The road ends, but the journey continues...

Surprise Kitty Family

I’ve posted two kitty stories, well three if you include the poem about Sparkles, on this blog.  Remembering Tripod is the foundational one relevant to our between homes experience, the Colorado one ties in with the parallel lives of street kitties and throw-away humans, and then there’s the one about Sparkles* who flashed  life, hope and love unexpectedly into our lives, however briefly.
Here is yet another Kitty Story…
Mama Cat has been around the block a time or two. Street savvy, she maintains her independence.  And she likes it that way.
When she comes calling, it is usually out of desperation – wild-eyed, panting, scraggly and needing nourishment.
I am in complete compliance with our tacit agreement. Who can refuse an independent spirit reaching out for help?
Over the course of a few evenings this past winter, she sought refuge on our front porch.  Limping, wounded, but uncatchable when approached, she nursed an injured front paw.  She did not look good.
Hubby and I did what we could, which wasn’t much.  We fed her and tried hard to not spook her from her safe place. After a few days, she was gone.  I have to admit I was fearful she had crawled away to die somewhere, but such was not the case.  She eventually greeted us at our front door one morning with clear eyes, just to say, “I’m alive!” and trotted away without asking for food.
Recently, Mama’s visitations increased.  Her usual sources of food must have closed down…perhaps her regulars were renters like ourselves and left to live elsewhere.  Who knows?  All we do know is that she came calling in her usual skittish and scruffy desperation and we responded to her need.
Here’s where it gets complicated.
Somewhere along the line, Mama Cat deliberately and unequivocally adopted us.  Hubby claims it’s me she’s adopted, but I say it’s us.  Either way, I struggle with the balance between helping and it causing a feral cat to become too dependent upon our help.
We are renters with a no-pet clause in our lease, so getting attached to any animal is out of the question.  As she became more tame, we talked about capturing her and taking her to the ‘no-kill’ shelter. But even so, Mama Cat is basically aloof towards humans.

Mama Cat, no longer skittish or scruffy

Mama Cat, no longer skittish or scruffy

Although a beautiful petite calico, she’d not make a very user-friendly pet.
Oh and did I mention Mama lives up to her name?  She’s a prolific baby-maker. Several generations of her kitties roam the neighborhood.
What to do?
Surprise! Kitty Family

Surprise! Kitty Family (front to back-Spacey Grey, Marmalade, Black&White)

Before we could come up with an answer to that nagging question, Mama Cat added her own two cents…or should I say, three cents?
Memorial Day morning I discovered three little kittens nestled in a corner of our front porch, protected by my planters.  Mama had moved her almost weaned  8(?) week old family to a safe haven.
I am honored. I am confounded.
What to do?
Cousin Chris** suggested we set up the carrier, get those felines used to it, trap the family and deliver all four to the ‘no-kill’ shelter.
Yep, Marmalade is my favorite.

Yep, Marmalade is my favorite.

At least the kittens had a better chance at being adopted.  It worked.  Well part of the plan.  All last week, they got used to the carrier, the food, the ‘toys’ on the porch and to me.  The hard part would be for the entire family, Mama Cat especially, to get trapped at the same time.
The day before the planned big event Chris called the ‘no-kill’ shelter to prepare them for our pending delivery.
Getting ready for the 'big event.'

Getting ready for the ‘big event.’

Alas, but there was no room at the Inn. The shelter was busting at the seams with new kitty and puppy families.
The capture was cancelled.
What to do?
The day of the planned and now cancelled big event dawned like any other.  Except for one tiny detail: Mama Cat and Kitty Family were gone.
Just as suddenly as they had arrived, they just as abruptly disappeared. While troubling, it certainly solved the immediate problem of what to do with a family of four kitty-cats who claimed our front porch as their own.
I waited a few days before removing the crate, then tidied up the front porch thus re-establishing human ownership of our little rental.
That was just last Sunday.
We're back! (Mama, Spacey Grey, Marmalade, Black&White)

We’re back! (Mama, Spacey Grey, Marmalade, Black&White)

Tuesday morning as we opened the front door to start our day, who should appear but Mama, Spacey Grey, Marmalade and Black&White.
What to do?
What would you do?
* one of Mama Cat’s kitties who is now living happily-ever-after with her forever family
**owner of a chain of local pet stores


  1. Anna Scott Graham

    What a precarious situation; is there any way to again trap them, then deliver them to the shelter, if there is now room? I have no wise ideas, but my heart goes out to you all…

    • laura bruno lilly

      Revised plan is to call regularly and check up on space availability. I’ve asked at the horse stables (my Wounded Warrior horse therapy volunteer place) if anyone wants a barn kitty, but they’re all filled up, too. 🙁
      Right now, the kitties have ventured far and wide, only Mama visits each mid-day and evening. And that may be the new ‘normal’ for us! Although, Marmalade loves me, so he’d be easy to just pick up at a moment’s notice if he visits at a time when space frees up at the no-kill shelter… 😉

  2. L. Marie

    Oh my word! It’s like Mama Cat knew what you were going to do and disappeared. I have a similar situation with a cat I call Feral. He is an orange tabby. He allows me to feed him. But then he disappears for months. I am in a no-pet building and can’t have a cat. And Feral does not wish to be adopted. So, I wish I had an answer for you. Mama Cat’s situation is sad. But I’m glad at least one of her kittens has been adopted.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Actually, I think it’s a good sign that Feral disappears for months as that seems to imply he has a broader range of support than just your generosity.
      Looks like we both love those orange tiger guys, eh? 😉

      • L. Marie

        Yes. But I worry about him though he seems tough. Sometimes he looks as if he’s been in a fight. But he draws near if I provide food. He’s a picky eater, however. There are some sardine brands he does not care for.

        • laura bruno lilly

          LOL 😀
          Scrappy-alley-kitty Feral is a picky eater…I love it! Don’t forget that when all else fails, a lightly beaten raw egg is a kitty’s delight and also very nutritious.
          It is scarey to see them after a fight, it’s all part of the street life…sigh.
          We just can only do what we can.
          Sooo glad we’re of the same mind!

          • L. Marie

            Good idea about the raw egg. Will try that.

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