Here, kitty, kitty

Here, kitty, kitty… Feral cats have always been in my life. From the kittens we ‘rescued’ from the hay barns as kids, to the cats my mother ‘stole’ from the park during her lunch breaks at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (to have them fixed and given to new homes – usually hers), to the abandoned cats my husband started feeding during the minus zero weather in Alaska. (Yardley, pictured on a Cat-erpillar tractor, is now a wonderful indoor/outdoor cat).

Yardley on her Cat D3 8/18/2013



Cats are survivors. One reason cats survive is because of sheer numbers. A female (queen) can start breeding at five months and have four litters a year.
If she has four kittens each time, that means in ten years, she’s populated the area with nearly 1.4 MILLION cats! (See the t-shirt for the math equation)


I recently stepped forward to help control the cat population again. My husband had been feeding one of the neighborhood stray cats. She looked pregnant. Well, when her belly went down, he started paying attention to where she was hiding. She had located a big empty (4′ tall) plywood box on our burn pile. He looked in. Yup, four kittens were deep inside. I coordinated with the local cat rescue lady and borrowed a trap, two kennels (roped together into a bigger kennel), and a cat carrier for use as an inner sanctum. My husband retrieved the babies and set them in the carrier. He’d hoped to entice Mama Cat with food (he’d briefly petted her the day before) but had to resort using to the humane live trap. Within moments, she was reunited with her four babies. We estimated they were three weeks old (eyes and ears open, no teeth but nubbins were felt). All are in good health.
It’s been a week now. I put a recently worn tank top in their home so they would be used to my smell. I visit them in their apartment every couple of hours. Now when I call out my greetings, the babies mew-mew in recognition.

It’s a three-week wait here after contacting the local Humane Society before they’ll call you to bring in the cats. Even before we caught any of these critters, my husband decided to keep the mama and one kitten (so she didn’t feel abandoned). Of course, they’ll be fixed when the youngster is old enough, taking Mama in at the same time.

A few years ago, I helped control the local feral cat population explosion by transporting a dozen critters to the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon. These citizens of the Oakdale Cat Colony were examined, wormed if necessary, checked and treated for ear mites, spayed or neutered, then given the ‘right ear snip’ that indicates a sterilized cat. They were re-homed as barn cats.

If you’d like to help, but don’t want to adopt a cat (or even transport a dozen or so), please give time and/or money to Friends of Felines, the Humane Society, or your local or regional agency. I know they would appreciate any help. Whether answering phones, cleaning up, or whatever is needed. Their suggested donation is $50 per cat.


Notice the snipped right ear on the nameplate. This indicates the cat has been fixed and doesn’t need to be caught again.

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About Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.  View website

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