Jennie Jane has recovered from her spay surgery. She’s ready to be released.
For the time being, she’s being housed by a temporary foster home. That person reports that JJ is eating, using the litter pan, and not showing aggression when those items are changed out by human hands.
But she’s cowering in the crate inside the crate designed to give her privacy. She doesn’t seek companionship or attention. There’s no indication that she’ll adapt to or thrive in a domestic setting.
So the choices are to find her a long-term foster home or release her back into our yard. We don’t know if she is truly feral or a stray cat that was dumped or lost over the past year.
Jennie watching 3 kittens learn to eat in early May. We trapped the kittens the next week.
Finding someone will be very difficult. All of the experienced cat folks are likely overwhelmed as it is with kittens and cats. It would require someone who has a spare room that she could stay in for who knows how long. They need to be willing to devote considerable time with her, trying to earn her trust. Even then, it may never happen that she would be friendly enough to be adoptable.
That’s a harsh truth.
We don’t have that spare room. Our spare room is housing the two ferals we brought in last year. We were earning their trust until the ceiling collapsed and set us back months. We can’t let them out of that room until we can handle them. And since the trauma they experienced is our fault, we have an ethical obligation to provide for them – there’s no rushing there, even if they live forever in that room. We can see progress via the nanny cam – they play at night, they sunbathe, the play independently.
The kittens are in our bathroom. The basement is unfinished and the territory of our resident cats who are already making sacrifices. We just don’t have a room to keep her safe and give her the time & attention she needs.
My impression is that Jennie Jane would do best with someone who is not going to rush her.
Jennie eating with caution in early June. We had her kittens for 3 weeks at this point.
That person probably doesn’t exist or is already up to their elbows in other needy cats and kittens who display more aptitude for being adoptable.
What about a shelter? She’s too feral aka anti-social. It’s not fair to put her in an even more stressful environment and expect her to thrive enough to find adopters. It is also not fair to occupy a shelter slot that could be filled by a more adoptable animal. Even if we could put her in a shelter, she isn’t going to have a good life.
Jennie looking for food in early July. She’s pregnant again.
So, outdoors. She returns to a feral life with a better chance of survival now that she’s been spayed and received some basic vet care. She can eat at our feeding station, take shelter in our houses, and maybe build up enough trust that we could trap her again if need be.
Here is some info from Alley Cats about the quality of life for ferals.
This is always a very difficult call- what is best for the cat vs. what we want or hope could possibly happen.
We want the magic ending to this story – a kind hearted person to commit to give JJ 8-10 years of a safe, low-key inside life with no expectations that she be anything but herself. Maybe she’ll always sleep in the closet, but sit and watch tv with you. A home with no other pets, no children, just her.
We may have to settle for the next best thing – we caught her, we know she’s healthier and has a good shot at a less stressful outdoor life if we can control the environment. No more mating and no more kittens. She’s not exactly bonded with Oksana and Mx Pajamas, but they get along well enough. Frankly, Oxsana could likely very quickly be adoptable if he’s FIV/FeLP negative. And Mx Pajamas has potential.
We can keep the yard safe, food plentiful, etc. But they roam. We can’t control traffic, predators, human behavior, etc. We are building a better feeding station and I’d like to build an outdoor cat tree so they can satisfy being vertical and relax a bit in the sun.
And other cats may move in. New dynamics to navigate. It’s a crapshoot no matter what.
In her temp recovery room.
It’s a tough decision. She has another week at the temp foster home so perhaps she’ll turn the corner or someone will step forward. I can’t get my hopes up. I need to work on reframing my hopes.
Maybe that person will email us during this weeks time. Maybe not.
I suspect this angst is par for the course with cat rescue. We can’t save every cat. We can’t have an ideal fit for every cat. We won’t be able to afford every medical need. We will be tired and overwhelmed. We just keep on trying and appreciating the small wins.
If you’d like to support this work, there are options.
- The #CatFoodDrivePgh continues. We urgently need donations of cat food from our Amazon list or directly at our drop-off spots or financially. These donations are specifically for the caretakers with feral cat colonies – the folks who feed everyday, but also TNR and find homes and take in new homeless kitties
- Join the Facebook group #CatFoodDrivePgh Friends & Supporters
- Follow our own journey with our foster kittens via our public Facebook album
- Check out our regular Adopt-a-Kitten feature with adoptable pets through Pittsburgh CAT. We call this the #PghCatLadies posts.
- Donate to our #PghCatLadies crowdfund to cover the vet expenses that come out of our pocket for the ferals.