About a month ago I saw a small tabby cat as I drove around the corner and onto my street. I thought she might be a stray or feral because she was somewhat skinny and had no collar. I didn’t see her again until last Tuesday or Wednesday evening.
After I arrived home from work and fed the cats, I walked out the door to put some laundry in the washer and a startled cat ran from my steps to the end of my driveway and turned to look at me. I said a few soothings words and she stayed for a few seconds but then disappeared around the corner. After I finished with the clothes I walked out of the shed and saw the cat was at my back stairs again. I again scared her and she ran away.
I put a handful of dry cat food on a plate and put it outside in case she came back. When I talked to my wife that night, who was away on business, I told her about the stray cat. “Don’t feed him,” she said. “He will spray the outside of our house.”
“I won’t,” I said without hesitation. I didn’t need to, I thought. The food was already out there. The next morning it was gone.
Yesterday morning I put our trash outside the back door. Normally I take it to the trash can but since we were planning on leaving soon I thought letting it sit out there for twenty minutes was better than fighting with the cats to get out and then back in again. Not long after that Frankie was going nuts about something he was seeing out the window. Rose looked out and saw a mother cat and two kittens outside our back door. She called to me to come and take a look.
I looked out the window and saw the same tabby cat I saw before with what looked like two Siamese kittens. “That’s strange,” I said. “It looks like she has Siamese kittens.”
“You need to put some food out for them,” Rose said. “Those kittens are probably hungry.” With that, I put some food on a paper plate and brought it outside. When I got outside the two kittens scurried under the house while the mother stayed where she was. I put the food down and picked up the trash, which now had holes in it. I wanted to throw it away but doing so required me to walk in the direction of the kittens and Mama made sure I knew, with her raised hair and hissing, that I should probably make other plans. I decided she was right and put the bag down and went inside.
I quickly grabbed my camera and slowly and quietly opened the window on the door just a crack so I could take pictures. It wasn’t quiet enough as she knew I was there.
It also didn’t help that Frankie grabbed on to the edge of the window and pulled himself up like a bodybuilder so he could peek out the window.
A few minutes later one of the kittens joined Mom at the plate of food but did not eat any. I tried to take pictures through the open crack in the window and at an angle through the window screen.
The pictures came out better than expected. The last one even shows that the kitten does indeed look Siamese, very similar to Floki when we adopted him. Siamese offspring from a tabby must be rare for feral cats since there are not many feral Siamese cats out there. In addition, the Siamese features must be quite dominant for a kitten to look like this from a tabby mother.
Rose wanted to do something to help and we knew from past experiences that The SPCA would rent traps cheap but we didn’t know how to trap a cat and two kittens at the same time. She decided to call the community office here and left a message with them. I thought that was a bad idea since they would probably call Animal Control.
After calling the office, Rose Called the local SPCA who told her about the traps. The woman on the phone said that the kittens often follow the mother into the trap but I didn’t believe that since I had seen the mother without the kittens at least twice.
I then called Suncoast Animal League (where I once volunteered for a short time) who gave me the number of Meow Now, A TNVR organization. I called them and left a message but have not yet heard back from them.
We were away from home for several hours on Saturday and when we returned the dry food I left out was gone. I put more food out and Rose saw the mother cat and one kitten at the food bowl that evening. I moved it closer to the house so the neighbors wouldn’t see it but that also made it more difficult for me to see when the cats were there.
This morning I put wet food out for them in addition to dry and was disappointed that the cats didn’t show up before we left for the beach. When we returned I expected to see an empty food bowl but the only creatures to get a meal were about a hundred ants.
Now I can’t help worry that something happened to them. I hope they weren’t caught by the county animal control. That might be good for the kittens but I doubt the mom would fare well. On the other hand, there may be other people who are putting food out as well and our food is not needed as much. Who knows?