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Cat families

Now that I'm back in town, there's no sign of the teenage stray kittens who were hanging around our porch before we left. It's been a few days now, so I guess they must have moved on.

However, someone else showed up when I started putting kitten chow out again: their mother.

She's a skinny, gorgeous tortoiseshell who never did get comfortable with humans. I call her the queen because she sits right outside the back door on her hindquarters, all thin and regal, staring directly at you through the glass. Doesn't ask, doesn't move, just sits and stares as if by force of will she can compel you to walk out the door. When the handle clicks, she's gone in a flash back to her spot under the porch, but as soon as you set out the food and disappear, she'll creep back out, startling at every person-noise, and grab what she needs.

She's the one who taught her kittens to come get food from us until you're big enough to catch it on your own. Usually she makes her own way, but for a few days she'd been unusually bold about coming on the porch. So we fed her, and later we discovered why: there were four little shadows creeping after her. Two orange ones, a black one, and a grey one, and sadly I don't have photos, but when Wolf gets home, he does. She stuck around until the kittens were brave enough to get their own, and then vanished again. She's good like that: she only came for food when she needed it for her milk and then to teach her kittens while they were still small.

But now the kittens are grown and left, and she's back again, and her belly's swelling. I didn't know cats could get pregnant again so fast.

The father is a friendly black guy we call Half-tail. He must have been a former housecat whose owners abandoned him, because he has no fear of people. He happily twines around your legs and he loves to roll over and get his tummy rubbed. But he's all solid muscle underneath, and never been spayed, and lost the top half of his tail somewhere along the way, so they must have left him young.

Wolf says maybe we should take him in to get fixed, but I'm not so sure. Maybe they could help the infections in his eye and his tail, but I still don't see what right we have.




( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 29th, 2011 06:46 am (UTC)
1) if you spay him, I bet some other tom will turn up to get the female pregnant again.
2) new tom might be a nuisance, not friendly
3) spaying the mother would be the best.
4) I don't see there is any conflict of rights or anything here, because as humans we have every right and every responsibility for custodianship of our environment. In Aust I would say hands-down, spay them both, for the sake of the wildlife. There? Dunno. I mean if it seems like they are suffering for the continual pregnancies etc then I would do it. And if the kittens don't live too good a life either...
5) taking the boy-cat to the vet to get him checked out and his eye sorted would be a nice thing to do for him. Even trying to find a new "forever home" for him too, if he is people-friendly, would be the best thing you could do for him (and any of the kittens, and spaying the mother if you can catch her, but sounds like you might not be able to. You might be able to find a vet willing to do it at cost seeing how they are strays. Can you not officially have pets there? Adopting them all would nice!
6) oh that mother cat is so beautiful! And the boy cat too - but we all know I have the biggest soft spot for black cats *grins*
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:55 am (UTC)
as humans we have every right and every responsibility for custodianship of our environment

Yeah but that's what I was thinking about. Like I know it's bad for people to have lots of cats but they're just one family. How come humans get to say that one is too many and turn all human-cats into spayed and neutered ones? If it was talking about spaying a disabled person there would be a giant outrage.

The reason we can't bring them inside is because of Pk's allergies. Which I think is weird too, because I grew up with cats and she got tested in college and why would cats suddenly start making you sick like that? That's what Wolf wanted to do with the kittens, but they decided not to.

I'm scared if we took the boy cat to the vet then they'd say they wouldn't help him unless they spayed him too and I wouldn't be able to stop them.

How does it harm the wildlife for them to be there? There's less anoles, but there's also less rats and less roaches, which were really a problem in the house before.
Aug. 29th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
Sorry for the shorthand, we are really really in a fucked-in-the-head place at the moment. :-/

1) agreed about who gets to decide. I was trying to convey that if *they* are suffering, for whatever reason, then it would be a reason to intervene.
2) if the wildlife and ecological balance was thrown because of them then to intervene is pretty much what humans need to do these days. I meant with the wildlife in AUST!!! lol :-D because there is oodles of evidence that wild cats, and house-cats allowed to roam at night especially, are helping drive species to extinction.
So my immediate response of "Spay them then try to get them off the streets!!!" comes from that paradigm. Then I realised it may not be relevent at all in the US!
Allergies: You can become allergic to something you weren't bfore. Like if your overall allergy/reaction levels are higher now than when you were in college then that may be why you are reacting to things not that you weren't then. It is pretty common where allergies are concerned. Unfortunately :-(

we react worse to some cats than others. Our beloved Sepa was particularly bad for us. Used to drive our eyes insanely itchy. Also I think it is a length of exposure thing for us too - we react more to Hattie now than we did years ago. Some cats we barely react to at all. YAY!
Also, we've found with Hattie that the food she eats can make a BIG difference as to how we react, and I think that may be what makes the difference with other cats too. Sepa used to eat whiskettes, and when Hattie was on them I was as allergic to her as Sepa. But the stuff Hattie is on now is pretty benign as far as allergy reactions go.
So there you go! My suggestion is to change their food and they may make you react less???

As for the boy cat - can you just take him to the vet and not tell them he is basically homeless? Just get the vet to look at the eye and treat it and any other issues? Actually it sounds like he isn't basically homeless, it sounds like he has adopted you as his indoor humans while he is your outdoor cat? Kinda reframe it, you know?
Why don't you want him neutered? Is the ethical "I don't have a right to interfere with the Natural Order of things" issue? or is it monetary or ??? *curious*

Is there any law that says an official pet cat has to be neutered? Here it is frowned upon, but as I said the feral cat/roaming housecat problem causes endangerment of species, so it is understandable. But they can't make you neuter it. They can, however, charge you if the cat registered to you is causing a nuisance of itself by roaming and picking fights etc, for whatever reason, mating or otherwise. And charge you more to register an unneutered pet.
And if there were complaints about an unregistered cat then anyone could trap it and take it to the pound where it would be lucky if it was re-homable, and then even more lucky if it did find a home.

A bit of research ( that kind of info is on our council website) might help you work out how you can get him some medical treatment without impinging on his spirit *smiles*

- Leonie

Aug. 29th, 2011 01:12 pm (UTC)
It's not monetary and I wasn't 100% sure what I thought, I just wanted to look at different perspectives. Because my parents always did it but aside from it being the law then, I didn't know any good reasons for it. And Ballastexistenz draws all these parallels between disability power dynamics and human-cat relationships, and it seems like an intrusive thing to do for a human cosmetic reason if there's nothing actually hurting the cat.

I don't know what the laws are here so I should go look it up. I also don't know about endangerment of species. The green anole is rare, but I don't know if cats are a big threat to them, because they live in trees and it's the more aggressive brown anoles on the ground that are driving them out of their homes.

Sorry you're not feeling so good. :( I hope you feel better soon.

... (((hugs))) if you would like them :) ...

I'm still not sure about the vet but I bet it will help if I find out the law.
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, like hugs. Thanks. Feeling a lot more stable for the moment now, thankfully, and bedtime isn't far away.

I don't know what I would think if I was in a place where cats weren't an obvious and clear danger to one hell of a lot of biodiversity.

What are the parallels he draws? *curious*

and interesting about the brown anoles and green ones. Maybe like greenants! ginger ants drive them away, little buggers! so you never get the two species together. Green ants are waaay better from a human perspective! You can eat them! And ginger ants are horrible and their bite is like a fireant, apparently, except they don't swarm like a fire ant. And besides, greenants are just waaay kewl. So the case is settled. Greenants are to be encouraged, gingerants not!


*is being silly* :-)
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)
It's a she, and, um, she knows a lot about being a disabled person and having your caretaker do really abusive and unhelpful stuff in the name of "what's best for you". Then they justify it by saying they're good people with good intentions so they couldn't possibly do anything wrong, and it makes it so they won't listen when you try to say there is something wrong.

But I really really don't know that much about biodiversity so maybe cats are a problem here like they are in Australia, I don't know. It doesn't make sense though because there were a bunch of cat species before the Europeans came and isn't that usually the thing that really messes up an ecosystem, when a new invasive species gets introduced?

:P I want to be silly too but it's hard.
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Oh I think I understand - I understand that dynamic at anyrate.

One of the things I love about cats is how they don't NEED humans. A bit harder to abuse them and keep on abusing them, than it is for dogs I think.

Yeah I have wondered that about the US. That it had cat species already. But it may have something to do with numbers as well. An interesting thing to look into perhaps. In Aust it has been a huge issue over the years so I know a fair bit about it.
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
Hey hey I can be silly enough for both of us!! Hello how are you j-t?!

Love Indigo Elf!
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
Okay! Yeah you be silly for me then!

I'm good but I have to run to work right now which is no fun at all :(
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Oh no! That is BORING!!! but we have to go to bed soon so that is BORING too! How BORING for us both?!

- Indigo Elf
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
Ginger ants sound like they ought to taste good! Then you could eat them all and make them go away so they didn't bother the green ones.

Did you ever eat chocolate ants?
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
eeek! Never eaten a ginger ant! I would be too frightened they would bite my tongue *cracks up laughing at the thought* But if they were edible they would be a great source of protein.

Indigo Elf thinks they would tickle on the way down!

Nope, never eaten a chocolate ant. You?
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
"I'm scared if we took the boy cat to the vet then they'd say they wouldn't help him unless they spayed him too and I wouldn't be able to stop them."

It is unlikely they would take this attitude, and if they did, you could make it clear that you don't want him fixed.
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
Aug. 29th, 2011 06:50 am (UTC)
Lol! Anne just said you could do up a really emotive piece of advertising for finding half-tail a forever home!


(I'd just spay them both, to be honest. And find half-tail a home and if a new tom moves into the area, the mother won't be bothered by him as she is spayed anyway)

The queen looks like our old cat Neffie! How lovely! *smiles*
Aug. 29th, 2011 06:50 am (UTC)
yeah, that was her, Leonie, writing that.

Switchy as hell today!

- Imoh
Aug. 29th, 2011 10:00 am (UTC)
Uh... *grins*

Yeah they're both really pretty.
Aug. 29th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
I have been taking pictures of our roommate's cat, because he sleeps in the funniest positions. (Rogan says that he needs to sit down and have a life-drawing session with that cat, because he is a very good model.)

I will have to share them.

Aug. 29th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah. What colour is he?
Aug. 29th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
He's gray and white. He's both poofy AND huge. He's like, half Maine Coon or something. And he's snaggle-toothed! One of his fangs is much longer than the other.

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )