Was she asking for help?

by Rick
(Toms River, N.J. U.S.A.)

Over the last few years I help feed a feral colony of cats that reside at a friends property. Usually two times a week I bring left over meats and or canned cat foods. My friend feeds the cats well twice a day so my feeding is just a treat for the cats. I have mentioned this colony on this site under Black cat superstitions "Goodbye Samson."

Two of the cats were tiny kittens and have grown up trusting me enough to brush against my pants, and one will touch her nose on my finger. The female is a little cream colored fluffy cat I call "Baba" and the male, I call Blackie, is all black except he has what looks like stars over both eyes. I've never seen markings like it before.

Saturday I came with some food and called the cats like my friend does and Blackie and Baba didn't come this time. Now what's so unusual is that when my car begins to come down the 400 foot driveway Baba and Blackie are the first cats to come running to greet me meowing for food. I usually scatter canned food in several spots on the driveway so there is no fighting and all the cats will get some. I began to think some predator caught them because coyotes, foxes, raccoons, owls and hawks have been seen on the property.

After a few minutes Blackie showed up and followed me around meowing but didn't eat. Then Baba showed up. She came from behind a fenced area carrying a kitten which she dropped at my feet. Unfortunately, it was dead. It looked just like her all cream colored.

As I put more food down Baba followed me, dropped the kitten right in front of me, and began to eat some of the food. I went back to the car to get a few more cans and that little female was standing behind me with that dead kitten in her mouth.

She placed it almost on my shoe while Blackie was meowing up a storm. Well I opened up a few more cans near the car and the two of them began to eat again. While they were busy eating I put the dead kitten in a bag to bury. Baba And Blackie both ate their fill, didn't look for the dead kitten and ran behind the fence again. I assumed she has other kittens hidden back behind that fence somewhere.

As I left I began to wounder if these two cats were asking me for some kind of help with this kitten. I guess I will never know, but Baba amazed me that she trusted me to do something with this kitten. As I'm writing this story I'm still amazed at these wild cats actions.
Rick
Toms River NJ USA

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Wonderful.
by: Larry (editor)


Hi Rick,

I'm so glad that Lucky has a home. I'm sure that even with his challenges he will have a wonderful life. Thank you for all that you do for the feral cats.

Larry (editor)

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"Lucky" the blind kitten
by: Rick Toms river

I named the little blind kitten Lucky. I captured him and took him to the Vet. It was very easy to get him as he came to me as soon as he smelled food, and had allowed me to gently stroke his back when eating. I just scruffed him and put him in a carrier and took him to the cat doctor. He is a good Vet and all he does is cats. His left eye is completly blind, but he does see some movement out of his right eye from less then ten feet away.
The vet gave me some medicine to put into his eyes and said they should heal but he will remain blind. He gave him a vaccination, wormed him, and gave me something for the flea's.
Now for more good news! One of my customers that does cat rescue work found a home for Lucky with a woman who has two young blind cats now.
She was so gentle and loving with the little guy im sure he now has a new and happy life. Though blind he will never have to fend for himself outside as do the rest of that feral colony.
I also wanted to say that he doesn't act like a feral kitten, because he will curl up on your lap and fall asleep as you gently stroke his back. I already miss the little guy, but the woman promises to bring him by now and then to show me his progress.

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Thank you
by: Anonymous

Phew! I'm really glad that you posted this thank you I do feel quite a bit happier about the kittens now. I was quite upset about the blind one especially. If I lived near to you I would have come and brought him home.

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For Anonymous Blind Kitten
by: Rick

You are absolutely correct that blind kittens have a much larger percentage of survival indoors, but so do all cats. You didn't read all the stories including the one about Goodbye Samson. This colony is not my colony it is my friends that I have occasionally, until recently, helped with a little extra food. Also only three of the young cats are partially friendly towards me, but I can't pet them or initiate anything but holding my finger out and most of the time they will quickly touch it with their nose.

I Think that is a friendly greeting, but the rest of the cats keep from five to as much as twenty feet distance from me even though they know I bring food. The only one that became fairly friendly was the old black Tom cat you can read about under black cat superstitions (Good by Samson).

We do have reduced rate spay neuter clinics once or twice a year in our area, but I think only a few cats could be brought to this, and they still charge forty or fifty dollars /cat. The cat population at my friends house rises and falls through the years naturally. He feeds them the cheapest brand dry food two times a day, plus all the mice bugs and other rodents or reptiles they can catch on his five acres.

Some of the cats were abandoned near his house and some were born wild. Feral cats are euthanized here and sick or injured strays or ferals are put down immediately. I have noticed that this blind kitten has other females that watch out for him and also keep his eye area clean.

If I had a colony like this I would trap neuter and spay the cats and give all the basic vaccinations, but like I said it is not my call. So I do what I can for the cats.

Thanks for your interest
Rick Toms River N.J. USA

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Blind kitten
by: Anonymous

The blind cats that do well are living in homes, I don't think a blind feral cat is going to stand a chance.
I also think you've let them get too dependent on you. I don't think it bodes well for the kittens if the female is pregnant again.
Presuming that you are in US, is there anything there like the charities PDSA or RSPCA that we have here in UK? Surely there's some organisation that could help.

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Amazing.
by: Larry (editor)

Hi Rick,

That's great news that the little fellow is doing well. And it's great that you are caring for him or her.

Yes cats, and kittens, are truly amazing.

Larry (editor)

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Spunky little kitten
by: Rick Toms River NJ

Well I have visited the little blind kitten every day and make sure he/she has food and water. The kitten hides under one of the buildings that has a small dug out by its base, and it's sense of hearing seems to have become acute. He hears me before the sighted kittens do and takes cover.
I am still asking customers if they would take him/her. No luck yet. I may trap the kitten and keep it in my shop in a large dog cage untill I can find it a home. I have been doing a lot of reading on blind kittens, and it seems as though they can get along very well once they are used to their surroundings. Some do so well you wouldn't know they are blind uless you were told.
I have found cat's to be amazing,adaptable,and resilient creatures!
Rick

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Sad news
by: Rick Toms River NJ

This past Tue. evening I brought some food to my friends feral colony, and all the cats came to greet my car as they do. Its a little ritual now between Baba, Blackie and a young grey cat I now call greyson to brush against my pants and all three touch their nose to my finger. In fact these three keep swirling around my legs so much that its hard to walk to the back of the vehicle to get the food. Well as I was dumping the canned food near the garage I noticed Baba's last kitten laying on top of a concrete block. I quietly approached the kitten and realized something had poked out his eyes. My friend has a few free roaming chickens that could have done that and or also I thought the nasty big Tom could have done it. I read that sometimes Tom cats kill Kittens to stress the female and it puts them back into heat. So they can mate again. I have noticed Bab's belly beginning to swell again , and I think she may be pregnant. That may have happened to the first kitten that died.
I have been visting the colony everyday this week and checking on the blind kitten. I make sure i give him a little pile of dry kitten food and some canned felidae , and I bought him a small stainless steel bowl for water. He finds the food ok and the water. It's interesting to see him sniif the water bowl, dip his paw in the water,and lick the water off his paw, and then drink. Yesterday I noticed Baba licking his eye area and it looks a lot better. I made some noise, and the kitten was pretty quick at taking cover under a leaning garbage can lid and able to manuever around some equipement and some concrete blocks, and can go between two buildings close to each other with some old screens leaning against one. Amazing how fast that kitten has learned his way to safety. For the time being it seems this is about the safest spot for the kitten. When I left yesterday Baba was with the kitten. I don't know if she is still nursing it, but it was hungry and ate the canned food.
I would like to do something elese for this kitten, but I already have three cats, and can't bring another one home especially a blind feral.
My wife would have none of that. So for now I guess I will just visit it everyday and try to take something extra for this kitten. I will try to pass the word around to customers to see if someone is willing to take on the care of this poor little creature.

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Last but one
by: Anonymous

Sorry just realised what had happened.

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One kitten
by: Anonymous

I used to work night shifts - graveyard shifts - in an industrial area and often saw families of feral cats, among other night creatures.
There was one family I saw quite a few times and they were at first walking with the mother. After a while I saw small groups of the kittens had left the others and gone off together, I saw them a couple of times about 4-5 in a little group going the same paths as they used to with Mum, don't be too worried if some have disappeared.

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Tragic.
by: Larry (editor)

Very sorry indeed to read that Rick.

Tragic, but unfortunately these things happen, I hope that your friend doesn't blame himself.

Larry (editor)

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Bad news
by: Rick Toms River NJ

Baba is left with only one kitten. As far as I can see it appears fat and healthy, but runs when I come within twenty feet or so. Much less trusting than its mother. The other sibling was hiding under my freiends lawn mower when he started it. Enough said. It must have hid and remained quiet as he undercovered the canvas cover and he said it didn't start right away. My friend said it must have taken him twenty or more seconds to get the machine going. The deck of the mower is at least three to four inches off the ground, plenty of room for the kitten to make an escape.
He felt very bad as I did. Hopefully the last kitten will make it.

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Update on Baba and the feral colony
by: Rick Toms River NJ

Baba is doing well she has two fat healthy kittens that I have recently seen. She has kept them hidden in my friend's garage.I make sure I feed her the felidae each day util she is full and walks away. Blackie is ok except he is limping with a front leg wound. I think he tangled with a big Orange Tabby male that the previous head of the colony(Samson) had kept at bay. I wrote about Samson under Black cat superstitions "Good bye Samson." Another young grey male now brushes against my pants and also will touch my finger with his nose. That makes three of them that touch their noses to my finger.The older cats come close to me but will have nothing to do with any contact.
Many of the cats have leg wounds, some healing, and are limping. I have also noticed that this Orange Tom is much more hostile with the females and will not share food with the kittens as Samson did. I have never seen so many of the cats with leg wounds as latley. I think Samson did a better job of being head of this colony then this Orange male. There are two other sets of kittens besides Baba's, but I only get a quick look at them.
I think Samson was a much wiser cat then this new male and that he had a much more gentle side once you were accepted by him. I still miss the old boy and I wounder if the colony does also. My friend agree's that the colony was better protected when Samson was alive.

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food and feeding
by: Anonymous

That's cool, thank you for sharing that it was useful. I like how you got the food. In tune eh.
p.s. Don't give so much that it gets wasted and attracts attention

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extra food
by: Rick from Toms River

I never thought they might need more food. My friend feeds them dry food twice a day, but the two young cats may need more. I stopped in a local pet store near my business which I usually don't frequent, and the owner had one bag of Felidae. It was a rather large bag and five cases of 13 ounce wet food that was gathering dust. His clientele usually buys cheaper brands. He made me a deal on the five cases and the large bag.
It's enough to feed them daily for the next two to three weeks with extra food. Thanks for giving me the suggestion. I read that nursing and pregnant females need the extra food to produce enough milk. Now they have it and it's also a much better quality then they usually recieve.
Thanks for the idea
Rick

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clever cats
by: Anonymous

Cats quite often bring a present if they caught anything. I see it that while you waited for them to appear they had a consultation about the dead kitten, whether they wanted it, how to get rid of it and if they gave it to you it would also be like a present. It also shows you that they need extra food now.

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Baba and Blackie
by: Larry (editor)


Hi Rick,

Thank you so much for sharing yet another of your tales of your feral cat colony, they are always so interesting.

Nature, as wonderful as it is, also has its cruel side, all part of it and can seem sad to us humans at times.

I do realize that you are probably asking your question rhetorically and are not expecting an answer, that I don't think anybody can give least of all me because I don't have any experience of feral cats.

It does seem though that although Baba and Blackie are feral, they may see you as their 'human' and not just someone who turns up and dispenses food.

They sound a wonderful pair of cats, long may they thrive.

Larry (editor)

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