Three years ago, a pregnant cat came to my back deck. My beloved Yorkie was dying of cancer and this cat would just visit and sit on my deck looking into my house at my dog. He would silently stare back. They appeared to communicate silently.
About 7-8 weeks later my dog was put down. My grief was enormous. The same week this cat came back to my deck with three kittens. I don’t know why but it gave me a diversion from my grief. She sat watching me – just far enough away to feel safe. I fed everyone and this began a pattern. The kittens and mom cat (sometimes the dad cat) would camp out in my Florida room – especially if it rained – as I kept the door ajar from the deck. But I couldn’t get too close.
Almost two months after my dog passed it was time to get another dog. The cats were fun but they weren’t “pets.”
I brought home my new puppy but turned out he was a puppy kill puppy (I was conned) and at four months he was the size of my hand. Very malnourished and full of parasites. The kittens were now about three months and the mom cat had abandoned them. My friend Nancy did TNR (trap-neuter-release) and taught me how to use a trap. It took many weeks but we managed to get all three kittens and they were vaccinated, wormed and treated for fleas and ticks. They also were all fixed – two boys and one girl.
When they saw my puppy they decided they loved him – and wanted to be adopted like him. Before I knew it I installed a pet door and they all used it to come and go. Little by little I could touch them. Then I could hold them. Then they all ended up in my bed. When I walk my dog they all go on the walk too. They cuddle, bathe one another and ate inseparable. They all bathe each other and have treat time together.
Other neighbors took on the subsequent litters. All told there were five by the same cat mom and dad – we never got the dad, who we think has died, but we trapped the mom. She sadly died on the operating table – filled with parasites and weak from one litter after another. Every kitten was spayed and neutered and vaccinated and certain neighbors take care of certain litters. As a result of TNR, we have had no new litters and our neighborhood is free of ferals.
While many of these cats must go outdoors (we have litter box issues or other pets to consider) we are dealing with healthy cats who are not fighting or spreading disease.
TNR worked in my neighborhood and needs to be funded by East Brunswick Township. It resolves a problem without putting cats down. Many cats are adopted out. I urge people to embrace this method of controlling cat colonies.