This is Stash. She was part of the first litter I did TNR with. She was the one who got away. She was the first one I trapped when I started again the next year, but not until she had kittens.
She had two. One, Mini-Spot, didn’t make it to adulthood. Iris survived and thrived! She is a big beautiful girl.
When I first saw Stash she and her littermates were still nursing, but they had their eye open and ran around and played… (story continues below photo)
She was in the second litter that Mama Cat brought to my house. The first litter consisted of two kittens. There were five in the second litter. I think she brought them after they were born, but this litter was silent, which is common with feral kittens born to feral mothers. They didn’t even mew for Mama when she was away.
I knew I had to do something, and pretty quick. But there were some major obstacles.
For one, I couldn’t get near Mama or the kittens. I mean, I couldn’t even open the door to try to get close to them without them all dashing under the house!
And then there was the cost of spay and neuter. I wasn’t in a position to pay for six procedures at once.
So I contacted a local rescue organization and they really stepped up to the plate! But, it was still a rocky start and didn’t go as planned.
I had to borrow a trap, which was available from the city, but there was a time limit. The rescue people put me in touch with a great foster couple. The plan was for them to socialze the cats and rehome them.
Well, they meant well, but it didn’t work out. I trapped Mama and the kittens over the course of a couple of weeks, and each time I caught one I transfered them to a cat carrrier (not easy!) and drove out to the middle of nowhere to meet the foster people halfway.
They quickly discovered that these cats were much wilder than any they had dealt with, and weren’t having any of it. There would be no socialization. I thought they were prepared to spend months working with them, but they didn’t realize it was that kind of situation and immediately started trying to handle them.
They had been asked to take in another litter that were better candidates for adoption, and asked if I would mind if they got mobile vet to come up and spay and neuter them, and then release them back with me, so they would have room for the other cats.
I was dissapointed for the kitties, but totally fine with having them back. I never wanted to get rid of them. I just wanted the best possible for them. I didn’t know then that “Return” is part of what makes TNR so successful.
So, Stash had not been trapped at this point. She was the only one who didn’t get trapped. The vet forgot to tip their ears! We released them all back here and they all quickly ran off, including Stash.
But she came back soon along with her sister Spot. At that same time Gorgeous showed up. He was the same age and looked like one of the (not tipped) litter I had trapped, but I discovered he was not that cat. And Oddball showed up, too. Same age, but not the litter. (story continues below photo)
Oddball, Stash, Gorgeous, and Spot 2009
Fast forward a few months, and I was approached by a lady who was starting a new TNR group, still getting their ducks in a row. She wanted to help my cats! Yay! But, things kept getting delayed, as they will when you’re starting a new group like that, and by the time they were ready to start, Stash had a litter of two kittens. I’m pretty sure Oddball was the father. We’ll just say that event was how I discovered he wasn’t a girl. (story continues below photo)
So, one of the absolute coolest things ever in my life was what Stash did while she was raising her kittens, and before Mini-Spot passed away. She trusted me to babysit!
This was when I could not touch her at all. Couldn’t even get close to her or the kittens. But, she would wait until I came outside to leave them alone and go do her business. As soon as I came out the door she would look me in the eye, look at them, and go out to the poop spot. Then she would stay out away from the kittens, taking some personal time and relaxing, for as long as I stayed outside watching over them (from a few feet away, of course). As soon as she heard my hand on the doorknob, she ran back to her babies. (story continues below photo)
So, that’s enough for today. I’ll be adding more to Stash’s story over time, too. Keep checking back for more.