October 13th 2012 4:15 am
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The day before yesterday Daddy managed to trap one of the 7 month old kittens by where they used to live. They got her in and got her fixed. Daddy and Mommy had wanted to bring them all in from the cold.
Well, Daddy did. And little Mel, as he called her, cried and cried and cried and cried. She was very unhappy and tried to get out a screened window.
Because Mommy and Daddy live in an apartment in a house (the landlord knows they have 6 cats) Mommy got worried. Little Mel was crying loudly.
One by one we all got in (we weren't supposed to but we're good at getting in where we shouldn't be) and we met Little Mel. But none of us were very friendly....we probably would have been with time, but we thought she smelled funny.
Mommy thought about it alot. She said that Little Mel, back where they lived, had a very good momma who had taught her well how to get food and be safe. She was a clean little cat. She was now spayed and identified Mommy and Daddy as 'feeders'.
Mommy said that with their schedules it would be very hard to work with her, and they could try again when the others from Little Mels clowder were gotten and neutered. But she felt that little Mel was miserable. She wanted to go and be with her Mom and sister and the rest of her family.
Mommy said she hated to 'give up'. She has worked with cats that were where Mel was, but then it was different, in a shelter one expects a cat to meow and if they meow all night it does not matter.
But Mommy said that little Mel missed her Momma, and told Daddy that cats bond strongly to their territory, and little Mel was scared because none of us were accepting her, and this wasn't her territory or family.
After they talked about it alot, Mommy got Little Mel to go back into the trap and Daddy just took her back to by the old apartment.
There are a series of yards in back of the apartments. There are backyards and places for kitties to hide. Mommy and Daddy continue to feed there, and Mommy has seen other dishes out.
Mommy and Daddy feel badly. Daddy wanted to put little Mel in the cage in the bedroom and try to work with her. Mommy said she was willing to, but she thought that Mel was very miserable. She had family, she had territory. Now it was gone. She would have to re-establish it here. It wouldn't be impossible, but it would take much time, and she might not be happy. It was a tough call.
In the end, the elected to return her back to her space outside.
Mommy said that with us, it was different...we, all of us, were ready and wanting in from the cold. We probably knew people, and were from the inside, and turned loose. Mel wasn't. She was born outside, and knew her family.
'Feral' or 'Community cats' can learn to live inside with folks, but some may not want to....if they have their territory, family, food...it may be enough.
They will try again...I know my Daddy....he didn't want to bring Mel back. Mommy didn't either. She's tormented by pictures of sick kitties living outside. But Mel wasn't sick. She was young and healthy and strong and her momma was nearby and her sister and family. Because she's spayed and part of a little family, she is 'established' in the territory.
Mommy spoke with a friend of hers who does T and R. Her friend told her that even with winter coming on that Mel and her sister have a very savvy mom cat and established territory. She said that Mel was not like taking in an abandoned cat who had lived inside at one point, or a cat that was low on the order of a colony...that her coat was in good shape, she looked healthy, said alot about her. And she was not pregnant, and now she will not get pregnant, she stands a better chance than most of having a good and healthy life. She told mommy that taking in a working with a feral to tame is a process, and not all adjust...and that if they were to do it again that it might be better to work with the others too, so that they didn't feel so isolated. She didn't think that Mel had a grim time ahead of her, despite the weather. She said 'Mel is used to being outside-it's the inside that scares her.' and she said 'Deb, instead of torturing yourself with what you could not do, look at what you are doing-you are getting this colony neutered so they can't repproduce. They have a food source, and their mom has taught them to find shelter. In their world, territory, food and shelter are what matter. This is not an indoor cat that was turned out and is scrounging. This is a young strong cat born outside taught to live outside. She's afraid becuase she's out of her environment, and away from her family. Imagine if someone took you and dropped you in the middle of a group of Martians on Mars, and gave you food, but you were in a place you didn't know and were frightened of and that was totally alien.'
Mom and Daddy still feel bad. They feel like failures.
I have told them they aren't-that coming in from the cold is a state of mind as much as an actuality....
and that caring makes all the difference.
love and light,
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Daddy called Mommy and said as soon as little Mel was out of the trap, she jumped up to her 'safe' wall and started eating breakfast when she saw her sister there. He said he felt better when he saw her eating, and that she seemed fine.
Hugs to your mommy and daddy for trying! They did their best and please tell them not to feel bad. Feral cats who have been born and lived outdoors seem to prefer living outdoors. Little Mel might have felt trapped indoors in a small amount of space with strange cats plus she probably feels frightened by humans. In the end, I think your parents did the right thing for little Mel by returning her to her clowder and her old life.
Many purrs you tried and did well.
It is not a failure on your mommy and daddy's part! do not let them think they failed. They succeed in fixing Little Mel and returned her to her life. It's not the best life, as all of us inside know for sure, but it's a better life now because of them and she is where she wants to be, she is happy. You're parents did good! River's can't lie!
They tried and the should not feel like they failed. They got her fixed which is very important. She had a good mommy that taught her what she needs to know. She was probably pretty nervous with the smell of other cats that she was not used too and being closed in and separated from her family. We have an old feral male around our neighbor who is actually kinda friendly, but no matter how cold the temperature, he will not come inside for longer than 10 minutes and only if we leave the door open so that he can make a getaway. That is the life he knows. Please don't feel bad. Hugs from us, Daisy and family
Your momma and daddy are not failures! They're successes - they got her fixed and that is very important. Sending purrs.
Tigger's mom here: oh gosh I do know you feel. Sadly, with a kitty that old - they are so set in their ways, it would take alot of work with her, and true she might never feel comfortable. I see firsthand with my colony - some are friendlier than others, and while I can pet a few while they are eating, there is one that runs when I even try. They are all neutered/spayed - so I know their health is good - no more babies, no more fighting. They get fed 2x a day. They will have shelter for the winter. While I wish I could bring them all in like you- think how much better they do have it - food, water, shelter, somewhere safe to hang out. That is a gift you give them. Fortunately, the group I work with found a foster momma that is working with the 3 babies, and she even said after 4-5 months, it is really hard for them to acclimate. So please do not feel guilt - guilt is toxic. You kept her from having kittens, and she will be healthy. And she is most likely very happy too. hig paws to your family! It only takes a few that care to make a big difference!
Oh my you did a wonderful job just getting her spayed. This is so important so we help break the cycle of too many kittens. Thank you!
Pops has done a few socialization's in his day. It is almost impossible after 8-10 weeks unless the kitty has a super mellow personality.
As an example Pop has been working with Mss Fitz for over a year. She will come to him and lay on him at night but is still very wild. Her issue was being ill so she was segregated during the formative time of 6-10 weeks. She is very edgy but at least she will respond a bit. It is yeoman's work you have done so purrs and head bumps from this family!