Soft Touch

Summer has arrived. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, the UK is currently experiencing temperatures normally seen in the tropics and it's glorious. Especially as my hay fever season is largely over. I've thrown every door and window open letting in the sunshine. I'm swanning around in summer dresses and have adopted a mostly chilled liquid diet. 

Rummy, as a mostly black cat, is not enjoying it so much. I spent some sofa time earlier in the week and he lay next to me. Or at least he started that way. Once the patch he lay on got too hot, he then moved over to the next cool spot and then the next. Until he ran out of sofa, then he skulked off to hide in the hall where it's cool and dark.


Rummy having a snooze

I suspect Zoe is cursing my name and very existence. I seem to have landed her with more hostages. Since last autumn, there's been a little feral cat living under her woodpile. She produced another litter of kittens in the spring. As the sister of a vet, I would rather see her spayed and released back here. It's a tough life for a feral queen cat, especially one who is obviously such a considerate mum. She is a fantastic hunter. Her success is her four lively kittens. But a few weeks ago, I started worrying about her. Her coat was looking very scraggly and she looked overly thin for a nursing mum. She started hanging around my garden, looking for scraps. I gave in and fed her. She inhaled two packets of cat food and ran off in five minutes.

Then Zoe started feeding her in the evenings. Her patience and gentleness has tamed the feral puss to the point where she now welcomes being stroked and comes for affection even without food. Zoe contacted several cat charities to see if they could catch the kittens for spaying and re-homing and to see if they would spay the mama. They've been less than helpful. In any case, it's too late.

Mama is up the duff and I think it's not long before she produces the second litter. This time, we'll be ready for her. Dave has agreed to donate a cat hutch so we can use that to encourage her to queen in there (queening is the proper term for kitty birthing - I had to look it up). The wood where she nests is about to be hauled away, so it's fairly imperative we get her used to somewhere new before she queens. 

The little cat and Rummy are generally fine with each other, until she comes into the garden looking for food and then they'll have a set to. It's never very serious, a lot of grandstanding, growling and hissing. Rummy might be a touch over-possessive with me, but he's not a total asshole with it (though Boy won't agree with me. Rummy pees on his dirty clothes if he can). When I think of the hidings he's had at the paws of the Lynx. Humpf. Given how tiny the little feral cat is, if Rummy was in a mind to, he could do her some serious damage. But no. He simply would rather she didn't come into the garden.
Spot the difference? About a couple of kilos, I reckon
This is the little feral cat

It's quite disconcerting. I'll be sat at my dinning table writing or arting and then my Spidey sense tingles. There'll be a little face peering at me through the glass. She always hisses at me for a greeting. I think it's just her way of showing she's a total badass and has totally got this.  

It's really good that she comes around. Rummy, despite being a rescue cat, is a fussy bugger when it comes to food. He gets bored and requires regular brand rotations or he won't eat. If I get it wrong, she'll eat it. She's not proud.

Dave thinks I'm a totally soft touch. He's not wrong. There's now a bowl for her at my back door. Yesterday, Rummy caught a field mouse. He and I had a big scrap. The mouse did not help itself at all. Every time I got Rummy to drop it, the stupid thing ran under Rummy to hide! Honestly, at one point I though it's absence from the gene pool would be better for field mice everywhere. I couldn't do it. I couldn't see the poor thing killed. I finally caught it and swatted Rummy for growling at me. I put it in a bucket to recover and then I thought it was too exposed, so I got it some cover. Of course it was really hot, so I put a small dish of water in there. And then it might get hungry...

Dave withheld the lecture, he's got such good self-control. He just asked me if I was going to get a cage for it. I kept looking in on the little mouse and after a couple of hours I set it free. Yes, I think I am a conman's wet dream. Jeez. 

Comments

  1. I have been following the woodpile cats' story over at Z's, hoping that an animal control agency would find homes for them or at least neuter them. Sadly, feral cats live short and violent lives compared to our house cats.

    I also liked the mouse story. I hope it does well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know there are charities who say they'll spay and release. But frankly, with the economy doing so poorly, their donations must be so down that they can no longer do this.

      Z has agreed that I can contact the charity I got Rummy from to see what they suggest.

      The mama cat is welcome here. She's a great deterrent for the vermin that interfere with the velociraptors. But the babies...I haven't seen them and I wonder if she's driven them off in preparation for the next litter.

      If we've got more control over where she queens, we'll be able to socialise the kittens so they can be rehomed. One of the charities Z talked to said it was too late for the spring litter, they'll be wild forever more. I would have like to have had them spayed though...

      As for the mouse, well, if its street smarts don't improve, it'll be back.

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  2. Its going to be another hot one today. I think I'll have to get my summer dresses out too!

    I totally understand your feelings towards feral cat/mouse/every other hard-done-by creature. Froglets are emerging from our pond, but Cedplop (the most annoying cat in the world - who is also a ruiner of things), lies in wait for them, bashes them with his paws then gobbles them up! I've taken to providing an escape route for the froglets using upturned black plastic crates that lead from the pond to the flower border. May be some will survive?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully, some will get through. Had the same problem with Solitaire at the house in Norwich. She scythed through the ranks of froglets.

      Delete
  3. you two darlings more than make up for my "no pets ever again" mentality! too much nature here on the plantation has turned my heart rock solid...oh wait, look there's a cardinal in the back garden! ;) xoxoxox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww...

      Though I agree they are a responsibility. No hopping on a plane for a surprise visit on a whim.

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  4. I haven't entirely given up hope for the kittens. At least the tabby one.

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  5. I'm with Savvy, pets controlled my life for well over ten years, I'm enjoying my freedom to come and go as I please without all the pet associated angst.
    But... sometimes I do look at kitty and puppy photos and think, maybe one day.
    Sx

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    Replies
    1. You could be a pet aunt. The best of both worlds. Have a cute fix and then hand them back?

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