Homeless between two walls – kittens saved from feral existence
By Thalia Anderson, April 2014
Twinkie and Meow-Meow faced an uncertain future. This is their story.
We were born late in September 2012. Four of us, all females. Sadly one of us didn’t survive, but we were too young to remember her.
Mommy Cat was wild and must have felt uneasy about caring for us where we were born, so she carefully carried us over a wall to another place. That was before our eyes opened.
Our new home, which she probably considered a safer spot, was sandwiched between concrete walls separating two households in a fairly quiet suburb.
With no covering above us, though, we were totally exposed to the elements. It was very narrow, which made it quite difficult for Mommy Cat to turn around in when nursing us.
So began our journey. A bleak future was already mapped out for us – feral cats to swell the numbers already roaming the neighbourhood. And we would no doubt have babies of our own before we even reached adulthood.
One of the neighbour’s dogs soon sniffed us out and he was extremely interested in our little family. Mommy Cat wasn’t too happy at being discovered because, as she expected, he alerted the humans on both sides.
When our eyes opened we could see why it aroused her displeasure – there was a constant stream of human faces peering down at us. Mommy Cat dreaded these visits and often took flight, leaving us to our own devices. She always came back, though, after they had gone.
I suppose we should be grateful that one of the young humans, who was small enough to slip in between the walls, brought us some bedding. It did help us feel a bit more comfortable, but it didn’t stop the rain from sometimes soaking us. It was October, the start of the spring rains and fierce thunder storms.
Well, we continued growing and when we were a bit older the humans put out bowls of food and water. Mommy Cat seemed to really like that gesture, and we soon followed her lead – it wasn’t long before we got the gist of chewing those tasty pellets.
We couldn’t believe our eyes and just stared in awe at the huge stretch of land that looked so green and inviting.
And we finally got the chance to see the dog that discovered us. He was intriguing but displayed signs of absolutely unruly behaviour. For weeks we had heard him sniffing and scratching around near our home but, thankfully, we were out of his reach. We couldn’t tear ourselves away from peering at him and the vast expanse of the strange new world on the other side of the wall.
It was around this time that we heard the humans quietly discussing ‘things’. We were unaware they were deliberating our fate.
It wasn’t long after and we were plucked from our home and taken to this luxurious place which had soft beds and was warm underfoot. That must have happened during November 2012.
At the same time we noticed that it was just the two of us. We believe our sister was taken to another equally luxurious place and Mommy Cat was booked in at the SPCA. It is all a distant memory now.
It has been well over a year since that happened, and we are now all grown up and enjoying a life of absolute luxury.
We were sterilised, given names (Twinkie and Meow-Meow) and our human mommy bought us collars with bells on. She had to do that because we have a penchant for catching the birds that visit the neighbour, where that dog that discovered us lives. We are not too enamoured with him as he is highly excitable and gives us chase when he sees us hunting in his garden, which is often.
We don’t mind, however, sharing our home and garden with our human mommy’s two little dogs that play so patiently with us. We all get on quite well, considering our extremely discerning and fastidious cat tastes, and the differences in our ancestries.
Life has turned out good for us…
Meow-Meow (left) and Twinkie, the ladies of the manor
* Twinkie and Meow-Meow are two of the lucky ones – they were rescued and domesticated while they were still kittens. There are hundreds of feral cats roaming our cities, living on a diet of rats and mice (considered unhealthy and unbalanced), or whatever they can scavenge from dustbins.
Most are malnourished, flea-infested and disease-ridden (a perfect breeding ground for rabies), and some may even have feline leukaemia or feline AIDS.
It is reported a single fertile female can give birth to as many as 16 cats per year. This number can multiply to a population of thousands within a few years.
A feral cat is a domesticated cat that has returned to the wild. They and their descendants are the direct result of people failing to spay/neuter their cats. This forces them and their kittens to live on the streets where they multiply further.
Many animal centres believe sterilisation is the best way to control their numbers. They campaign for trapping, sterilising and releasing them.
As feral cats are no threat to humans, and keep the rat population down, they request people to feed them – this will keep them healthy and prevent the spread of diseases. Feeding them will not stop them from catching rodents as hunting is a basic instinct.
Due to their nature, it is hopeless to relocate or re-home feral cats. Eliminating (killing) them does not solve the problem as other feral cats move in to take their place.
The most humane way to deal with them is to sterilise them. Most animal centres/shelters will be able to give advice on how to deal with a feral cat colony.
Note: Before the discovery of the gorgeous feline bundles I had been feeding my feathered friends in the neighbourhood.
Judging by the growing number and variety of birds visiting my garden the word had quickly spread that there were treats galore – honey-packed seed balls and crunchy peanut butter snacks, apart from copious amounts of wild bird seed.
With Twinkie and Meow-Meow around I have had to stop these treats as their feeding area was fast becoming a frenzied bird-killing ground.
I am still trying to find a safe spot to feed my birds…