|Marius decided that 'Black Ears' wasn't personal enough so he re-named him Ratty|
and I probably mentioned his pal, LG:
|LG was Little Guy, until she went on heat and we realised that she was Little Girl|
They always hang around together, walking with their tales intertwined and being remarkably affectionate to each other (they are semi-feral cats, after all):
We used to feed them at the rubbish bins behind the, then defunct, cafe. There was often another cat having a feed, but she was very wary of people, never let us pat her, and was always on the edge of the group, ready to tear off. She ignored Ratty and LG, and their other friend Pirate (who disappeared before Christmas). We named her 'Seams' because her tabby coat doesn't fit properly, and there are white stripes on her limbs, where the 'seams' don't meet.
A few months ago, Seams was pregnant, and huge. She looked like a double-decker bus on its side. She still managed to waddle around and jump, relatively gracefully. Then she disappeared for a few days, presumably to give birth, and when we saw her again, she was much slimmer. We tried to make sure we fed her if we saw her, as we suspected that she was nursing her kits, and we even went looking for her some nights.
|Seams talking to Pink Floyd|
Life is fairly difficult for the feral cats and new-born kittens are particularly vulnerable as they are easy prey and often eaten by other cats (sorry, but true). Seams must have had her babies well protected because FIVE have survived.
We first saw them on the night of the lunar eclipse. They haven't ventured into the compound yet; Seams keeps them in the golf course, away from the dogs being walked and the humans.
|Seams doesn't care for the flash|
We gave them some cat-crunchies that night, and again yesterday evening before it was dark. Afterwards, looking at the photos we'd taken of the kittens, we thought how similar they were to LG and Ratty, if a little fluffier, with one of them even looking like Pirate (who was fluffier than LG and Ratty):
|almost LG and Ratty in miniature|
It would appear that LG and Ratty (and the missing Pirate - I don't need to explain his name, do I?) were from last year's litter, and were probably litter-mates as we had suspected. How many of the new ones will survive this year is a moot point. There are too many feral cats and soon someone will complain and they will be rounded up and 'dealt' with, I fear. The golf course has taken more of the wilderness buffer away to extend the course facilities, reducing the space for the ferals to survive.
If we didn't feed them, they would probably move away - or die of starvation. There are no mice or rodents around and not enough birds to keep them all alive either. They do go through the garbage sometimes but only at the cafe, not individual house bins. I can understand that plagues of cats are not good for the neighbourhood, yet we know that some of the strays are abandoned pets (there is a beautiful Russian Blue that doesn't seem to have a home any more).
If it was feasible, I would have all the females sterilised, and the males too - but if (a big if) I could catch them and get them sorted out, how would I then turn them out into the desert post-op?
Marius says to me 'you can't save the world' and he is right, I can't save all the cats either. I worry that feeding them is only making the problem worse and prolonging their agony, but I am a weak thing too, and I can't bear to see them starving.