Feed one stray cat, create a cat colony

Percha with a sunburned nose. Photo by Karen O’Brien
Percha with a sunburned nose. Photo by Karen O’Brien
Most of us know that saying that no good deed goes unpunished. Of course, it is meant as a joke. However, in some instances the saying holds true. For instance, a kind soul feeds the abandoned cat on the doorstep. Next thing that happens is a dozen cats and kittens on the doorstep waiting to be fed.

I stopped at a state park recently and discovered a kind volunteer who had inadvertently created a cat colony. It all started with a cat that escaped its owners and still managed to survive in the wilderness of the park. He began feeding her. The beautiful Siamese cat had not been spayed, so she proceeded to produce several litters of kittens. Some of the kittens survived predation and disease and began to produce litters also. Soon he was feeding up to 18 cats and kittens.

When I stumbled over the colony at the park, I knew, in this instance, the colony could be controlled, since the volunteer was willing to work with me to have the population spayed and neutered. Now I am connecting with other rescuers to get that task accomplished.

On my first trip, I picked up a beautiful orange and white male called Percha. While the volunteer loved Percha, he knew the cat would not survive the predators of the park over the long term. He wanted his beloved cat to go into a safe and loving home. Percha thinks people are wonderful and loves to bump his head against friends. He has been neutered and had all his shots and is available for adoption (see my information below if that loving home is yours).

On the same trip, I picked up a young black female. When I got her home, I discovered she is a five-toed kitty, with her front paws that look like mittens. This youngster loves to cuddle and sneaks up on the bed for more cuddles at night. She is young yet, but will be spayed in a few weeks. In the meantime, she waits for her perfect human match.

Later, I returned and picked up a litter of very young kittens. These rescues were only about half of the cats and kittens living wild.

A cat colony in your yard or neighborhood can happen just this easily. One sweet cat and one sweet person equal lots of cats and kittens.

When a cat arrives in your neighborhood, I recommend taking action sooner rather than later. It is much easier to manage one or two cats and kittens than dozens. Talk with your neighbors to enlist their help in finding homes or caring for the neighborhood cats. Catch the cats and kittens and get them spayed or neutered. Your actions will prevent a large colony from forming.

Many groups, such as ACTion Programs for Animals, Big Kitty Fix, SNAP (Spay Neuter Action Program), and Cat’s Meow, help responsible people to tend their neighborhood cats and kittens (dogs and puppies, too, but that’s another story). These organizations offer resources for caring for a cat population. Their resources range from spay and neuter clinics to advice and traps for catching cats to opportunities to get cats into homes.

I tackled rescuing the cats in the park because it is a manageable problem. The volunteer wanted to the best for the cats and kittens. He loved them enough to commit to rescuing as many as possible, including his personal companion. He also agreed to help others trap, spay and neuter the remaining cats.

You can change the life of a cat and kittens by tackling this problem in your own backyard. Each cat that is spayed and neutered, released or adopted is a success story. Discover your success story.

Jackye Meinecke is a freelance writer. She also is an animal guardian and rescuer. Contact her at gardens@zianet.com or call 323-0903.