Bob and Kathy's Adventures with Feral Cats

The 1999 Edition, Pt III

November 13, 1999,

Hello Everyone,

Just thought I'd bring you up to date with what's been happening here at the Rude Ranch. We are currently to something like 13 cats from a record high of 19 a couple of months ago. We also now have 2 dogs -- kind of. Here's what's happened since the last update:

Jazzy Jasmin, our tuxedo clad, high energy, nip-o-holic acrobat foster cat and AC the mother of the litter of kittens we found homes for both found homes in late October. Jasmin went with the warning that she was a high energy cat. She seems to be settling into her new home nicely. Last we heard she was busy helping rearrange the Christmas decorations. AC seems to be having a little trouble settling in, but they are working on it.


Our two resident wild cats, Penty and Gunny are also making progress. Now they merely run from us rather than hissing, growling and biting. We were getting tired of getting antiboitics for the bites anyway.

Once again, things at the ranch were starting to quiet down, meaning only one thing could happen: we got a call, there was a lady in Laurel Maryland who was trapping cats and kittens from a feral colony. Could we help?

Working with our usual amount of forethought and organization, we told the lady yes we could take several kittens. We told her they had to be tested and feline leukemia negative for us to take them. We told her to start bringing them. Then we started thinking. She was bringing upwards of 6 kittens. Feral kittens. Kittens that would have to be in cages. We took inventory. We had one cage and Penty and Gunny were in it. (At least they were supposed to be, when they weren't busy breaking out of it. We made a hurried call to our wholesale supplier. All they had were ferret cages. Close enough. We managed to get the cages together before the first two kittens arrived.

The first two kittens were brother and sister, about 4 months old. They were promptly named Scully and Mulder. Coally and Fraidi weren't far behind.

Scully (smooching with Bones) and Mulder

Coally and Fraidi

The Rude Cats weren't too pleased with these developments. After all the new cats were getting more attention than they were. They started getting even in several ways: hairballs started showing up in shoes, clothes, and on the TV remote. (This one really hurt Bob) The next development really turned their lives around.

Remember Bruno, the big dog who was kind of the nieghborhood stray? Well he was still around. He was still a really nice dog. Bob and I kept trying to talk ourselves out of taking him in. But then we saw him almost get hit by a car --- twice. Then Bob commented that he was fun to play wrestle with. Ok we were getting attached to him and didn't want to see anything happen to him. So we put him in the garage. He wasn't happy in the garage. He tried to dig his way through the garage door. We will probably be replacing the insulation in our garage door sometime next spring. Let's just say for several weeks everytime we opened the garage door, it looked like there had been some kind of snow man massacre.

Bruno gets rowdy

Bruno also didn't do well with the cats. While the cats all felt that Boomer was no threat to them and got along well with him, Bruno was another story altogether. To the cats he was an 85 pound, drooling fur ball looking for a party. To Bruno the cats were SEFID (self-energizing feline interactive dog) toys. Whenever Bruno would see a cat, he would run towards it to make friends. Said cat would take off for parts unknown on the third floor of the house. Most of the cats started staying exclusively on the third floor of the house. Bruno was denied access to the third floor of the house. Turns out there is a dog corallary to the cat rule about absolutely getting into areas that are forbidden. Bruno started breaking through our barriers to get upstairs.

Traditionally when a cat wants to hide from something really bad, the cat heads under the bed. After his second trip to the third floor of the house, Bruno figured this out. From the third breakout on the first thing Bruno did was to dive under the bed. Approximately .03 seconds later 5 -6 cats would come shooting out from under the bed heading in several directions at maximum warp. Turns out Billie Jo is still our fastest cat, but Maggie is a close second.

Back to the ferals... we soon got a call. Another cat was coming from the feral colony in Laurel. One problem... all our cages were full. Fortunately, Gunny and Scully had gotten tame enough to let have the run of the feral room. Taz moved right in.


Our next adventure was to have everyone spayed and neutered. It went well for most of the cats, except Taz. Bob was holding her for the vet to inject the knock out shot. Taz took one look at the needle and pretty much said "NO Way", curled her body around Bob's arm, pushed off and started a 20 minute chase around the building. The vet calmly stuck the next cat and said he would get back to her. At least Bob didn't drip too much blood as he was chasing her.

The next week it was Bruno's turn. We think the vet survived.

Coming next..... Finding Homes, and the things you find in the street.....