It’s early summer and it’s kitten season here on the Court. Some years we don’t see any and other years we are inundated with kitties.   The summer of 2015 yielded 5 kittens  and this year we have 3 litters coming through the fence in search of a meal.  The court cats, with the exception of Junior, are not too pleased with the recent population explosion.

We have been involved in T-N-R efforts for a few years now; 2015 was a good year as we were able to catch 4 kittens and 3 adults.  A gold tiger manage to avoid the traps and has made our neighborhood his own.

Trap-Neuter-Release programs, managed by local animal control, will cover the costs for 20170628_204625neutering cats and releasing them back into their territory.  Placing them back keeps the population manageable by reducing the kitty -count and keeping transient ferals out.

This year’s kitty population, The current feral population consists of 5 adults and 10 kitties.  And all of this year’s litters all bear a striking resemblance to Junior’s coloring.  He is a tiger but doesn’t have the well-defined stripes.  His markings resemble gold splotches of paint thrown against a white wall.  Most of the kitties in the clowder have similar markings.

20170622_062119We’re pretty sure that there are 3 mothers, the oldest litter consists of 3, roughly 10 weeks old now, all gray fur their flanks showing the same mottled look as Dad.  Not sure who the mother is; have only seen a large gray female on a few occasions.

The second litter, 3 gold males that are very close to Dad’s markings, 1 female calico (like mom) and 1 gray and white male. These kittens are 9 weeks old now.

The 3rd liter is a gray and white mottled fur, we think she may be one of Junior’s children.  She has 2 kittens, gray tabbies and we estimate they are 8 weeks old.  All litters are fully weaned.20170625_173618-EFFECTS

The regular inhabitants of the court have been watching the kitties, waiting for the day when they are old enough to move on.  The cats will disburse eventually, if not caught first and sent over to the shelter where they have a chance of being adopted.

Acceptance by the Court Cats. The regular inhabitants haven’t chased the kitties off yet.  Some of the locals don’t seem to mind while others find them to be an irritant. Precious (the old lady) lays out on the back steps and yells at any of the kitties who come near.  (She yells at everyone who comes near).  Mr Big hangs out with the mommy cat and the kitties.  In the evening he’ll  be found by the food dish, waiting for them to come by.  In the late afternoons he’ll be sleeping out under a bush with 2 or 3 of the furballs tucked in beside him.

Ferals vs. Strays.  There is a difference that makes a difference when cats are caught.  A stray cat is one that was formerly someone’s pet; it is used to humans and can interact with them (usually to get into their good graces and get fed).  A feral is a wild cat, the parents being ferals or strays.  The feral is very cautious around people, it does not interact well at all.

When a cat is taken to the shelter the technicians will test the cat and make a determination  to either place the animal up for adoption or to  set it aside with the other ferals with no chance at a forever home.  Strays have a chance while ferals may not be as lucky.

So, until they either get caught or move on, we do what we can to take care them while IMG_20170517_075931_997they live behind us; food and water are put out in the back.  We clean their wounds (when we can get close to them) and put up with their ‘singing’ at 3 in the morning.

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