In September, I got an interesting surprise. A tortoiseshell stray cat had been coming here to eat, and I wondered why she was always hungry. Then one evening, I looked out and saw her on the porch with another cat. But no, it wasn’t another cat. It was three kittens. I’m not sure how old they were, but now I knew why she’d been so hungry. She’d been pregnant and then a nursing mom.

Hollly sees a squirrel on the walk.

I started putting out more food. And then I added wet food to the dry. But I knew I had a serious problem. I couldn’t just let these kitten grow up to have more kittens. And I couldn’t turn them in to Animal Control because they were too feral to make good pets. That meant they had to be trapped and neutered and released. A wonderful organization called Animal Advocates of Howard County helped me trap them and arranged for their visit to the vet. I kept them over night in cages for two nights—once before their appointment and once after. Then I released them.
Two kittens—a gray and a tortie were girls. One was a boy. A few days after their traumatic experience the boy disappeared. I’m sad about that, but I’ve still got the mom and the two girls. They come to my porch to eat. And I have them trained to run over when I bang on the metal bowls. After breakfast and dinner, Holly, the gray kitten likes to eat some of the shelled black oiled sunflower seed I put out on the walk for squirrels and birds. But they are still afraid of me. Hopefully, they’ll relax a little and let me get close to them.

Three eaters.

With winter coming, I’ve made two houses out of plastic storage boxes filled with straw (the recommended material). I don’t know if they are sleeping there because I don’t want them catching me hanging around these shelters. They don’t even like to see me watching them eat through the storm door.

I can see I’ve taken on a big responsibility. These kittens have always had a food supply. If I didn’t feed them, what would happen to them? And they are not the only cats who eat here. There are at least three others I see on a regular basis. And then there are the raccoons who come and scarf up a lot of food.

Three Raccoons

So now I’ve got a new cat family, in addition to my three indoor cats. The worst part is that I have so little control over what they do and where they go. Wish me luck.

Rebecca York’s latest Decorah Security novel is Hunter, just out last month and still on 99c sale.

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About Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.  She also writes the Unbound series for Changeling Press.  View website

12 Replies to “STRAY CATS—UPDATE”

  1. Rebecca – What a lovely, warm story to read on a wintry day. I’ve always thought it was amazing the lengths you go to for your animals, both domestic and feral. Those are lucky kitties indeed! I hope the outdoor kitties will eventually let you get closer. BTW – have you considered installing one of those outdoor cameras near the feeding station so that you can watch them without disturbing or scaring them? Just a thought…

    • Thanks. This morning when I looked out the sun room window, I sat them dashing up from the junipers across the open space. I assume that’s where they slept. Yes, I’d like a camera. We keep talking about it. I obviously need one that records and has motion sensors.

    • Thanks. They EXPECT me to feed them, but they still won’t get close to me. I feel like saying, “What do you think I am going to do to you?” But of course, I did trap them and send them to the vet’s torture chamber. I wonder if they remember.

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