Last Saturday I had another farm field trip when I delivered four more feral/unsocialized cats to my friend Birgitta’s farm. Traveling with me was Mary Beth who had rescued Sylva, Jack and Diane‘s mom. She had wanted to see Sylva again and see the farm and help where she could; the cats I’d taken in March had been installed in the basement because of weather so we’d also be moving some or all to the barn. I was glad for a co-pilot and traveling companion. The trip is about 90 miles one way, but Saturday was one of those rare perfect days where the sky was clear blue, the air was clear to the horizon, the sun shone but the temperature was just right, it couldn’t have been a better day to travel.
The kitties who went with us this time were Sierra, Rylan and Cherokee, and Red, and while they didn’t all come from a colony as strays or ferals, they did all hit a point with socialization where it was deemed more appropriate for them to move to a barn home.
Kitties are always so good in the car, no one ever makes a peep. We set them up in the house in their cages like the others to assess who is friendly enough to wander in the house instead of going to the barn, and possibly even socialize enough to be adopted. Two of the prior deliveries are in the house now and slowly socializing, Zen and Sylva. Inside the house is kind of like kitty heaven because Birgitta is a fiber artist and there are stacks of fabrics and fleeces and spools of weaving yarn and homemade rag rugs and knitted things for kitties to safely enjoy. Sylva, the gray and white kitty in the photo below, was in the basement when we arrived. By the way she reacted to Mary Beth’s voice, nearly emerging from her hiding place, making direct eye contact and remaining there for the most part, I have no doubt she recognized and remembered Mary Beth.
Zen is a little black kitty from Jefferson Hills and we expected him to socialize with time, but Sylva is from North Park and seemed totally feral. Mary Beth had been feeding her for a year and trapped her kittens and her, and I would swear Sylva recognized her voice.
In March I’d taken a tabby feral former mom cat who Margo had trapped in a bar parking lot in Bridgeville with two kittens. One of the kittens socialized and was adopted, but Sierra, though she’d been fostered with several good fosters, just wouldn’t make it past a certain point and was not what you’d consider adoptable, so she went out to join the colony and to see if she and her mom might become reacquainted. Birgitta had named her mother Tabetha. Here she was in March at Margo’s house.
And here was was at Birgitta’s house.
Pretty timid, possibly too timid to move to the barn just yet. But when we moved her daughter into the cage next door she eventually came out of her cubby and settled by the end of her cage and watched her daughter.
Sierra came out of her carrier in the cage right away and settled in her litterbox to watch what was happening before we covered her. I could pet her and she seemed relaxed enough for a strange new place. Tabetha has just been kind of frightened and rolled up in one of her pyramids so we weren’t sure what would happen with her. We didn’t want to put a fearful cat in the barn and she didn’t want to come out of her cage. But she was curious when we settled Sierra next to her and Birgitta messaged after I left that she had walked over to the end of her cage to sniff at Sierra and is very interested. Maybe that’s all the two of them wanted was to be together. To be continued.
Rylan and Cherokee had been taken to Beaver County Humane Society after their owner had died. They were three and five years old, both spayed and neutered, but they really didn’t adjust to the shelter and could not be put up for adoption. Both were sent to HCMT/Pittsburgh C.A.T. for socialization and adoption, if that was possible, and if not, then a home that was appropriate for them. They had been fostered with several people, and finally Rylan was beginning to emerge out of the cage, but mostly they stayed in it, and even stayed curled up together in one cube-shaped cubby.
Rylan and Cherokee stayed in their cube, but they did move around and change places at least. No hisses or fearful expressions, I touched both of their noses. They ate overnight. Birgitta will open their cage door in a few days to see if Rylan wants to explore that section of the basement. We’ll see what happens with them.
Red is a senior cat from a colony in Bridgeville that had been cared for in a person’s back yard for a decade but had to be moved for a neighbor complaint, even though the cats rarely left their yard. She had originally been moved to a barn that was a pretty busy place, so she came out there for some peace and quiet.
She seemed very comfortable in her cage. She came out of her carrier right away and walked around, allowed petting, and settled in the box I put in there with her blanket because the carrier was a little too big to fit everything. Since she’s older and somewhat deaf with ear polyps we hope she’ll want to stay inside.
Of the last group, Sebastian and Jasmine are from the colony in Jefferson Hills that had to be moved who I took there in March. Sebastian is pretty calm and friendly enough and likes to explore, but Jasmine wants nothing to do with people. These two were very attached to each other before they moved so we kept them together hoping Sebastian would be a positive influence on Jasmine, but that doesn’t seem to be working. Right now Sebastian has roaming privileges but Jasmine does not leave her cage. We aren’t sure what to do with them, but perhaps Jasmine will find a safe place where she and Sebastian can cuddle. We may move them to the barn and leave a cage there and see how that works.
Oscar was the only cat of the last group to move to the barn. Oscar was rescued as an adult with an attitude that made him unadoptable. After exams and medical attention and several attempts at fostering made no difference, he still has this option, and so far he seems to like it better than any others. Birgitta loves his cattitude. He was curious and a little fearful at first, but a few minutes after we settled him in place he was crunching on his dry food as if he’d been there all his life. Several other barns are nearby and all the neighbors take in cats who show up from being dumped off. His cage is in a stall with a hospice goat who was keeping him company and a hen sitting on a nest of eggs in the corner. We think he’s found his happy place.
It’s good to know all these kitties are safe and have a chance to live in whatever way is comfortable for their level of socialization.
I also have photos of the other cats and dogs and farm animals who live there in my daily photo post.
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HCMT/Pittsburgh C.A.T. 2017 Calendar from Portraits of Animals!
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Each month features a cat and its story who we rescued through TNR or rescue from abandonment, neglect or abuse, offered medical treatment, fostering, socialization, and a loving forever home that met their individual needs.
In addition, each month is sponsored with an ad from veterinarians, businesses and individuals who support HCMT and Pittsburgh C.A.T., including five of the veterinarians who regularly take a shift at our clinics to spay and neuter plus pet sitting and pet first aid training so you have ready resources for services you and your pets can use right at your fingertips.
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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!