I work one day a week in South Tampa and sometimes stop at a Walmart near my job. Several weeks ago I was approached by a friendly black cat as I neared the entrance.
I was at that same Walmart again Wednesday morning and saw the same black cat napping at the door. My first thought was that Walmart hired a security cat that was sleeping on the job. I stopped and pet the cat for a minute before going inside.
I did not know if it was a male or female and thought the cat was either well fed or pregnant. After looking closer at the photo, I think one of the ears is tipped meaning the cat is fixed. I don’t know if Walmart or some of the employees had anything to do with fixing the cat or taking care of her, but if they did then kudos to them.
We got to our hotel room yesterday a little after 2:00 p.m. It was relatively early but the cats needed a potty break and my back was hurting from the car ride.
On the way to West Virginia we stayed at a Home2 by Hilton in Columbia South Carolina. It was a nice room inside the hotel where I didn’t have to worry much about Frankie escaping because even if he got out of the room he would still be contained inside the hotel.. This time we stayed at a Best Western in Walterboro, South Carolina. It was an outside room and not nearly as nice.
Going both ways I wanted our second day to be slightly shorter than our first because I figured we would be sick of driving by the second day, plus we needed more time to settle in at home. So with that in mind, Walterboro was the only option.
Rose typically likes to stay at Hiltons or Marriotts but those hotels, at least in Walterboro, did not allow pets. My only choices were Best Western, Econolodge, Motel 6, etc. We both thought Best Western would be the best of the worst so we picked that one. We may have been wrong.
We got a room near the end and when we pulled in a calico cat immediately came up to our car with a big story. I happened to have Stella and Chewy’s readily available in the truck so I put some down for her while Rose put the top down so we could remove our cats.
Rose thought she was pregnant but then we noticed she was ear tipped. I think she is just smart and knows how to get food out of visitors. It worked on me.
When we got in the room we noticed it smelled like dog. It also was covered with old carpet and Rose was worried about fleas. I wanted to put the litter box on a hard floor, not carpet, for ease of cleaning, but the only hard floor was in the tiny bathroom. I couldn’t put it there. Rose suggested putting it on a towel, which I did.
It wasn’t long before Chris pulled the towel back and then dumped a bunch of litter on the exposed carpet. It was then that I realized I had forgotten to bring a broom and dustpan. All I could do was pick it up with my fingers.
What surprised me was when Chris got into the crate that he was trapped in all day. I found Floki in the smaller crate too but I did not get a photo of that.
I went out later to get dinner and brought some food out for the stray. It was then that I noticed a shy black cat hanging out with the calico. Frankie noticed too.
We left this morning around 6:30. The first thing I did was bring out bowl of wet food and a bowl of dry food for the calico and black cat. The calico was there eating the wet food as I loaded the cats in the car. I never saw the black cat again. Perhaps he was waiting for us to leave.
It is now 8:00 a.m. and Floki is still howling. Yesterday it lasted three hours and then another two hours of on and off crying. Hopefully today will be better.
When we moved into our new home in West Virginia we met several people who were happy to talk about the house, the neighbors, and the town. I will write about the house soon but for now, I want to talk about stray cats. They are everywhere around us. Even so, I have yet to get a photograph of one because I usually see them from a distance or when I am not ready with a camera.
One guy talked about our next door neighbor feeding strays like it was a bad thing. One day, while I was bringing the trash to the alley, I counted four cats and a kitten in the back yard of the house behind us. As far as the neighbors next door, I have only occasionally seen a stray or two there but I was able to get a video of a confrontation between two cats. I first heard the howling sounds that cats make when meeting another cat that they don’t know. I then saw them out the bathroom window at the house next door. I expected a fight but it never happened.
My office is upstairs in the back of the house and I often will see a cat walk by, sometimes through our yard and sometimes next door or across the alley. Once, after it snowed, I saw cat tracks that came right up to our back door.
A couple of weeks after we moved in my wife somehow became Facebook friends with the woman who lives behind us. She said that a woman died at a nearby home who had 14 cats. When the son came to clean out her home he just dumped the cats outside. So, being a caring person, she felt compelled to take care of them. Strangely, we have yet to meet her in person. We bought two cases of wet food for her but when I brought them to her house, nobody was home. I also brought cookies over there for Christmas but only her son was home then.
There are other kind people too on the block. One neighbor said there are at least three people who care for cats but I don’t know if they all care for the same 14 cats or if there is more than one colony here. One man, we were told, leaves a heater on in his garage for the cats. If we were permanent residents I would not be opposed to leaving food out on the back porch and perhaps a shelter too but I wouldn’t want to get cats dependent on me and then leave.
I am glad to know there are many caring people in this neighborhood. I have always felt like most people are good but the bad ones seem to get the most recognition.
On another note. We are planning to head back to Florida this Saturday. This time we will have to cram the two cat crates in the back seat of my wife’s car, where they just barely fit. While it will be an easier trip than coming up here in the moving truck, I am concerned that the only way in or out for the crates is by putting the convertible top down. This could be a problem in an emergency. Let us pray there is no emergency.
I took Frankie for a walk the other day because it had been at least a week since his last escape and I had been procrastinating about taking him out so I decided it was time. Of course, he helped motivate me by being extremely annoying. Somehow he knows when I make the decision to take him out because he gets very excited and follows me around the house meowing constantly. Then I take his harness out of the drawer and the excitement level rises to epic proportions.
On this day we didn’t go very far when Frankie stopped about ten feet from a parked car and stared. I didn’t know what he was looking at but soon saw a black cat under the car.
The cat had a collar but I could not tell if it was a flea collar. Outside cats are not allowed where I live so either somebody is breaking the rules or someone put a flea collar on a stray cat as a friendly gesture. It could also be a stray or feral cat that someone has been taking care of and the collar is to discourage trapping.
Surprisingly, Frankie did not growl or hiss at the cat nor did the cat growl or hiss at Frankie. That could be because it was female. I don’t know. Frankie quietly inched his way forward and the truce lasted until he was very close and then the cat hissed and ran under the next car.
Frankie didn’t pursue. Instead, he found a tree about about forty or fifty feet away and left his calling card.
After her beloved cat, Pumpkin, died, my mother-in-law decided to open her home to another cat in need. This is Finnegan.
He is another ginger boy like Pumpkin but he is also not like Pumpkin. Just like all cats, he has his own personality.
I expected him to be shy around strangers and thought I would have to go look for him under the bed but I didn’t. Instead he came out to greet us. He is a very sociable cat but he is not a lap cat, at least not now. Perhaps when he is more comfortable he will be.
We visited twice since she adopted him. The second time I found him napping on the bed so he certainly feels right at home.
He is also not shy about blocking the doorway.
We brought him one of Floki’s mice to play with. I bought a bag of ten mice and still had a few left so we thought he might want one. He was mildly interested for about five seconds and then not so much.
Finnegan, or Finn for short, got his name because he looks like an Irish redhead. He is about three years old and was once a stray that was brought in after someone alerted the organization that he appeared injured or “beat up.” I don’t know all the details but he is far too friendly to be feral.
Another interesting thing is that he has no white on him anywhere. The tip of his tail is very light but not quite white. I don’t recall seeing a ginger cat with no white. I wonder how common that is? What do you think about Finn or about ginger cats with no white?
All my recent cat photos are still on my camera and Chris is on my lap so I decided to look through old photos for something to post today. As some of you know, my wife and I spent 16 months in Myrtle Beach between mid 2009 and late 2010. It is where we adopted Chris late in 2009. While there we enjoyed going to a place called Murrell’s Inlet.
Murrell’s Inlet had several shops and restaurants, one of which was called Creek Ratz. We liked eating there but I also enjoyed the company of a stray cat that was a regular visitor at the restaurant. I would always order a salad with grilled chicken when he was around and then slip him most of the chicken.
There is a store near me in Largo, Florida that is literally named “World’s Most Unusual Dollar Store.” It is like a mom and pop Big Lots with a lot of cheap, Chinese made products but also some unusual items, hence the name. I was in there recently when I heard a cat meowing over and over again. I turned to see where the noise was coming from and saw a cat walk by the end of the aisle I was in.
I followed him (I use him generically but don’t know the sex) but he was gone by the time I reached the end of the aisle. Fortunately, I was able to follow the meows and caught up with him a few Isles down.
He was very friendly and seemed to love it when I pet him. After a couple of minutes, I took my phone out and took his picture. This photo below is not perfect because he was moving but it’s good enough to see what he looks like.
As I was checking out I asked if that was their cat or did a stray get in the store? The lady said it was their cat but when I asked about the sex, she didn’t know. I didn’t pursue the matter. I just assumed it was a stray that they allowed to hang out in their store and probably fed.
If it was me, I would have brought the cat to the vet to have him fixed and checked for health issues. That is not to say I think badly of the store owners. Quite the contrary. Many store owners would rather call animal control than allow a cat to roam their store so I respect them for that.
My wife’s sister and her husband have several of their own cats and take care of strays as well, both near their home and near her work. When we stayed there during Hurricane Irma, there were three strays that stayed in the garage. The morning after the hurricane I captured this picture of one of them hanging out by the front door.
The cat below found comfort on the back of a motorcycle in the garage.
These cats have names but I don’t remember what they are. I know that the life of a stray is not easy but for these lucky few, it’s not bad.
The stray cat and her kittens have become somewhat regulars at our house recently although their visits are still somewhat unpredictable. They seem to come between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m but some days I don’t see them and some days I do. When I do see them, sometimes it is just the mother. Other times there is one or both kittens with her.
I have learned that the mother is not feral and is actually quite friendly. The other day she even rolled upside down on top of my foot and let me rub her belly. It was very brief but It amazed me at how quickly she learned to trust me. She still hisses at me sometimes but that is usually when I come out with food. I think maybe she is not sure who I am at first.
I noticed one of the kittens has a darker face than the other. That one is shy but he does take risks while the lighter faced kitten stays in the shadows. The lighter faced kitten has a hint of tabby marking which makes her, or him, somewhat unique.
Below are a video and some pictures that I took Thursday morning. The kittens were here at 5:30 in the morning eating and then I noticed them an hour later playing on the other side of the house while the mom lied in the grass watching. Our cats watched too. They seemed just as comfortable at our neighbor’s house than at ours.
Notice the tabby stripes?
I wonder how the planter got knocked over.
I was late for work when this playing was going on which is wy the video is so brief but my wife says she was quite entertained watching them play for a while after I left.
This morning I was able to get another video that shows how friendly the mom is and I captured a funny moment when one of the kittens was torn between fear and hunger.
My wife talked to a person at the TNVR place and he said they only trap on the weekend and put us down for next weekend so cross your fingers that everything goes well. I just fear that we will catch one or two but not all three and that would leave that kitten alone and scared.
After my last post about the feral cat and kittens that have been coming to our house, I didn’t see them for about a week. I kept food out for them and some days it would be gone when I checked on it and some days it would still be there. We were never sure if the cats were eating it or some other animal was coming around until Wednesday evening when the mother cat and her two Siamese looking kittens showed up.
I wasn’t expecting them to be there when I walked outside to do laundry. I was surprised to see two kittens take off in opposite directions. One hid under my car and the other crawled under the home behind us and one over. That made me wonder if they were living there.
The mother stayed close and hissed and growled at me. Actually, it wasn’t really a growl. It was more of a low pitch sound that I sometimes hear from our cats when a strange cat comes around.
I decided to skip laundry for a while and went back inside. Soon, one kitten was back and I took these pictures through the window screen.
I then put a small can of wet food on a plate and brought it outside. The kitten ran away but the mom let me stay out there and take pictures while she ate. She does not seem afraid of me which makes me think she is not feral like her kittens. Even so, she is not overly friendly either.
I wanted her kittens to come back so I went in the house and waited. Sure enough, one of the kittens showed up.
I took this video which is a bit long but at 4:16 it skips ahead to a new can of food and a kitten eating it. I am unsure if it is the same kitten or if the timider of the two came back for a meal. Perhaps your eyes are better than mine. Also, my wife thinks the kitten’s belly shows signs that he or she has worms. I don’t know. Also, at 2:53, Frankie scares the kitten away by pulling himself up to the open window.
I called the TNVR place on Thursday morning but I am still waiting to hear back from them. In the meantime, I have not seen the cats since Wednesday and I have only seen the food in the bowl get eaten twice since then, including some time last night. Maybe they are being fed somewhere else or maybe some days they feast on rabbit, which is plentiful around here.