Update for TNR Fund

Update for TNR Fund

Dear feral friends,

Here’s a riddle for you: when does a cat become feral?

Ages of sages will never answer that one definitively. But, at Tabby’s Place, our working answer is Never, if we can help it.

To say that we’re fond of feral cats would be a ghastly understatement. We’re wild about the wildest members of our feline family, and it’s our delight to help and love and care for them through our TNR program.

Yet we wouldn’t wish the feral life upon any new kitten. Even under the sweetest circumstances, life outdoors is lacking in the cuddles and safety of a home. And so, every spring, our TNR work collides into “kitten season” with epic force.

Right up there with flowering trees and heavenly weather among Sure Signs of Spring is pregnant mama cats and countless kittens. With the long winter long over, spring is 1,000% here…and so are the kittens.

This month, we welcomed two pregnant moms to Tabby’s Place. Petite tortie Magnolia is scarcely more than a baby herself at 9 months of age. Coming to Tabby’s Place put her in a state of terror — and, unfortunately, the throes of labor, a week too soon. Of Magnolia’s six premature kittens, only four survived. (We named the little ones who passed away Fringe and Abelia, sticking with the “flowering trees” theme.)

The survivors were exceedingly fragile; one of the boys, Yoshino, nearly lost his fight after a few days, only to bounce back with astonishing vigor, thanks to the heroic efforts of our vet team. Tragically, all the heroism in the world wasn’t enough to save his sister Forsythia, who passed away surrounded by love. Yoshi, brother Satomi and sister Azalea continue to grow, and Dr. C notes that the fact they’ve survived at all is testament to their extraordinary foster moms. For her part, mama Magnolia remains timid but healthy.

In the midst of all this hope and heartache, our second semi-feral mom, Patrice, arrived at Tabby’s Place. Unlike Magnolia, Patrice was ready to pop — and very quickly did just that, birthing six happy, healthy babies (the “How I Met Your Mother” litter of Marshall, Marvin, Carl, Robin, Barney and Ted, pictured moments after being born, below left). Patrice’s sextet is doing fabulously, and she is by all accounts an outstanding mother — as you can see above.

From there, the kittens came fast and furious. Next was fat, healthy orphan Hydrangea, found alone at the age of two weeks. She’s thriving in the loving care of another staff member.

The next two litters of kittens might sound made for an episode of Maury: kittens with missing mamas, and the mamas who love them. Not one, but two newborn litters were found on the same property. Wily mother cats are exceptional at eluding traps, so the moms were nowhere to be found when we first got their babies. However, we’ve sighted these madcap mothers and continue our efforts to trap them. In the best case scenario, we’ll bring these mums back to Tabby’s Place, where they can nurse and nurture their own babies. If they elude us indefinitely, we’ll raise the kittens ourselves. Either way, both the “Mad Men” litter (Joanie, Peggy, Roger and Betty) and the Muppet litter (Gonzo, Beaker and Janice) will be loved and well “mothered.” (And odds are very strong that our team will get those moms. Few creatures of any species are wilier than our staff. :-))

Dear feral friends, your generosity is helping to guarantee these little smidgens a better life than their predecessors. These newborns now have every chance of growing up happy, healthy and adored, and one by one they will be adopted into loving homes. Life is transformed for their brave mamas as well, as they’ll now be loved and cared for through our ongoing TNR work. For all that you do, for every generation of Tabby’s Place cats, thank you from the bottom of my heart.