Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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People Who Step Up to Help Feral Cats

black cat on steps
Yin is looking for a home.

A friend and her neighbors have been working with a tortie Mama Kitty who appeared in their neighborhood and gave birth to two black kittens, one of whom appears above. By the time everyone was aware neither she nor the kittens belonged to anyone in the neighborhood, the two black kittens were about three months old and kind of skittish, and mama was apparently already expecting more kittens. Lo and behold, shortly thereafter, she gave birth to four kittens, three solid black, at least for now, and one solid orange.

A feral colony was forming…

Without any intervention, this situation would have developed into a larger colony of stray and feral cats. Within three months, there was not one but seven cats. Given a few more months next spring there would be at least a dozen, and next summer even more. All from one unspayed female cat, and at least one unseen but quite present unneutered male cat.

tortie kitty
Mama Kitty with second litter on the way.

How did it all begin? Did the tortie cat decide to come and live there by choice? She was (and still is) far too friendly to have been a feral cat herself. She may have been one of the many unspayed females who go into heat and manage to get out the door but are never found, ending up living on the streets. It is just as likely she was left behind by someone who moved, or she was discovered to be pregnant and dumped outside to fend for herself.

In any of the possibilities above, it was the actions of humans that set the stage for the situation—if tortie mama had been spayed before she went into heat she probably wouldn’t have escaped, if she had escaped she would have been unable to reproduce, if someone had neutered their male cat or cats who fathered the kittens there would have been no kittens, and no cat who loved her home would have left it to go live outside permanently, the actions of a person put her there.

And yet she and her progeny would pay the price for people who didn’t want them there.

What would become of this colony? In many places they’d be considered vermin and rounded up and killed—after the environmental factors of weather and wild animals and dogs and kids with BB guns had their chance.

tortoiseshell cat nursing kittens
Mama Kitty with her new kittens.

…until compassionate people took action

Instead several people looked for an owner and, finding none, befriended the mama kitty and her two black kittens, and then took her in to foster before she gave birth. The kittens are being raised in the house and she and her older kittens will all be spayed and neutered and hopefully adopted; if not they will be cared for on someone’s front porch as are a few other cats in the neighborhood.

In addition, Mama Kitty and the kittens have all been to the vet for shots and the kittens have been microchipped. This is all paid for by the people who have taken the cats in and pledged to care for them.

The person who first contacted me when she found these cats was Peg, who had rescued crusty unneutered male cat Skeeter earlier this year, took him to care for his injuries though unfortunately he did not survive. She and others also have feeding stations on their porches for the other strays and ferals, not unusual in a neighborhood with a good many rental properties with high turnover.

Celebrate feral cats and the people who care for them

This is one small example, and without the drama of many cat rescues. But where the actions of one person started the chain of events which would lead to a situation where the cats would suffer for something they didn’t do, other people stepped in and stopped the process. In other places people care for many cats, rescues can be harrowing with life-threatening injuries and expensive veterinary care.

In a perfect world, every cat has a home, even a feral cat, even if it’s someone’s front porch.

tortie cat
Mama Kitty on her leash.

Mama Kitty and the “teenagers”

As you can see Mama Kitty is quite friendly and oriented to people, and even walks on a leash. She is semi-long-haired with a fluffy tail, though she may grow a longer coat all over as the weather grows colder and as she gets older.

The neighbors will be trapping the identical “teenagers” from the first litter, Yin and Yang, to be spay/neutered and hopefully adopted, hopefully together. Yin, pictured above, is the friendlier of the two and definitely female since she has allowed an exam; Yang is still somewhat uncertain about humans so it’s hard to determine gender.

Mama Kitty will be spayed as soon as she can be taken from her kittens, and then her kittens spay/neutered as well. If they are not adopted they will be returned to the neighborhood and cared for outdoors by the neighbors. If you are interested in adopting any of them please contact me and I’ll put you in touch with the people who are taking care of them all.

litter of kittens
The Kittens.

The kittens

The three black kittens are all girls. The orange kitten is already a “failed foster”–he and foster mom have already bonded; there are already two adult cats in the house as well.

These kittens are about five weeks old won’t be ready for adoption until early to mid-November, but if you are interested, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with their caretakers.

sleepy kitten
Sleepy black kitten.

Photos are provided by the rescuers.

As a footnote from me, not that all black cats look the same, but the black kitty at the very top sitting on the steps may have a somewhat familiar look about him. Mimi, back in the day, sought out the unneutered male cats, but only the black ones; nearly all her kittens were solid black or with just a spot of white. That ended five years ago, but no doubt those male cats had dalliances with other cats about the neighborhood, and I know that more than Mimi’s kittens were born, some ending up on the street. It’s interesting to think how the genetics are spread around.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile 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.


From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

15 thoughts on “People Who Step Up to Help Feral Cats

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  • Wonderful article Bernadette, thank you! Just wanted to share the good news with everyone that two of the small black kittens have found a furr-ever home. The rescuer will be keeping the orange kitten, so at this point we just need homes for Mama Cat (now named “Houdini” for her ability to get in and out of places), Miss Yin, and one more of the small black kittens. Anyone else looking for a bundle of purring love? <3

    • Peg, that’s wonderful! Does that mean Yang, the other older black kitten, has a home? Or are they still a pair?

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  • Excellent post, Bernadette, and yes, it does all fall on the humans. Cats do not have the capability to get themselves spayed and neutered. We have to do it for them and and when we don’t, there are consequences, yet we continue to moan and complain and blame the cats. Thank goodness for the kindness of people such as yourself and your neighbor. We must continue to be dilligent in our efforts to educate and we need more than one special day to make the happen, but it is great to see how many people stepped up to the plate with some excellent posts!!

    Blessings to all who help make a difference for the ferals…

    • Deb, thanks for visiting. You’ve done quite a bit for stray and feral cats too, not just in Florida but around the country. It was indeed good to read so many posts approving of this sort of thing. I recently got beat up with a post on another site that was about backyard wildlife habitats and nearly all the comments were from people who had problems with outdoor cats, very disheartening. We really just have to keep on telling people it’s the right thing to do.

  • THANK YOU and your friends/neighbors for helping this family. For every person that turns a blind eye, there are people like you that stand up and do the right thing. We hope the tinies find homes and that mom and the teenagers come around a little to find homes as well. If not, it is wonderful that they will be cared for.

    • Thanks for visiting, Random Felines. I’ve been watching the mamma cat and kittens on your site and I have to say all those spots are too cute when they are all together.


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