4 Outdoor Cats
Each night for a week a mother cat brought her four kittens to our doorstep and hid back in the shadows while we provided her kittens with food and water.
One of the kittens was extremely friendly, another would run to the top of the nearest tree whenever we came outdoors and the other two were somewhere in between these extremes.
After we fed them for a week the mother cat approved the adoption and we never saw her again. The kittens took up residence on a few blankets we put on the porch, but they still scattered every time we came outside to fill their dish or refresh their water.
After much planning and effort we managed the catch all four and get them to the vet for neutering, spaying, and shots. Initially we had to put their food dish at the back of a large wire cage and watch from the driveway until one of them ventured in to eat. We'd signal a person standing just inside the house and they'd rush out to shut the cage door before the kitten escaped. Now we're able to approach three of the four without so much subterfuge.
We built a two-story, insulated house on the porch for the kittens and they settled in.
After a few months they became much less skittish and the biggest one wandered inside to look around every now and then. Now, all four have a strong preference for the outside and just come inside for an hour or two a day to sit on my daughter's lap and help with her homework.
We worry about them a lot because we see foxes, dogs, badgers, skunks, raccoons, and everything else wandering around the property at night. The cats leave for days on end to prowl their territory and we see them hunting in the woods near our property or hanging out with the goats in the pasture. We also worry because the biggest one is so incredibly friendly we think he might take up residence anywhere he found a friendly hug.
All four are allowed inside when they want, but they prefer to sleep outside at night, even in the middle of winter. During the day they lay around the porch on their wool blankets and tiptoe around our goats to find the warmest spots.
On the plus side, we no longer see any mice within 500 feet of the house--unfortunately this is also true for the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds.
One a year we'll have to catch them all over again for their annual check up and booster shots. They're definitely living with us, but also have their own lives they let us into every once in a while.
They seem incredibly clean, happy, healthy, and active so we're comfortable with letting them stay outdoor cats and just enjoying their company when they choose to have company.