My first feral cat post appeared in December 2014, giving a brief description of the origins of feral cats. I was aghast at the massive amount of damage they do to small wildlife and bird populations, if allowed to breed unchecked.
Since moving to this apartment complex three and half years ago I’ve become a bit of a cat sitter. Feral cats that is. Being the soft touch I am with anything to do with animals, well, they must have seen me coming.
I looked over the balcony, and two pairs of doleful eyes looked back at me. Two kittens around three months old, who would have begged for food if they could have talked. A couple of pieces of chicken breast dropped over the balcony, and I was trapped. They weren’t going to let this mug go.
These two kittens were a grey tabby, and a long-haired black and white, both young tom cats, three or so months old. They were joined a couple of weeks later by a small ginger neutered kitten-cat they decided to befriend, an already neutered queen. By now things were starting to become a worry. Feeding a couple of stray kittens, okay, I could live with that. But feeding, and accommodating the local feral population; that was something else entirely. A self-imposed ban was put on further guests.
To all intents-and-purposes as time went on they became domesticated, remaining however very much outside cats. Going out when I went out or to work, and out when I shut down at night. Suddenly after 18 months the tabby disappeared, going out as usual one night never to be seen again.
As they were both un-neutered males I figured that maybe the complex was no longer big enough for both. However six/eight weeks later my big black and white cat went the same way, waiting to be let out in the evening, never to return.
That one going was a big upset. He was more like a dog, would meow back at me when I talked to him, and was always at the top of the car-park steps when I returned from work, at three or four in the morning. If I was round the pool or pool bar he would be laying somewhere close by, still very wary of other people, but as close to me as he felt he could safely get. My greatest hope is they were trapped by the feral cat neutering programme, and then re-homed. We live in a very mixed community here, with a large number of Chinese and African immigrants. Unfortunately there are some real horror stories about what happens to cats if they fall into the wrong hands. One such story doing the rounds is, they are used by Canarian Hunting Dog owners. Training their animals to hunt in the mountains – using the cats as bait. Hopefully, they’re just stories.
That left just the little ginger queen, not a wanderer because of neutering; she comes and goes at will, and climbs up the front of the apartment at night to sleep on the balcony. A whole post is donated to her struggles in the first year of life. However, cats and kitten-cats moved in and out of the complex, depending on the food chain. Cat’s jungle telegraph must be better than ours. With apartments full of guests, cats would appear from everywhere, knowing full-well pickings would be good for the next week or so. Me, I’d learnt my lesson, my food stayed firmly on my plate. But Ginger wasn’t to be so easily outdone, as I was to learn some months in the future.
A British expat who has lived on this Island of Tenerife for over twelve years.A full time freelance writer, most of my time is spent article writing. I also write on D2C, Writedge, and wherever takes my fancy. For fun I try to increase my portfolio of short stories, with a view to eventually getting them published.