Mia kateto estas tre bela!

Posted on Monday, January 19, 2009

I think I mentioned that my neighbor Judith and I rescued a feral cat and her litter of kittens from a local park this summer. I currently have two of these kittens as permanent members of our household. We found other homes for all of the other kittens with one exception. We kept trying to find a home for Murray, but Judith decided to make her November birthday the deadline. If Murray hadn't found a "forever home" by then, Judith would offer him a permanent position in her own home. As it turned out, at the end of that month Judith contacted all the local businesses that had put up signs on Murray's behalf. He was no longer available for adoption. He was Judith's cat now and forever.

That left the mom cat: Nori. Although we had hoped that she would adjust to an indoor life, such was not to be. And that's the problem with feral cats, at least adult feral cats. If they were never socialized in their kitten days, what's to become of them? Realistically, there are only two choices. One is to trap them and humanely euthanize them. The other is to trap them, sterilize them, inoculate them against common cat diseases, and release them back into their original territory. This second option does nothing to protect them from predators or the elements, but it does give them the opportunity to live our their lives in what they consider "normal" conditions without contributing further to the on-going feral cat problem.

Although Nori had established relationships with select human beings, she didn't adjust to being kept indoors. We were hopeful at first. She let us pet her (almost unheard of for feral cats) and would even purr in response! But once we started sending her kittens away to their own homes, she lost all faith in us. She continues to live in Judith's home, but is clearly unhappy being there.

In the meantime, I spent all autumn volunteering at a local farm that has been turned into a historical site. We hosted first grade and sixth grade students there from September through December. My main station was the chicken coop. We told the 6-year-olds that, had they lived on the farm 100 years ago, they might have been in charge of taking care of the chickens. We gave them a flavor of what that might have been like. They fed the chickens. They collected eggs. They learned how to candle them. And all that time, I kept half an eye on the original 1897 barn across the pasture. What a shame, I thought, that there were no animals housed there now. And what a fine opportunity, I thought, for a barn cat.

At the end of the season, one of the museum staff mentioned (with great revulsion) that she had seen a rat run under the chicken coop. I decided the time was right. I went home and wrote up Nori's resume and sent it on to the museum. I don't think the director had ever seen a feline resume. This is what I wrote:

"My neighbor and I rescued this cat along with her 7 (!) kittens from Isaac Evans park this summer. The mom cat had a bit of a "fan club" who had been providing her with extra food for months, so, although feral, she had established some relationships with select humans. In fact, it was one of these people who picked her up for us and put her in a crate after we had live-trapped the kittens (she wasn't going to fall for our trap herself).The same person told us that mom cat had been born in the park the previous summer.

* Nori is only about 18 months old and in excellent health

* She is now spayed, so would not be contributing any kittens

* She will not be attracting the attentions of mischievous or destructive tom cats

* She has all her shots, so should not contract or spread any serious diseases

* Although she had been receiving some food at the park, we know she is an excellent hunter

* She is very savvy about avoiding predators, having kept herself and her kittens safe and healthy during their free-roaming days (all the kittens survived and now have permanent homes)

* She would make herself scarce when visitors come to the farm, but would probably establish a relationship with [caretaker] Stan (or whoever filled her food &water dishes regularly).

* And, she's a very attractive black cat with white markings (she didn't have a fan club for nothing!)

(Veterinary records are, of course, available)

"My neighbor continues to foster Nori in her home, but, even after several months, Nori is clearly unhappy with what she thinks is unnatural confinement. I think that life as a barn cat would be a perfect situation for Nori, providing her a bit more safety and security than she had in her feral days, while giving her the opportunity to roam and hunt in the manner she would clearly prefer. Mostly though, I think she would be an excellent match for the farm's requirements should you guys decide to go with a barn cat.

"Sorry about the length of this, Boss. I just wanted to put her resume in writing so that you would know of Nori's interest should the job come open.

"Thanks for considering her,

Kristy "

Guess what? She got the job! We get to take her to the farm next week. Please wish us luck in helping Nori make the transition to her new life.

8 Response to "Mia kateto estas tre bela!"

JenK Says:

Yay for Nori! Nice work if you can get it. Did they clip her ear to mark her as sterilized? It didn't look like it in the pic but I couldn't tell.

Also, that sounds like a really fun volunteer gig, especially for a history nut.

Danger Panda Says:

Hi Jen. Nope, no ear clip. I was all for it, but Judith is too much of a bleeding heart to let it happen. Hopefully, she'll adopt the farm as her territory and won't have to worry about recapture.

And it was an AWESOME volunteer gig. I'll probably be doing it again next year.

Margaret Says:

Barn cats love to hunt rats, so she will adapt well I think. Our Kendra is from barn cat stock and she is not completely an indoor cat. She prefers to be outside, unless it's cold.

JoJo Says:

HURRAY FOR NORI!!!!! Awesome resume for her too! That's really cool that you and your friend have done so much for Nori and her babies.

Danger Panda Says:

Margaret, she is quite the hunter. I'm sure she'll be well occupied.

JoJo, Thanks! She's a pretty lucky kitty, I'd say...

Albert Says:

In Dutch i say she is a "gelukzak"!!!
Litterally translated a "pocket with luck"!
Well done!

FirstNations Says:

way to go! thats another star in your crown, and what an excellent happy ending for momcat, too.

you know what, I've just been through your neck of the woods a whole bunch of times recently...we need to get together chickie. i think that would be a stone grooooooove. *flashes peace sign*

Danger Panda Says:

Franchine, yes! She has been very lucky. There is no joy for most feral cats.

FN, Why the hell didn't you call/write/stop?!?! Yes, we'd drink some small-brew beer and burp the National Anthem and decide who would have made the better Miss Oregon Flanel Queen of 1970 (we could arm-wrestle for the title, for example). Dude. I'm here for ya.

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