National Feral Cat Day: We’re Fine Thank You


When we last visited Tortie and her friends, it was a winter wonderland.

The eight or so kitties roamed and played around carefully shoveled pathways. Their food was protected from the elements in a cabin of sorts and there was fresh hay in their huts. Plywood walls offered some protection from the elements.

Tortie was with the colony when we visited last winter.

The summer that followed was exceptionally hot, but the dense shrubbery and tall trees shaded the colony from the summer sun. They stretched out under the trees or under the dense shrubbery. Kind caretakers came by the make sure they had plenty of water and food.

Some of the cats, especially the younger more trusting ones, even grew to anticipate their visits.

There’s Tortie who is more of a dilute calico, a couple of orange kitties who look related, plus a long-hair light orange one who certainly looks as if she belongs on a velvet cushion. A white-and-tabby and a black-and-white. And a big, beautiful gray boy.

The sun after the storm.

They only knew something was about to happen by the flurry of activity. The caretakers put lots of heavy stuff on the roofs of their shelters to prevent them from blowing away and stashed their bowls inside one of the huts to protect them.

Two days of high winds and rain inundated the area. The cats huddled in their shelters to keep dry, peeking out occasionally at the leaves and branches being tossed about by the wind. They had never ever seen a storm like that although the blizzards of the past winter were pretty scary.

Once the rain stopped they emerged from their shelters and picked their way through the wet leaves. Their little colony was all right. Soon the sun came out and they quickly forgot about the storm.

The shade protected the colony from the hot summer sun.

They were milling about, tails high in the air, anticipating their morning visitation from their caretaker.

A car pulled up but it was not one they recognized. A woman got out and talked to them a bit. She was not one who brought their food and left after a little while.

But soon, another car arrived. They recognized this one. It was the car that had all sorts of good things in its trunk and the nice lady who put out all their food.

She apologized to them for being so late, explaining that the power was out and that she had overslept. Then she opened her magical trunk and started filling their bowls and

The magical trunk.

putting down fresh water.

All the while she kept her eyes on Bear, the big gray kitty. They knew he was special to her. While the others would occasionally let her stroke them, Bear actually allowed her to pick him up!

Sometimes, he needed a little persuading. She would put down catnip and talk to him in a soft, sweet voice. He would come over to her and roll around in the catnip and act all silly while the others watched in the background. Finally she would pick him up and hold him close to her with his chin resting on

Bear was easily bribed with catnip.

her shoulder. The cats were amazed at how happy he looked!

Would they dare trust any human to pick them up like that?

****

It cannot be emphasized too often that these cats live under such circumstances due to human neglect, particularly the failure to spay or neuter. The Feral Cat Coalition estimates the number of feral cats in the U.S. at 60 million. In addition the bad economy has led many people to relinquish pets at the shelters or simply abandon them.

With any luck, Bear will be adopted into a loving home.

Although, National Feral Cat Day is Oct. 16, we know that every day is Feral Cat Day for Charlene Vessichio, the kind lady who takes care of Tortie and her friends.

For information on how one organization is helping its local feral cat colonies, visit the Branford Compassion Club’s website.

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About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

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