Late spring has been a whirlwind for the wildest cats in the Tabby’s Place universe. First, let’s catch up with some old friends.
Where we last left our creamsicle-colored not-so-feral mama and her kittens, they’d just been whisked from a Philadelphia warehouse to the safety of Tabby’s Place. First, the bad news: mama Halladay and one of her babies, tiny Cole, tested positive for FIV.
Tabby’s Place does have an FIV+ Suite for kitties infected with feline immunodeficiency virus. However, this suite maxes out at ten … and there was “no room at the inn” when Halladay and her brood joined us. Of course, we wouldn’t dream of returning these sweethearts to the outdoors — Halladay’s friendliness, and her kittens’ youth, closed the door on the “R” part of TNR. So we determined to create a sort of secondary FIV+ suite in what’s generally been the “kitten nursery” room at Tabby’s Place.
That was our plan, anyway. However, sometimes things have a way of working out even more sweetly than we could possibly design. As you might imagine, mama cats usually see their little ones adopted long before they find their own forever homes. But snuggle-bug Halladay reversed that order, finding a family of her own before a single one of her babies.
Just days later, one of Tabby’s Place’s volunteers generously agreed to foster the only FIV+ kitten, little Cole … and, almost immediately, became 99.9% sure she would permanently adopt him! This isn’t certain just yet, but it’s as close as close can be. Of course, I will keep you posted.
Where does that leave Halladay’s other babies, Chase, Chooch, and only-daughter Mayberry? The two rough-and-tumble boys are already on hold to be adopted, and Mayberry … well, we are all scratching our heads over that one. How could it be that adopters keep overlooking our little angel-girl? I can only imagine she’s awaiting someone very special. Although Mayberry and her brothers have tested negative for FIV, since Halladay and Cole were positive, we will be retesting Mayberry, Chooch and Chase one last time just to confirm their FIV- status. But make no mistake: it’s all over but the happy forever homes for these little orange puffs.
As kitten season marches on, so does our parade of feral mamas. One slinky little sable mom, little more than a teenager herself, came our way with three lookalike babies. Unlike Halladay, this mama was a true feral, and so we have safely returned her to her colony post-spay. She’s doing beautifully — and her babies are slooooowly learning to trust humankind at Tabby’s Place. As you can see from the photo above, little Hodor, Rickon and Arya aren’t entirely sure about us just yet, but we’re giving them all the love and patience they need to blossom in their own time.
It’s not all about mamas and kittens on Team TNR, though. Our mission at the local prison — two years and counting — continues. At times we feel we may have tripped over Pandora’s box with this project. Just when we thought we were down to the final few “stragglers” among the prison’s feral cats, our team uncovered a whole new complication: the other colony.
The prison, which is itself a many-acred facility, sits adjacent to the rambling property of another public facility. Unlike the prison, this facility has not been responsive to our calls, so we haven’t been able to trap cats from their property. However, their ferals freely intermingle with those from the prison…and, to put it mildly, there are a lot of them. To put this in perspective, we have a white board at Tabby’s Place where we keep track of the estimated number of ferals at each colony where we are trapping. At this point, for the prison, our “estimated number” of cats is…um, an infinity symbol.
It’s been humbling to realize how much is not in our control with this particular colony. But, whatever we can accomplish on the cats’ behalf, over however long a time period, we are in it with our whole hearts. These are a wild and wily kindle of cats, so they’re forcing us to “raise our game” and learn their ways. For instance, this week we were only able to catch one cat at the prison…and she was already spayed. But we forge ahead, with love, pluck, and prayer.
And, quite essentially, with your faithful support. Dear sponsors, thank you for standing with our feral cats so steadfastly. They are blessed by your love and generosity. Have a magnificent start to the summer, and I look forward to bringing you more news in July.