Our inside cats! These 3 are the ones remaining from the picture at the top of my blog. All were feral kittens. The black and whites are both 14 now, siblings (of a litter of 5 we took in when the mama cat brought them to our back porch and promptly left. They were about 4 weeks old at the time - barely walking and had to be bottle fed for a short time).
The grey we took in when she was possibly a few weeks older. Her mama and siblings came by one day when the kittens were about 6 weeks old (they could move quite fast). However, when they all darted off - the little grey kitten just sat there looking around. The others never came back... and we finally decided that we'd better take her in... as she seemed a bit lost and confused.
She did have some genetic problems - neurological and physical. The Vet didn't think she would make it past a year as she was seemingly a bit retarded and has genetic kidney probs (she hears OK, but I don't believe she sees well).
However, she is now 12 and although she does have some flare-ups (both neurologically and physically) from time to time, she has done exceptionally well. We call her our little psycho kitty as she is a bit unpredictable. But we accept her as she is... as do Tux and Julie.
But they are all getting up there in age (as are we) so we don't allow ourselves to take any more inside. Since most of our cats live to be 19-23, we feel that fits into the 10 years we have left to give them. Not to say that we might live longer than that... but it just seems practical. And besides, since retirement... keeping up with vaccinations and occasional Veterinary bills for 3 is about all we can handle.
However, we do provide food, water, and a safe environment for the feral cat families that do show up in our back yard. Truth be known, we would probably still vaccinate them (like the catch and release programs advocate) if we could. We used to do this when we were younger, but don't anymore... can't catch them.
And besides, it got a bit expensive as we used to keep them upstairs in a closed off room for weeks to get them friendly enough to go to the adoption room at the nearby Animal Shelter. They knew us there and our feral kittens came in clean, flea-free, vaccinated, and friendly. But despite our best efforts to keep our own cats separate, the ferals always brought in fleas and we had to de-flea the house and our cats after each litter.
But all in all, we do love cats. And it's difficult sometimes not to want to take them all in. But like with everything else in life, you simply do what you can... and hope its helpful... even in some small way.
Other outside ferals:
Have a great week!