was there! I fed her inside cats first and cleaned the boxes, and by then they were starting to collect. I went outside to pick up their dishes and snapped them as I went.
We began TNRing these cats in 2015 and through 2016 all were done but a few stragglers. There were a few moms who would not be trapped, but we trapped them after they had their kittens who were fostered and adopted, and a few others were too friendly to be returned, or were sick and were friendly in treatment, so they were also adopted out. We’ve picked off a few new ones as they show up, and most are returned to live outside. Chessie, below, was being fed about a block away and when the person moved we all urged him over to this colony to ensure he’d be fed.
I fed them last year too, and they weren’t too happy with me or the other person who was feeding them, and went off to eat at other feeders’ stations. Several people feed daily on the hill, and others put out food when a cat shows up. Makes trapping really tricky, but at least they are all well fed and supervised by several people. The other feeder and I agree they are much friendlier this year and we both got to pet a few of them.
Not all are feral, but we don’t always know their stories. Beautiful Smokey is VERY well fed, but covered with mats. With all that fur we can’t tell if this cat is male or female, but we’ve never seen any kittens or male cat activity, so we figured this cat is fixed and call Smokey a he. But he is, as usual, saying, “My bowl…is…empty.”
MooMoo thinks I’m stalking him.
There are many more, and it’s my goal to get them all!
Do they look any different from cats who live indoors with us? No. It just so happens they didn’t grow up with humans and aren’t used to our weird ways. But inside they are the same domestic cat as any other. And just as inspiring.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
The beans are growing, the geraniums are blooming, the sun is bright and hot, and I remember a certain sweet gray kitty who spent every available moment on the brick patio next to my garden, summer and winter, and each time I look at the florid overgrowth out there I remember how Moses enjoyed the little brick patio. Other kitties would come and go during the day as the heat and their interest waned, but Moses was serious about her outdoor time. Read more and purchase.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!
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