It’s time for Part 2 to the story of Pumpkin, who is our feral cat of the week. If you missed part one and want some cute pictures and an introduction to her, please click HERE
When I first met Pumpkin she was very skinny. Many of the feral cats in this colony looked like they were starving. As I mentioned in Part 1 of the story, I have some funny things to share and one tragic one. I want to end on a pleasant note, so I will start with the tragedy.
I didn’t know it at the time, but when Pumpkin came to me this Spring, she was already pregnant. You couldn’t tell because she was so skinny. Once she started getting used to me and coming around more, I started feeding her on a regular basis. She did start to gain weight slowly, but because Pumpkin was undernourished herself, her babies were not healthy.
How did I find out Pumpkin was pregnant?
One day Mom was helping out with the colony and noticed an unidentified dead animal in the breezeway (this is where I feed the cats that are “tame” now). She had cleaned it up before I saw it -(thank goodness!!) , but she said she couldn’t figure out what it was because something had gotten to it. For the sake of not being too graphic, I won’t go in to more detail of what it looked like. However, by her description , I got the sinking feeling it was a newborn kitten.
That was confirmed when just a few days later I went to clean out one of the shelters the day little Fluffy went in to labor (another pregnant colony cat). Another kitten was found deceased in the box (which would explain why the other cats quit sleeping in there). It happened to be the box that Pumpkin always slept in. If I look back at old pictures of Pumpkin now, I can see (despite the rest of her being skinny) that her belly does look sort of distended. I just know those were Pumpkin babies. 🙁
I am not 100% sure what happened, but I would assume that because Pumpkin herself had been undernourished, her babies were either born not fully developed, or were not healthy enough to make it. The point of this story is not to upset the reader, but to make people aware of what happens when no one cares to help a cat colony situation. Trapping the cats (if they are not tame and you can’t pick them up yourself) and taking them to the vet to get them spayed or neutered is an important step towards not only reducing the number of unwanted kittens/cats living outside, but in eliminating issues where cats are starved, or kittens are dying. I will explain more about TNR in another article.
I feel really badly for Pumpkin, as she wasn’t lucky like Fluffy. Fluffy’s story ended up happy with 2 healthy kittens that were brought inside and adopted by me. On a good note though, Pumpkin was taken to the vet and has been fixed since then. In fact all of the outdoor female cats I am helping have been fixed now. Pumpkin is now very healthy and plenty plump and will never have to deal with a bad pregnancy situation again!
A funny story about Pumpkin:
I took this cat wand toy (which is a long rod with a dangling mouse thingy on the end) out for the feral cats to play with one day. Pumpkin claimed this toy and she jumped up and latched on to the mouse thing on the end then yanked the stick out of my hands and ran (dragging this 2 or 3 foot wand behind her) across the neighbor’s yard and in to the woods. It was kind of a funny sight! It was getting dark out so I couldn’t see where she went to go after her. I figured I would never see the toy again.
The cats know I always sit in a certain chaise lounge outside, and so they associate that chair with me. A couple days later I went out to sit in my chair and read, when I saw the cat wand had been returned to me 😀 Yep, it was dropped off right in my chair! Silly Pumpkin-she is pretty smart!
Another funny thing is that Pumpkin likes to take walks with me (her and a few others!) I actually didn’t know some of the colony followed me all the way down the street until I was turning around to come back and there they were! When I got near the house, the neighbor lady that lives across the street waved me over . When we were talking, she mentioned me taking my cats for walks. I was like no- they are just feral cats I care for, and I didn’t know they were doing that! She said they followed behind me in a straight row. This is when the lady also told me about Pumpkin’s early morning stunts of running up a tree and also jumping in the birdbath. 🙂
So there is the scoop on my featured feral cat of the week! I wonder what kind of feral cat will be featured next week? Hmm… Believe it or not, I am not running out of them yet! I have at least a handful more , and hope you will keep reading to learn about all of the special little characters I am helping for this cause. Spread the word too, as it does help to save lives.
Here is a short youtube video I made of Pumpkin in the yard. I do talk a little bit about TNR on this video too. If you subscribe by email and can’t see this video, click HERE and it will take you there.
What types of funny things does your cat do?
As I started reading this, I was going to ask if you got any of your colony cats spayed or neutered. I’m glad you do! I can only imagine how a colony could get out of control if they kept having babies.
I love the story about the cats following you as you walk 🙂
When I was growing up, we had a cat that we named Michelangelo (after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that were popular around that time), and he was one of those crazy cats. One of his favorite things to do was hide and jump out to attack you when you weren’t paying attention. He would wrap his entire body around your leg and not let go.
Yep, yep! Unfortunately there are no free clinics here and although the vet does gives us Human Society Discounts, it still costs an average of $50-60 per cat. This summer , when this colony first appeared, I counted about 20 cats. So you can imagine it would be very expensive to fix the entire colony , as so far none of the other neighbors are doing anything about it. Have to get them fixed one or 2 at a time and so far I there have been about 6 fixed-mostly females. Although- A couple were adopted indoors so that also cuts back on population. Still have more to go! This is also part of why I do youtube videos…any small amount of money made from them I can put towards more spays or neuters (although so far not much is coming from that). As you can see-they breed quickly as Pumpkin and Fluffy pretty much came to me already pregnant.
There is more to the story of cats walking with me, but I decided to save that for an inspirational story some time 🙂
I remember the Ninja Turtles! We had the movies as kids haha. I am hoping your Michelangelo cat didn’t use claws when wrapping around your leg! Funny story , thanks for sharing:)