Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sexless near Seattle

A little black cat moved into my barn last summer. She was obviously young, much narrower than wide. Her eyes were golden and showed she'd done a lot of living in her short life. Because I'm a sucker and our barn cat population had dwindled to one, I told her she could stay. I told her she was welcome to the warm hay loft and shelter from the winter winds. I told her she could feast on our dry cat food. I asked her to please not torment the remaining old barn kitty. I named her, what else...Beauty.

In August I left the barn scene for awhile to have a total knee replacement done. I lost track of Beauty and figured she had moved on. One day I came home from a physical therapist appointment and pulled into the drive. There, playing around the truck was the reason Beauty had been out of touch. Two kittens frolicked in the October sunshine, a black one and a long-haired silver tabby.

Between "awwwwwwwww" and "oh, crap" I realized I now had 3 feral cats in the barn. I knew their numbers would grow exponentially if I didn't have them neutered. We have a wonderful organization near Seattle, a 'cutting edge' facility, The Feral Cat Spay and Neuter Project. They spay and neuter feral cats of all ages for FREE! I can't say enough good things about them.

My vet clinic provided the live trap and in less than 2 days Beauty and the boys were trapped. They went to the FCSNP and came home "sexless". They were given vaccinations and flea treatment and were ready to start the safer, less debilitating life style of sterile cats. Oh, you're wondering about the tip of Beauty's ear? That's the universal way of marking neutered feral cats. They'll never be trapped again to be neutered. It's already a done deal.

The little black boy is named Shadow. He's his mama's shadow and is a bugger to photograph. (Black cats are notorious for that.) The silver tabby boy is Forrest and should have been a girl kitty...just too, too gorgeous. How did he get that name? Ahhhh, more on Forrest later.

In the meantime, Beauty and the boys are pretty permanent tenants in my barn. Someday when we move on to our ranch in New Mexico they'll remain here. A clause will be inserted in the home sale paperwork requiring stewardship of the feral cats in the barn. Their life is a wild one and I'm not their keeper, just their caregiver.

I'll really miss that little family.


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