This particular black cat showed up at Denise’s colony early last year. Denise named him Ebby and found he was not feral. He was intact and there were occasional conflicts, but overall he’s been a nice boy all this time. He visits my yard fairly frequently and of course, I have lots of photos, so enjoy them and his story!
Trapping among Denise’s colony can be tricky because her cats tend to stay around her house, and trying to trap just the one you want is nearly impossible. But knowing Ebby was a friendly cat and could easily be adopted, we also wanted to find a foster for him so he could go from his neuter to a foster home. We didn’t manage to find a foster so we finally had Ebby neutered at the end of December last year. But we haven’t given up the hope of finding Ebby his own forever home.
We never found where he came from. He was a young adult when he showed up last year, probably 18 months to two years old. He was a little skittish, but warmed up to Denise really well. By the time I came along to feed her cats when they were away last summer he was somewhat less skittish, but quickly grew accustomed to me walking around and feeding up there.
Along with most of our other community cats, he showed up here now and then to sample Mimi’s catnip, but since his neuter he’s been here quite often, hanging out on the porch and even coming up to the door when he sees me or one of her others. Mariposa is no happy about this. “There’s going to be only ONE eartipped cat in this house, buster!”
Now and then he’s been out in the yard when Mimi and I go outside. As we’ve seen in other instances, Mimi will chase other cats out of her yard. But I guess he sufficiently keeps his distance as Mimi paces at the edge of the porch and watches him down by the driveway while I try to redirect her interest and bring her indoors.
And I get to photograph him while he’s here. He’s accustomed to that from me photographing up at Denise’s house, and I guess he’s gotten used to it.
If we can get him into foster and see how he reacts, he could be surrendered to the shelter to continue his journey of finding a home. Hopefully, that will happen. But until then he’s got a home among us here.
But I’m telling you, there’s not room in the black cat clowder here no matter how many times he tries to convince me he’s one of them! People look at my household and think I collect black cats, but you can see it’s the other way around—somehow they always find me.
Helping cats this way
TNR does stand for “trap, neuter, return”, but studies of stray and feral cat management as far back as 1993 conclude that TNR alone is not an effective way to reduce cat populations. Studies published in 2002 and 2003 and later report the results of studies beginning as early as 1991 that incorporated the removal of kittens and any cat considered adoptable. They showed that the population of even a large colony could be reduced by half or more within a year or two of beginning a monthly trapping and neutering program, and thereafter diligently keeping up with any new cats who showed up as part of the colony. (Julie K. Levy, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; David W. Gale; Leslie A. Gale, BS, 2003. Evaluation of the effect of a long-term trap-neuter-return and adoption program on a free-roaming cat population: https://www.avma.org/News/Journals/Collections/Documents/javma_222_1_42.pdf) You can read more about this process in my (award-winning) article “Stray and Feral Cats and TNR”.
So, one way or another, we hope to find Ebby a home, reduce Denise’s colony of 12+ by one more cat, and have one less cat to feed and house on the streets. We think this really nice cat deserves that!
We can always turn to HCMT for low-cost surgeries and veterinary care for our community cats like F’Ave Tux and Nugget, and also friendly community cats to find an indoor home through surrendering to a shelter like Rocky and Balboa and fostering and adopting like Charm and her kittens through Pittsburgh C.A.T. If you can, send a donation along to them for supporting rescuers like me in helping cats along from the outdoors to the indoors.
Homeless Cat Management Team: www.homelesscat.org
Pittsburgh C.A.T.: facebook.com/pittsburghcat
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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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