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In a previous post I mentioned that I had recently relocated from the West Coast to the East.  It was time to leave the Court and move into a smaller home.  For the Oak Court Cats, this would mean changes in their lifestyle.

My son asked to take Fatty with him to his place where he settled in after a few weeks of hiding under the bed.  Fatty has always been the most laid-back cat on the Court so the move into a smaller place worked out.  The youngest cat went off with my granddaughter to live a pampered life.  The Big Guy and the elder tortie were coming with me.  The adventure begins.

Relocating Cats

There is a lot of material on the web relating to moving with cats and it was clear from what I read that I was going to regret my decision.  Some cats objected to long rides and demonstrated their displeasure by singing arias from famous operas for hours and miles at a time.     Other writers told of distressed cats subjecting their humans with bouts of diarrhea and/or vomiting.  Others would huddle in the corner of their carrier, waiting for the grim reaper to come and save them from this torture. 

I experienced all of the above.

Day 1 – The Silicon Valley to Wells, Nevada – 531 miles.  A number of writers advised me to procure something that would relax the cats.  There are a number on the market so I grabbed 2 of them.  Well, while they were effective that only lasted about 250 miles.  After that I was subjected to 250 miles of the big cat singing mournful songs of despair.  Exhausted from the marathon performance, he finally fell asleep for the last 75 miles.

Cats in the crates, ready to load up.

The Tortie made the trip in a large cat case (She is 8 pounds and the case was advertised as large enough for 15 pound cats.  The Big Guy traveled in a 24” dog crate with a foam pad on the bottom.  Their traveling accommodations included water and food bowls, toys and flannel blankets for privacy and warmth.

Day 2 – Wells, Nevada, to Laramie, Wyoming – 531 miles.  At sunrise the Big Guy broke out of the hotel room and dashed out across the open fields.  We searched for hours but the tracks in the new snow made it real clear that he was gone and would be dealing with the coyotes now.  I packed up the other cat in the late afternoon and headed down the road.

Eastern edge of Wyoming

Day 3 – Laramie, WY to Wells, NV to Evanston, WY. – 764 miles. I got a call at the hotel during the night.  Seems the Big Guy got hungry and drifted back to the motel long about midnight.  At 2:30 I packed up and headed back to pick him up.  My thanks to the night staff at the Motel 6 in Wells who kept him fed until I got there.  We got back on the road again and made it as far as Evanston, WY.  Rather than take a chance, I used a little valerian in his dinner bowl; he went to sleep for the night. My one claim to fame on this day was that I was able to cross the Continental Divide 3 times in one day.

Eastern side of Nebraska, looks just like Eastern side of Wyoming, and Iowa.

Day 4 – Evanston, WY to North Platte, NE- 565 miles.  Each morning before we hit the road there were a number of tasks to be completed:

  1. Feed the cats – I brought their bowls and favorite foods. 
  2. Shovel and clean the litter box. I read a number of articles that stressed that the cats travel better if they can use their own litter box with kitty litter they recognize.  Yes, you have to use a little yesterday’s litter to add familiar scents to today’s litter.
  3. Load the truck up.  Have to put the cats into their travel cases before opening the door.  Learned that the hard way on Day 2.
  4. Spray the inside of the truck with the calming agent before loading the cats in.

The Day 4 drive was uneventful as the scenery didn’t change much – hours and miles of flatland once I descended onto the plains.  The cats were relatively quiet on Day 4.  The calming agent finally kicked in.

Day 5 – North Platte, NE to Davenport, IL – 593 miles.  Got the cats loaded up early, wanted to get on the road as it was Saturday and there were more cars on the road.  Naturally the cats could tell that I was in a hurry so they did everything they could to slow the process down.  Big Guy decides to play in the litter box, tossing half the contents around the bathroom floor.  The little one was not interested in the regular wet food and managed to flip the bowl over, onto the rug.  I lost a half an hour cleaning before I could get out of there.  The calming agent wasn’t working today, and I had to hear the music from Cats as performed by Cats.

Travelling with cats is made more difficult because there are not a lot of motels that permit pets. I stayed at Motel 6 every night as they permit cats. Didn’t even charge an additional deposit. All along the way they found me rooms on the first floor (I used a hand truck to move the kitties so stairs would have been out of the question. The rooms were always clean and the staff was always friendly.

Day 6 – Davenport, IA – Streetsboro, OH – 526 miles.  Catastrophe!  Ran out of kitty litter and had to drive around hunting for a grocery store.  My passengers did not like the brand I bought and tossed quite a bit of it onto the floor. Running low on calming agent and valerian; needed to get this drive over with soon.  Today they performed Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries”.  I don’t think anyone wants to buy the CD.

Nights with cats in strange rooms is an adventure. There many new scents that keep them up all hours investigating. Noises from outside the door (people walking by) would send them scurrying, looking for cover. It was entertaining but tiring.

Day 7 – Streetsboro, OH to Pottstown, PA – 421 miles.  The last 200 miles were the longest.  Coming across the Pennsylvania Turnpike in heavy traffic was bad.  Hitting every pothole between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia was painful.  One cat or the other (they were alternating) would yell out as they were jarred awake.

We arrived at the house late in the day immediately went to neutral corners and napped while I unloaded the car, set up the litter box and distributed dinner.

I was able to hear again a week after arriving home.  The cats settled in quickly and resumed the usual snapping and swiping at each other.  I have no plans to move the cats further.  Once was enough.

It has been quite a while since I last posted here so let me bring you up to date.

In 2017 we saw the arrival of 21 kitties and worked hard to get them collected and taken over to the shelter to be neutered.  We were able to catch 20.  Over the next year these guys all migrated from the backyard (where the factory home of the colony is) to the court itself.  These guys settled in, as seen in the pictures.  Over the last 2 years a few of their number have either moved on

or have not survived the winter; as of April 2019 there were 13 members of the colony still living on the Court.

Day 2

The spring 2018 litter of 5 cats has made it through the winter and into the spring of 2019.  The only female in the liter has just delivered 4 kittens.  Attempts were made to capture them but I’m not sure if there was a successful T-N-R.


Things have also changed for our 4 cats.  I have retired and moved back east.  My son has moved to a small house in the next town over and my granddaughter has moved in with a friend.  The Oak Court  Cats have moved away.

So the youngest kitty (now 3 years old) has moved with my granddaughter.  My son has taken the Gray (now maybe  10 years old) with him. Recently he adopted another senior cat, part Maine Coon; the pair are learning to put up with each other.  I moved  3,000 miles to the east and brought the tortie and Mr.Big with me.

That’s it for now, the Trip will be chronicled on a later blog entry.


Another summer on the Court is nearing an end.  The weather has been cool these last few weeks and the cats are busy policing the court, looking for the occasional mouse or mole that attempts to settle here.  Blutto

Mr. Big (resident Maine Coon) is showing a bit of his age these days.  At 10 he’d be comparable to a human age of 56; no longer as energetic as he was when he first arrived here.  Like the other feline residents here, Mr. Big tends to sleep 18 or so hours a day.  Also have noticed that he is becoming a house cat now; not spending much time outside; prefers to watch the world from the comfort of the front window.

The cranky old torti will celebrate her 15th birthday in a week. She goes out occasionally to remind the younger cats that she is still the alpha and commands some respect.  Occasionally she’ll ask to be let out on the porch and will find her way around to the backyard, offering Precoous at 15advice to the younger cats while inspecting the fence, reviewing the kittens and complaining about the finches that congregate outside her window.  When satisfied that all is in order, she waits by the back door to be let back in.  She will sit on the kitchen floor and give me a full report on what she has seen.  She has taken to giving me long narratives, sometimes meowing in sentences of 5 to 10 seconds; a conversation may take 10 minutes until she’s talked out.

The feral community that lives on the other side of the fence is still with us, visiting daily for a handout and a nap on the chairs under the tree.  The population continues to shrink; a year ago there were 21 cats and now there are 11 remaining.  We did get a number of new kitties back in May but some were ‘kidnapped’ by the humans while a few just disappeared.

It’s time to start trapping again as there are 2 older females that have not been T-N-R’d.  Would like to fix the recent arrivals as well.

Have been asked about domesticating the ferals and giving them a chance at a home but, after some research and many attempts to get close to them, these ferals are not about to become someoMeal Timene’s pet.  As they are very social and have strong relationships within the colony, they don’t seem interested in getting close to us.

I’ve watched the adults when the kittens are about; 2 or 3 of the older cats will be close at hand, keeping an eye on the little ones.  It looks like they take turns watching and teaching the young cats how to bathe, fight and hunt.

The colony spends their days enjoying the sun, the naps and an occasional meal here.  They do not mix with the resident cats; it is as if they know they are just visitors and at some point will move on.  Ferals come and go.

Mean while Precious has just woke up from a nap and demands fresh food in the bowl.  I guess when you’re that age, you can pretty much get what you want.

It has been a year since our last T-N-R campaign.  In 2017 we were able to trap 17 of 21 ferals in our neighborhood, hopefully putting a dent into feral population growth.  In the last year we’ve seen the colony go from 21 regular residents to 14.  A few have been seen in other neighborhoods while others didn’t make it through the winter.  Sadly one of the cats from last year’s births was hit by a car and was found on a lawn.  Apparently Hudson (yeah, he had a name) pulled himself out of the roadway, trying to make it back to the safety of the colony. Over the last year he’d become well acclimated to the house and would have been a great house-cat.


Hudson. May 2017 ~ April 2018

Mid-May is usually when you see the first round of births show up.  We’ve been watching the back fence to see if there were any litters; crossing fingers that we wouldn’t see any this year.

2018 Kitty 3

First Kitty of 2018, female, somewhere between 4 and 5 weeks old.

The first kitty made an appearance a few days ago.    Yesterday I was able to qo out back and counted 9 young kitties, probably 4 to 5 weeks old.  It appeared they were not weaned yet so we’ll have to wait a week or 2 before we start on this year’s roundup.  Yes, it’ll be a roundup much like that ad that ran during the Super bowl a few years ago:  EDS Cat herders

So far only 2 litters that we can identify.  One litter is composed of gold tigers, markings like their mother and father (yes, we’ve identified Dad).  Not too sure the 2nd litter belongs to.

Junior 2018

Junior – neighborhood tomcat. Identified as father to at least 6 litters over the past few years. We have not been able to trap him.

So look for an update in a few weeks when we break out the cages again and try to capture as many as possible while they are  young.  Shelters will not take in cats over 12 weeks as ferals are ‘imprinted’ by then and chances are they’d never be a good house cat beyond that point.  Sadly shelters are overloaded at this time and, consequently, some of the less desirable ones are put down before they’ve had a chance to be taken into a ‘forever home’.2-18 Kitty 2

As noted in an earlier post, we’ve got a problem in that there are several large cat colonies living in the factory yard behind the house.  On the southwest corner there are roughly 30 cats in that colony.  The colony behind us has roughly 20 members; most of them are less than 1 year old.  This is the largest this colony has been in the 12 years we’ve lived here. Speaking with shelter staff and rescue volunteers, this was probably the busiest kitty season in the last 10 years.

In 2015 we trapped 7 cats; failed to trap one tiger and we believe he is the father of 4 of the 5 litters we are tracking.


Junior, neighborhood gigolo

This year we had help from a woman who works hard to reduce the number and sizes of feral colonies and managed to trap 15 over the course of 4 days.  There were 4 who managed to elude capture.

The kitties were taken to the local Humane shelter and, after a quick physical, were fixed and released back into the factory yard.   Dad, unfortunately, was not  captured but we hope to lay out the traps again in a few weeks, giving the colony time to settle down, before another attempt to catch the remaining “studs”.

Some questions come up when we talk about T-N-R:

  • Are the cats adopted?  Not often.  Adoptable cats are very young and by 12 weeks they are already feral; learning the social and survival skills from other members of the colony.
  • Do you feed the colony? Occasionally we’ll put out  few cups of cat kibble.  Putting out a lot of food will attract cats from other colonies and quickly the yard will be overrun with feral kitties.
  • Why are the cats returned to the factory yard?  The cats are returned to their ‘home’ territory.  If not, new cats will move into this space and you’ll quickly be facing another wave of kitties.  Returning the fixed kitties keeps the population under control as new cats looking for a home will move on.

It’s been a successful campaign.  While we believe we were successful, the real test will come in the spring when new kitties come across from the factory.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad are doing fine; she was the first cat we trapped this year so it’s safe to assume that she as well as the 5 females we trapped, won’t be contributing to nest season’s kitten count.

This year there was one kitten that took to me quickly, greeting me whenever I went out Mr Grayinto the yard, always hanging close (no closer than arm’s length however).  Mr.Gray, pictured here, is the only one of the colony who has figured out the screen door and sneaks into the house and eats Mr. Big’s food.  The larger cat hasn’t complained yet.



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.

It’s late February and, here in Northern California, the weather is starting to break.  We’re still dealing with the rains but the temperatures are getting better with overnight lows dropping to the mid-40s.  For the feral cats that live in the factory behind us things are looking up.

This blog was started to relate the stories of the cats that call this house their home.  In the past few years, however, I’ve also written about some of the strays that come by to visit with the Court cats and share a bowl of kitty crunchies.  I won’t get up on my soap box today and preach the importance of having kitties ‘fixed’ at an early age.  Just keep in mind that serious cat-people have this taken care of quickly when the kitten is old enough for the procedure.

Currently there are 8 regulars in the neighborhood:

Junior, a 21-month-old tiger male.  We were able to catch his mother and 4 junior-nov-2016siblings.  Mom was neutered and released; the siblings were adopted.  Junior watched the family get trapped and avoids cages.

Roger, maybe 5 years old, a tiger with a white chest.  We’re not sure if he is really a stray. mHe is clean, well fed and wears a collar.  We haven’t been able to track him back to his people.  Roger’s territory covers the north side of the street and extends back behind the houses to include the apartments and the funeral home on the next block.  Mr. Big will occasionally cross the street to visit with some of the ‘house cats’ but doesn’t go behind the houses.

Princess, a female, white fur and maybe 3 years old. Our neighbor takes care of theimg_20170115_110522_021 Princess who has been neutered and sees a vet regularly.  She is an outside cat, not quite a feral then again not a house-dwelling cat.

The Trio, 3 siblings, maybe 8 months old and true ferals.  We have not been able to trap them (set out traps every night for a week and a half, managed to catch the same possum every night).  Mr. Big goes out when we put food out and spends an 20161029_174258hour back there with them most mornings.   Last week they managed to catch a finch and left half of the ‘meal’ next to the bowl, sharing the kill.

Blue.  Maybe a year old, lives in the warehouse behind the house.  He is not afraid to approach people as he knows that’s where the food comes from.

Calico Kitty, maybe 6 months and new to this end of the factory yard.  She seems to have figured out the schedules and rules.

We put out food every evening close to sunset (bowls of dry and wet food) and again around 6:30 the next morning.  Most feedings are cleaned up within a half hour; the cats are used to the schedule and know that if they aren’t there, another cat will finish the food.  Our cats don’t seem to mind, as long as the ferals stay out toward the other end of the yard and not approach the back door.  Seems our cats have laid out their territory and marked it well.

The winter hasn’t been too bad; there was a stretch where the overnight lows settled down to 29 degrees for a few weeks.  We assume the strays were able to find a warm dry shelter in one of the old warehouses.  For the first time in years we did not lose anyone.

Come April we’ll attempt to capture a few more of the strays for T-N-R; we want to keep the population down but not extinct.  We don’t have a problem with moles, mice or rats as the cats keep their numbers in check.

As for the Court Cats, with the cold and rain the Blue and the Old Lady stay in the house most of the time, venturing out on those occasional warm afternoons to sprawl on the back steps.  Long about April they’ll be spending more time outside, pursuing lizards and insects. At their age, they no longer go after birds; too much work.  The Old Lady is 13 now and not as agile.  The Blue – well, he never bothers to hunt for fresh food as there was always kitty-crunchies in the bowl.

Till next time –


It has been a while since the past post; I’ve been busy on some other things.  Today I’d like to update on the progress made in dealing with the stray cat population in the neighborhood.  The city where I live supports stray-cat population control through a relationship with the local animal shelter.  To summarize, the city picks up the cost of neuter/spay when a stray is brought in.  The cat is added to the shelter population for adoption or, if an older feral, released in the neighborhood where he was picked up.

In 2015 we successful in that we trapped 6 feral (the parents and 4 of their 5 offspring). The kittens found new forever homes and the parents were released in the neighborhood but have since moved on.

This year we again set out to trap strays.  3 new strays moved into the factory yard. The adult is a large tiger; I guessed his age at 2 to 3 years and he seemed to be quite well fed which leads me to think he was someone’s cat at one point.  There are 2 kittens, maybe 6 months old at this point that have taken to visiting our yard, looking to share a meal with our own cats. The 5th kitten from last year’s litter is still here, visiting most every morning for a meal.

Working the trap for a 10 day period we were able to capture the adult tiger (taken to the shelter) and Paul the Possum (repeatedly).

The current stray population:

Junior, 18 month old tiger.  He has managed to avoid the traps (we’ve tried to catch him on junior-nov-2016a dozen occasions but have not been successful) and has settled into the role of ‘neighborhood cat’.  While he still stops by here in the mornings for a meal, he is also fed by some of the other people living on the court.

The Kittens – They started showing up in the back during the summer.  Not sure where they came from but, due to their coloring, we think their parents started to visit the yard in the early spring.  Always seen together, they come out at sunrise and again near sunset, looking to get a handout.  Mr. Big, our Maine Coon, has taken an interest in these kitties and visits with them at meal time.kitties-and-mr-big

Paul the Possum – A frequent visitor, Paul has spent more time in our trap than all other captures combined.  He likes the cat food we put out and doesn’t seem to mind getting caught, as long as there is food available.20150802_122822

And the Court Cats are all doing fine.  Precious just celebrated her birthday; she’s 13 and is talkative.  Fatty and Mr. Big are doing well; they spend the autumn days sleeping on the back steps, warmed by the sun.precious-at-13

In the fall I posted a blog that covered our attempts to trap-neuter-and-release a family of cats that lives behind our house.  The kittens are 10mmonths old now; time for an update.

There were 5 kittens in the litter.  We were able to trap 4 of them and they were all adopted quickly.  My granddaughter adopted 1 while her mother adopted another.  The shelter told us the 2 gold/white tabbies were also adoped.  The 5th kitten managed to avoid being trapped.  Junior (ok, we named him).


Junior and Mom in September, 4 months old.

The cats continued to come around through the falll and into the winter.  We noticed that the father stopped coming around on a regular basis in November and has not been back since early December.DSCN0541

This picture was taken late in January.  The mother (on the left) is about as big as her 9 month old son.

The mother comes around most mornings, looking for a bite in the early morning and again in the evening, just after sunset.  She won’t hang around after eating; usually has a quick meal and is gone in 15 minutes.


After the father moved on, Junior used to spend time shadowing The Big Guy.  Meal time, nap time andplay time.

Junior, on the other hand, liked visiting and would spend the cold nights in the garage,  sleeping close to the hot water heater where the temperture says around 65 degrees.  We set up a box and blanket where he could snuggle under cloth and keep warm.

In the last few weeks Junior has stopped coming around.  Towards the end of January he stopped sleeping in the garage and hasn’t shown up for meals either.  The assumption is that he has moved on to a new neighborhood where he can find warmth and a meal.    Either that or he succumbed to the winter.  I’d like to think he has found a home where he has a quiet corner near the heater and a bolw of crunchies to snack on.


This is Kimchee, my granddaughter’s adopted kitty, around 6 months, having a conversation with her father through the screen door.

Hopefully we won’t see any new litters this year; the neighborhood females are all fixed and we haven’t seen any new ferals slinking around.

Meanwhile, The Big Guy continues to patrol the neighborhood, going out early  to visit the others on the Court and chase unwanted visitors away.






The cats on the Court have been quiet this past year; the regulars are still found sleeping on front porches or lawn chairs in the afternoon heat.  On Monday nights they go around the the neighborhood checking out the trash cans that have been left out for pickup.  An occasional jogger accompanied by their dog will stir the cats from their slumbers; some go off and hide behind bushes while others strike a pose on the porch steps and stare at the interloper as they transit the block.  Very quiet.

There are a few strays that reside on the court.  On the north side of the street is a tiger male, maybe 2 years old. He usually makes his way around the houses on that side of the street in the early morning and again just about an hour before dusk.  Not sure if he is a stray or if he has a forever house and likes to patrol the neighborhood.DSCN0499

Behind our house is an old factory that hosts a half dozen cats and possums. I’ve been putting a small plate of Cat kibble out for a few years now.  Paying the cats off for taking care of the mice that used to reside in the back. In past years there were a few Tigers (mostly orange and an occasional gray), white cats, blues and others.  Some lasted a year or two, others came and left quickly.  This year we saw a bumper crop of kittens and adult ferals.

We call her Lilly; a regular for the past 11 months, she’s maybe 18 months old and has recently had DSCN0453a litter of 5 kittens.  Probably had them in early May, at the beginning of the “season”.  The litter contained 3 orange tiger males and a pair of gray and black striped females.  Dad seems to be an older persian blend that has been hanging around for about a year.  Currently he and Lilly are a team, never more than a few hundred feet apart.

She was weaning the kittens and  would probably have a litter in the late fall if Dad had anything to do with it.  Time to look into TNR.

Trap-Neuter-Release.  Kittens are cute when young but, after a 20150729_193105year they are cats, not cuddly little fluff balls anymore.  They are skilled hunters and pro-creators.  Left to their own resources their population will grow quickly. In the past the population problems were handled by animal control by eliminating the feral population.  The absence of the cats allows the rodent population to increase, bringing along disease.  TNR programs handle the problem in a much more sensible way.  Males and females are trapped, brought into a humane shelter where they are evaluated for health issues, neutered/spayed then release back into the area they had been trapped.  The ear is clipped so the neutered cats are easily identified.

By releasing the cats back into their territory they keep the rodent population in check and no longer reproduce so the population won’t grow.  The population is kept steady; new cats drift into the territory as old cats die off.

The local animal control officer who provided a humane trap and instructed us on how and when to bait and set the trap. And how to handle trapped cats as well as possums, young raccoons and others who are attracted to the bait.20150729_200355  In 6 days we were able to capture Lilly, Dad and 4 of the 5 kittens.  Later our granddaughter adopted one of the kittens (and had the cat neutered).  Eventually all 4 kittens were all adopted out.  Lilly and Dad were returned to the neighborhood after they were neutered.  She quickly reconnected with the remaining 20150802_122822kitten (we tried for a week to catch him but ended up with the same possum in the trap 4 days in a row).  A neighbor took in another stray and took care of the surgery and shots.  

A few weeks later, the family has settled into a routine (breakfast in our yard at sunrise, spend the day in the neighbor’s yard sleeping on lawn chairs by the pool) and a quick dinner out on the back steps.  The Oak Court Cats have gotten used to them and are frequently share meals.  There are still a few strays out in the back but they must have heard about the trap and avoid the yard.

Last night I heard 2 cats “talking”DSCN0504 through the front screen.  Dad was having a conversation with our kittens, one of his kids.  Not sure but I believe he recognized her scent and was trying to connect with family. At some point she’ll get outside and I wonder if she’ll prefer to stay with her rather than to return to the house.  For now, however, she is the newest member of the clowder.

And, on a sad note, Missey, the “old lady” on the court passed away in late July, just past her 17th birthday. Missey 2013 1 In ‘cat’ years she lived to the ripe old age of 84; I’ll miss those late nights when she’d nudge me awake so that I could walk her to the kitchen for a snack.  Missey came to us as a kitten, shared her food bowl with the rest of the court and only hissed at me when she felt it was necessary.