FOZZIE & COOPER
It was 11pm and Jacob was outside his shop, working, when out of the corner of his eye he caught movement. He looked up saw a pair of glowing eyes, then another, and another. A trio of feral cats had gathered to witness his labors.
Jacob’s shop is in an industrial area, flanked on one side by railroad tracks, surrounded by brambles, and close to several busy roads – not the optimal location for outdoor cats. Fortunately, Jacob and his wife, Tien, are cat people. They knew they had to do something for these forgotten felines, so they set up a covered feeding station to get them used to coming to the shop regularly.
One of the cats, a buff tom, who they later named Fozzie, was friendly and sought out attention. This gave Jacob a chance to gain the cats’ trust. It was obvious that Fozzie had seen his fair share of action, evidenced by his many scars, but amazingly he remained sweet and affectionate, not only toward humans, but also toward one of the other ferals, a shy tabby (later named Cooper), who Fozzie took under his paw.
Jacob and Tien knew that one unaltered cat could turn into a dozen or more in the blink of an eye, so they contacted the Feral Cat Coalition (FCCO) and arranged to have their new feline friends spayed and neutered.
They trapped Fozzie and Cooper on the same night and took them to FCCO the next day. Fozzie’s engaging personality won them over so they decided to bring him home, and Cooper was so attached to Fozzie they didn’t want to split them up. Unfortunately Camus, one of Jacob and Tien’s two other indoor cats, was not welcoming to the newcomers so Jacob built a catio on their back deck where Fozzie and Cooper now live. The other four ferals, who are very wild and rarely seen, were returned to the shop area where they are fed. Jacob plans to build a winter shelter for them.
Tien spends time every day hanging out with Fozzie and Cooper in the catio, and coaxing Cooper out of her shell. Already Cooper has allowed herself to be pet, and occasionally even comes to Tien looking for attention. Fozzie and Cooper are often caught snuggling together, and as Fozzie’s scars heal he’s looking more and more like the pampered pet he has become. The catio has sunny perches, scratching posts, ramps, and a hidey-hole where Cooper can feel safe. Next, Jacob plans to “upgrade” their catio by building a covered walkway that connects it to Tien’s office. These former feral felines are really moving up in the world!
Where the cats come from...
I have one, approximately 4 week old kitten that wandered away from a feral cat who had babies in our bushes. She has 3 more. I am taking care of this little male until he is big enough to hopefully be neutered. I hope to catch the other three as well. Will try and get the mother but she is a much harder case. Our neighborhood seems to be overrun with feral cats lately and I would appreciate it if we could neuter these 4 kittens. It would be a start.
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Harry, Blue & Mask
From Nicole & Mary Ellen, Brush Prairie, WA
My partner and I bought a small farm in Brush Prairie, WA, a few months ago. The previous owner had passed away in March. When we purchased the property we saw that there were a few cats on the property. We asked further about them, and were surprised to find out that there were actually five adult cats, two dogs, and two chickens. When asked if we would be willing to continue letting the animals live on the property, of course we said yes. Shortly after we were told, “oh, by the way, two of the momma cats just had kittens.”
There were seven kittens to begin with, and then over a few days there suddenly were eight, then nine, then a total of 11 kittens. They all were so cute but the reality of properly caring for 16 cats, two dogs, and two chickens was overwhelming, especially since I already had two cats of my own and we wanted to have a variety of other farm animals in the future.
I did some research on what to do when you have a large population of stray and feral cats and found FCCO. The first cats we were able to trap were Blue and Mask. Although feral they have been very sweet and excellent moms to the kittens. They trapped easily, were fixed, and had a surprisingly quick recovery. I was worried about their ears being tipped, but it was not as I imagined and it didn’t seem to bother them.
Finally we were able to catch who we assume is the father...Harry. He was able to be fixed after weeks of attempts, larger traps, and finally the drop trap. Even though he was the hardest to catch, he seems to be happier and more mellow since he was neutered, although he is terribly skittish.
Today, we have a much more manageable group, and we have been able to find good homes for one of the adult cats, and ten of the kittens (we decided to keep two, and we will keep the last little guy until we find a good home...or maybe he’ll just have to stay!).
We are so grateful for FCCO’s services because without it we would not have been able to afford to have all the animals spayed and neutered. We so appreciate knowing that they have also received medical care, and that we are doing our part in being responsible caretakers.
Where the cats come from...
We had a young cat show up at our house pregnant and had her litter of three in the neighbors yard. Now the happy little family lives at our house. How old do the kittens need to be before we can get them fixed? I see a very bad trend starting if we don’t put and end to this population explosion soon. They are happy to eat our food, not so happy to be near us . . .
From LeeRoy B., of Portland, with help from Kim U. and Heidi B
My name is LeeRoy. That’s me in the picture. Sure, I look great now. That wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t long ago that I was skinny, with matted fur, fleas and a broken tooth. I was hungry and—I’m not afraid to admit—more than a little scared. But I lucked out because I ended up in a yard with some other cats where there was food.
Eventually I got bold enough to slip through a screen door to a utility room where a lady started petting me and putting out soft warm blankets. I thought things were about as good as they could get. However, soon I was being whisked away in a metal trap to a place where there were a lot of other cats in traps. I don’t remember much of what happened next, but after I got back I started getting stronger and healthier.
Shortly thereafter the nice lady took me to a new house, and now I’ve really got it good. In my new home I rule the roost, overseeing several dogs and even humans.
Now I curl up wherever I want and there seems to be an endless supply of food, toys and treats. Oh, I almost forgot: love and affection, too. I’ve actually come to crave the attention, I have to admit. (I must be getting very soft in my advancing years.)
My new companions adore me and follow all of my orders, as it should be. My human says she got lucky the day I arrived, but I would have to say that I’m the lucky one.