What do we love about summer? That’s this week’s photo challenge. I thought I’d show you our critters and some local ones enjoying what they love about summer. Sunbathing, open windows, baby birds appearing, running in the fields, shaking the water off after a swim. Life is good.
This is Derry Township Community Cat’s July TNR (trap/neuter/return) week, and kitten season is in full swing. I’ve dubbed it Cuteness Overload Week, with all the little ones coming to spend the week with us. This little one, in particular, has huge ears for such a little thing…gonna be a big cat eventually.
Depending on their age and how much socialization they were able to get from a caregiver, some of the kittens go into the local rescue adoption systems. You have to get to them pretty early and spend a good bit of time with them to make them good adoption candidates, but some make it. Many will not, and will live their lives with their colonies. I have to admire the caretakers who feed and shelter these cats year round, year after year. It is hard work – rewarding in many ways – but difficult. You have to be willing to live with the fact that the outdoor life isn’t easy, no matter how many good things you can provide for these guys. You also have to live with knowing that they don’t want to be indoor cats, so everyone does their best to work with what is.
We have one cat with us this week who is an adult, most certainly male, and as feral as they come. He’s a scraper, and he looks and acts like it. You can tell life has been tough. We can only hope that once he’s neutered things might calm down a little for him. Without the raging hormones and the constant desire to procreate, fighting behaviors decrease and life gets simpler and probably safer.
Though we are enjoying the kittens coming in – how can we not? – we are also glad that there are way fewer kittens than there were last year. We have spayed/neutered around 450 cats in the last 18 months, thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers, and we are all glad to see a small number of kittens this year, instead of roomfuls of them. Our work helps the local rescue groups as well, making life just a touch less overwhelming for them.
We expect to see some more kittens through the summer, and we’ll get these guys and gals neutered and spayed, and expect to see even fewer kittens next year. And in the meantime, we’ll enjoy visiting with this year’s crop.
It stops the neighbors cold. They’re not really sure they’re seeing what they seeing. One of the great joys of letting Hiro, our wandering cat, outside again, is that he really enjoys walking our dog, Butterscotch around the block.
Really. Now, I don’t have any pictures of all of us walking because I haven’t yet figured out how to take a picture of myself walking the dog with the cat, so you will just have to take my word for it. Butterscotch walks with me on leash, and Hiro walks along, sometimes next to us, and sometimes up on a lawn a bit, depending on what else is going on around us. And the neighbors do a double-take. “Is that your cat? ” Yup, that’s Hiro. He won’t walk on a leash to save his life, but he will take the dog for a walk anytime he can.
(Pardon the awful pictures from my cell phone!)
I have to admit that I enjoy amusing the neighbors. I love the surprised looks on their faces. But Hiro surprised me last night.
I hate it when people don’t pick up dog poop when they’re out on walks. It is just plain rude to other walkers. And those of us who walk dogs for a living get extra-annoyed with folks who don’t clean up after their dogs. I always pick up what my dog deposits. But last night was the first time I had to pick up cat poop on a walk. I couldn’t believe that my cat was pooping, out in the open, on someone’s lawn, but then again, outside cats must do this all the time. Still, I couldn’t just let it sit there. And Hiro knows I pick up the dog’s poop. What would he have thought if I refused to pick up his?
So I guess they’re going to have to amend those signs in my area that say things like “please pick up after your dog.” And I’d better plan to carry an extra poop bag on my walks from now on, at least when Hiro is joining us. I guess if I ever need a fecal sample for him, I know how to get one now. In a house with seven cats, getting a sample from a particular cat is pretty much impossible, but Hiro will be a no-brainer now. We’ll just take a walk with Butterscotch.
I do believe Thomas has figured out the appropriate response to the advent of Monday morning…curled up in a cat tree tunnel where Monday can’t find him.