Claire's Cats

Claire Hegarty B loves cats and is fortunate enough to have moved to a house with a ready supply of feral cats in the garden.

These pages are devoted to Claire's blog about her enjoyment and love of caring for these cats and when you look at the photos of them, you'll never believe that they are feral cats.

Enjoy!

 Every morning when I come down into the kitchen my feral friends are waiting on the window sill to greet me. That’s what I like to tell myself, though I know it’s more likely they are looking for breakfast! The first thing I do, before I even put on the kettle or start to prepare food for the humans, is fill their bowls.  And then I watch, as they hungrily fill their tummies.

SDolly_and_her_kittenspeaking of food and tummies, on my return from a short break away the other week, Dolly finally allowed me to meet her kittens.  They are ready for solid food now, so Mummy brought them to the willing source. Me!

Back in April, after failing miserably, yet again, to trap her in order to have her neutered, she disappeared.  She was heavily pregnant at that stage so I knew she had gone off to give birth somewhere.  I followed her to see if I could find out where she was keeping them but she was too quick and too clever for me.  She was also too quick and too clever for my neighbours.  Our only option was to wait patiently until she decided to introduce us.

Dolly_and_her_kittens

I was delighted to finally meet them but also dismayed that we have another two kittens to add to our fold.  I take comfort in the thought that with only one female and two males left to neuter, it could have been worse. If we hadn’t been working our way through getting them all sorted out, the population would be even larger. Much as I adore cats, I don’t think all of the neighbours do. And the husband certainly doesn’t, which is a story in itself.

 

 

Bio:
 
Claire Hegarty B lives in Ireland with her husband, son and adopted feral cats.  She is on a career break from her job in Tourism to care for her son and mother. In her spare time she likes to write, pet-sit and practice yoga. She writes four blogs, one of which is to showcase the feral cats she cares for and to highlight the plight of their peers.
If you'd like to visit her blog, check out the following:

 

Check out the website below to see ways in which you can help:

http://feralcatsireland.org/Feral_Cats/Feral_cat_crisis.html


 

It’s been a busy month with regard to looking after my feral feline friends.  I spent a few weeks trying to trap Dolly, one of the last female ferals that needs to be neutered. As she was pregnant, and I have spent two seasons trying to catch her, I was hopeful that this time, I could do it.  She seems to be the mother of most of our other feral kitties and there are already quite enough.

DollyFirst, I had the trap in my own garden filled with all the tasty food I know she loves. Dolly’s favourite food is luncheon turkey meat or cooked chicken breast.  She wouldn’t go in. Instead, she circled the trap and tried to get her paws in through the bars to retrieve the food.  She actually managed to spike some onto her claws and ate it that way! She has seen so many of the others going into the trap that she has become way too clever to do so herself.

Next, my neighbours put the trap into their garden, trying to entice her in multiple different ways.  We even resorted to disguising the trap, but still, no success.  Out of all the feral cats, she has to be one of the cleverest.  Some of the other cats, who have already been done, still go into the cage.  Even when they trip the cage and are trapped inside, they don’t seem to worry. They just gobble up the food and wait to be attended to.  Either they know that they are going to be let out again as before, or they are just plain stupid!  We prefer to think that they actually trust us now.

It was then suggested to me that we should try something called a ‘drop trap’.  A mutual cat lover sent me a great video and details on how to build one.  Then, as time was of the essence in Dolly’s case, someone else offered to lend me theirs. 

Home Made Drop Trap – using child’s play pen (photo courtesy of Denise Miller Duff)

Sadly, before I could collect it, Dolly disappeared and we did not see her for a few days.  We knew in our heart of hearts that she had gone off somewhere to have her kittens. We searched down the lanes, old sheds and crevices between garages, all to no avail.  After a few days, she reappeared for food.  Minus the large belly!!!

We are trying to follow Dolly to see where she is keeping her kitties.  No doubt she will introduce them to us as soon as she can, as she has done before.  We will then have to make the decision whether to keep them or rehome them. I think I already know the answer.  The main problem will be trying to appease my husband when he finds out about them!

The good news is that we managed to trap the two cats that survived from Dolly’s last two litters, Pepe and Trixie.  They have both now been done and can go on to live happy lives in the garden. We had the top of their left ears nipped to show that they are neutered ferals, and hope that nobody will try to get rid of them, knowing that they cannot reproduce. We are having this procedure done now with all the cats. There are a few that don’t have this and I worry that someone will find them a nuisance and try to take them away. I tried to put collars on them but that was a losing battle and certainly one I am never going to win!

PepePepe in the trap

 

Bio:
 
Claire Hegarty B lives in Ireland with her husband, son and adopted feral cats.  She is on a career break from her job in Tourism to care for her son and mother. In her spare time she likes to write, pet-sit and practice yoga. She writes four blogs, one of which is to showcase the feral cats she cares for and to highlight the plight of their peers.
If you'd like to visit her blog, check out the following:

 
http://www.everydayverses.blogspot.com

Check out the website below to see ways in which you can help:

http://feralcatsireland.org/Feral_Cats/Feral_cat_crisis.html

The feral cats are getting bigger and bolder.  They are getting so well fed these days that they now refuse to eat any tinned cat food.

When we first started to feed them, they would eat anything, scrambling madly for the food, even knocking each other out of the way.  Now they sniff the food first – if it’s chicken or ham or some such feast they eat it.  If it’s anything out of a tin, except for tuna or sardines, they sniff disdainfully, throw me a withering look and amble away, insulted.

I still think they are amazing. Hubby still doesn’t.  He thinks they should be thankful for every morsel  that they get.  As you can probably tell from that, he doesn’t know a lot about cats!

I told hubby I was in the garden shooting the cats and that I got some lovely shots.  Hubby said he would be delighted if that was the case. My four year old son got upset until I explained that Daddy was only joking and I was actually taking shots with my camera! Tee Hee!

Bio:

Claire Hegarty B lives in Ireland with her husband, son and adopted feral cats.  She is on a career break from her job in Tourism to care for her son and mother. In her spare time she likes to write, pet-sit and practice yoga. She writes four blogs, one of which is to showcase the feral cats she cares for and to highlight the plight of their peers.
If you'd like to visit her blog, check out the following:

 

  


I was horrified to read on the Feral Cats Ireland site, that there is widespread poisoning of feral cats going on in parts of Dublin, where I live. 

Bubbles_looking_in_kitchen_windowI really cannot understand why anyone, even those who dislike cats, would want to actually kill them.  They are living beings and have as much right to be born and live as any other living creature has.  Even my other half, who is not a cat lover, would never resort to doing this to them. If the feral cats can be trapped, then neutered so that they cannot keep reproducing, they can be a great aid at keeping mice and rats at bay.  In fact, many farmers go out of their way to feed them and keep them around for this very purpose.

It can also be very therapeutic to have feral cats around the garden. One old lady that I know loves to look out her window each morning to see them frolicking together in the garden.  I myself find the cats in our garden fun to watch as I sip my cuppa at the kitchen window.

Many people think that feral cats or wild cats as they are sometimes called cannot be tamed.  I knowMolly_looking_in_kitchen_window different.  While some may always remain a bit distant and aloof, many of them can become quite affectionate and loving.  Out of the nine that frequent our garden now, at least three of them come into the house sometimes (when the other half is not around!), two let me pet them and one now lets me pick her up and cuddle her.

Cat_with_nipped_earI am glad to see that some of the visitor cats which are not from our colony have recently started to sport nipped ears.  This means that someone else has trapped them and that they have been neutered.  I didn’t have this ear nipping done to our ferals but in hindsight I probably should have.  This nipped ear is a clear sign to people that these cats have been neutered and will not reproduce.  This hopefully will prevent anti-cat people from having them taken away or even worse, poisoned.

As far as I am concerned, there is always a better solution than poisoning the cats.

The accompanying photos show what a cat with a nipped ear looks like and the other two pictures are of two of my feral friends Bubbles and Molly peeking in my kitchen window!


Check out the website below to see ways in which you can help:

http://feralcatsireland.org/Feral_Cats/Feral_cat_crisis.html

Bio:
 
Claire Hegarty B lives in Ireland with her husband, son and adopted feral cats.  She is on a career break from her job in Tourism to care for her son and mother. In her spare time she likes to write, pet-sit and practice yoga. She writes four blogs, one of which is to showcase the feral cats she cares for and to highlight the plight of their peers.
 
If you'd like to visit her blog, check out the following:

 

 

I am honoured to write this slot for the wonderful Pauline Dewberry and hope that you enjoy it.  I will be writing about my love of cats and how this led me to adopting and taking care of a colony of feral cats.  I hope to tell some stories, provide information on ferals and generally share my love of cats with you.

DollyI love cats.  In fact, for as long as I can remember I have loved cats. Dogs feature in there too but cats have been, for a long time, close to my heart.  I really should have checked with my husband before I married him whether he felt the same.  I was lulled into a false sense of security there, when on our first holiday, cats seemed to like him.  They made a beeline for him and totally ignored me, adorer of cats! One even crawled up on to his chest as he lay out in the sun.  He didn’t bat an eyelid or indeed bat the cat away, so although he didn’t mention cats when I expounded their virtues, I assumed he was, at least, fond.  Sadly, as time went on, I realised that this was not the case.  He doesn’t like them or dislike them; he is just indifferent to them.  They hold no interest or attraction for him.  He cannot understand how or why I love them so much and in truth, neither can I.  But it still remains, that I do and will forever.  It’s an intrinsic part of me.

Bubbles_ScribblesI knew, in marrying my husband, the likelihood of ever having a pet cat was zero.  However, I hoped that with time, I would eventually persuade him.  I hoped that if he saw how happy I was in the company of cats, he would eventually agree.  Sadly, my fawning over the cats of friends and family and my greetings of strange cats in the street had the opposite effect.  So I was over the moon to see, when we bought and moved into our house four years ago, it came with cats that lived in the garden.  Sad, bad, bedraggled cats, but feline friends all the same.

It started off that there were a lot of cats but a neighbour had some of them taken away.  This upset me and Molly_Scribbles_Peppy_Dolly_Boris made me decide to adopt and take care of the remaining cats.  They could have the shelter of our garden shed and we bought kennels for them to live in. We decided to have them neutered so that they could not reproduce and could enjoy their lives. The main cats were duly christened, Bubbles, Scribbles, Molly, Dolly and Boris.  I managed to borrow a humane cat trap and we set to work trapping the cats and having them neutered.  Thankfully my next door neighbour shares the costs and our local vet gives us a charity rate for treatments. Some of the cats were already pregnant but we felt we had no choice but to curb the population. Five cats and three or four visiting cats was quite enough.  However, before we managed to have Dolly done, she gave birth yet again so we now have Peppy and Trixie as well. There were other kittens, but they seemed to just disappear.  I don’t like to think what may have happened to them.

Thankfully my four year old son follows in my footsteps and loves the cats too.  He was responsible for naming Bubbles, Scribbles and Trixie and he tells me that when he grows up, he wants to be a vet so he can help all the little cats too. People who see our cats comment that they do not look like ferals.  This is a lovely testament to the loving care that they now get.  See below some photos of our lovely feral feline friends.

Bio:

 
Claire Hegarty B lives in Ireland with her husband, son and adopted feral cats.  She is on a career break from her job in Tourism to care for her son and mother. In her spare time she likes to write, pet-sit and practice yoga. She writes four blogs, one of which is to showcase the feral cats she cares for and to highlight the plight of their peers.
If you'd like to visit her blog, check out the following:

 

Five Good Reasons for Having Your Cat Neutered

  • Reduces fighting, injury and noise
  • Reduces spraying and smelling
  • Much less likely to wander and get lost
  • Safer from diseases like feline AIDS, mammary tumours and feline leukaemia
  • Reduces the number of unwanted kittens

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