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Published January 21, 2020


Feral kittens hit jackpot after being found under car

By John Toth / The Bulletin

Someone asked me recently how my “free cats” are doing.

He was inquiring about a couple of kittens I found under my car at our hideaway last summer. They were getting too old to nurse but still too young to be on their own, and their mom wouldn’t go near them with us around.

We took them in and bottle-fed them until they could eat pate-style canned kitten food on their own. We originally planned to foster them and then find the brother and sister a nice home.

Instead, we decided to keep them.

“They’re not free anymore,” I answered. “We have taken them to the vet.”

Four and a half months later, I’m happy to report that the kittens are part of our family and are doing very well. Some of our furniture isn’t doing all that well, but that’s expected. We have owned cats before, so that wasn’t a big surprise.

It has been really rewarding to watch them grow into pre-teens (in cat years), although I did like it when they were smaller and couldn’t jump on the kitchen counter while I prepared their food - or any food.
I get them down right away, but they keep jumping back. So, now they have to stay in another room and wait for their food.

Simba, the boy cat, also has decided a few times to jet out the back door when I let one of the dogs out to the yard. Luckily, he knows only to huddle against the house’s foundation and then do nothing.

That’s where I found him when we brought him and his sister, Nala, inside our hideaway last summer. He sought safety there before he found out that I wasn’t such a bad guy after all.

This made it easy to scoop them up and bring them in the house.

Nala just sits by the door and watches as we go in and out. She may still remember that life out there wasn’t that much fun. It’s better to be fed and stay in a place where it doesn’t rain.

They are now fully vaccinated, fixed and chipped. They have become full members of the family. Their favorite visitor is Jack, our daughter’s dog, with whom they play endlessly when he visits.

Jack now has to sleep in his kennel because of a recent surgery. When they visited the hideout, the kittens abandoned us at night and slept on top of his kennel.

Each kitten developed a unique personality and behavior pattern. I’ve noticed that they like copying each other, which is probably where the term “copycat” comes from.

After Simba got into a habit of jumping up on my shoulder as I work on The Bulletin, Nala started to jump up on the back of my chair and sit there for extended periods of time. Meanwhile, the paper production continued – slower.

We have had to make a few changes, like moving the pet food into an area they cannot access, or there would be a hole in the bottom of the bag. They most recently got hold of a bag of dog treats, slashed it open with their claws, and spread its contents on the floor for all the animals in the house to enjoy. That was cute, but now the treats are in an undisclosed secure location.

When we returned to the hideout with them recently, our neighbor came to say hi. Behind her followed a beautiful fat tomcat, which appeared to be the kittens’ dad. “I’m feeding him,” she said. “He is a sweet cat.”

He didn’t run away, like the other feral cats in the area. We left the neighbor a 30-pound bag of cat food to make sure he and the other cats in the area have plenty to eat.

Sharon asked me what we’d do if we found more kittens under the car on one of our visits.

We’ll bottle feed them like we fed these two, I told her. “But we’re not keeping them. We’ll find them homes. Two cats is all I can handle.”

Now I know where the phrase “it’s like herding cats” comes from. I’ve done it. It’s hard. Try herding lightning-fast kittens.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)