Monday, June 4, 2012

~Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty...~

 This is our barn cat, Matilda.  She's an absolutely great mouser and "moler"!  She was taught well by her mama who could sit for hours watching and waiting for a mole to emerge, pounce and then do away with.  Moles do horrific damage in our yard making it look like a mine field so I am more than pleased that she can rid us of these nasty little critters.  For a long while, Matilda disappeared and we thought maybe the coyotes got her.  Then, all of a sudden, she appeared and has been hanging around the house alot.  As in all the time.  One day the young lady, who is keeping my flower beds weed and grass free, spotted a kitten under the porch outside our living room.

 The next day, I grabbed the camera, went around the house and came upon Matilda with her baby.  To keep from startling the little bugger, I stayed about 20 feet away and zoomed in really close to get some good shots.

 After a bit, I spotted this cute little furball peeking its head out from the hole dug under the porch.  When we first noticed the hole, we feared that skunks were making beds under the porch as we had been getting really strong odors from this side of the house from time to time.  But, thankfully, it was a mama cat and her kittens!

 This poor baby wasn't quite sure what to do.  It spots me and then mama off to the side.  What to do?  What to do?

 Well, it jumps on over to where it feels most safe!

 After waiting a while longer, two more kittens emerge...a calico and a black one.  Talk about the Heinz 57 variety!!  Aren't they adorable?  No wonder Matilda has been hanging around so much!

 Unfortunately, these kittens are as wild as wild can be.  Getting close to them is quite a challenge.  Matilda has always been a thin cat and she's even more so with the kittens.  I've decided to put out some kitten food to help her out and, hopefully, tame the kittens some.

 Oh, this is another little peephole that mama made for her and the kittens.  Just around the corner from the other one that is really too small for her to get in and out of.  There are actually three places around the porch for the kittens to scamper to if I get too close.

The kittens have really  become skittish since I found them a couple of weeks ago.  But I am able to grab a few pictures through the French doors that lead to the porch.  Chow time!

 They have become quite comfortable coming on the porch for their play time.  These two seem to be the most bold as I see them more than the other two.

 Years ago, when we had barn kittens, I can remember my youngest using a cattle whip to entice the kittens to play.  She spent hours out there getting them comfortable with her being there and, eventually, they weren't quite so skittish.  But I don't have the luxury of having that much time on my hands to play that game.

I know that the kittens can hear me and may even watch me through the cracks, so I talk to them while putting out water and kitten food.  I even scatter some in the opening they escape to in hopes that, one day, they will make the connection and not be so afraid.  At least I know they take advantage of what I am leaving for them.  Once the kitten food is gone, I'm hoping that they'll start going to the barn where Matilda is usually fed.  I don't want possums and skunks to be loitering around the house looking for food!

 Looks like they're practicing their pouncing skills.  Reminds me of the scene in Lion King.  Heehee.  The little rascals!!

 I caught them taking their nap yesterday afternoon.  I'm sure that as they get older, they will start venturing out away from our place but, if they do stay, they better learn how to become great 'molers' like their mama!

I'm still taking pictures through the glass but I'm seeing some positive signs.  Yesterday, I was putting down some weed/grass killer on the patio stones and two of them stayed on the porch watching me with their wide-eyed look.  At least they didn't run.  I don't want them to be house pets but I'd like to be able to pet them and put flea collars on them when I can.  Any suggestions?

Watching kittens scamper and play is such a delight and simply joyful.  I pray you have a day full of simple joys~

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Carol said...

Ok, I can give you way more info than you want. (this is the veterinarian in me talking)
Cats wean their kittens at 4-6 weeks. They can get pregnant again while still nursing, and I've seen single cats have 3-4 litters in a year. That's about 20 kittens per cat per year.
I've seen people overwhelmed with cats because of their reproduction rate.
I would call a cat rescue in your area and have them arrange for someone to take and foster the kittens, and see about getting Matilda neutered asap.....before you get overrun with cats, most of which will have short lives ending in miserable death.
Good luck, and I will be happy to answer any questions.

Betty Sneeringer said...

Seeing your cat and kittens is refreshing. I grew up on a farm and we often had cats (always outside) We never took the measures the above advises and I'm not aware of any big problem.


Cindy said...

The kittens are so adorable, Velma, if I lived close by I would gladly take one of them. I LOVE cats.
Have a beautiful day.
Hugs, Cindy

vintage grey said...

Ooh, Velma I could be there all day too watching these sweet kitties!! Love, love!! Have a wonderful week with those precious kitties! xo Heather

Shannon @ Cozy Home Scenes said...

Hi Velma! Those kittens sure are cute. No words of wisdom for you except to keep doing what you are to get them used to people. I don't know much about feral cats except they hang around the fast food places where I live.

Our community has a group that feeds the cats, and I've watched as the cats know these people and let them touch them. Of course, said person is also holding their only reliable food source too.

I once stopped and asked a woman about the cats and she told me all are caught and fixed. No more kittens, yet she said the feral cats are released back where they came from since this is what they know.

I'm sure just feeding them and talking to them will help them at least get semi used to you being around, especially since you are feeding them. Good luck with that!

My Vintage Mending said...

Oh what a wonderful excuse to never get anything done...I want come and watch them....My parents get barn cats but they are never as sweet as to you as you feed and nurture them...smiles..Renee

Kerin said...

What a surprise!
They sure are cute.

We don't have any cats around here...surely it's because we have our dog 'Rowdy'.

Hope that you find the resolution that works for you .

Smiles :)

Little Susie Home Maker said...

Hi Velms! Hopped on over from Heathers Vintage Grey. I love the kitties. I have had sets of kittens out of our barn before, too! It's been awhile though. They are a Heinz 57! Kittens are so fun. Maybe you could coax Mama back to the barn with food outside, then move it inside after a few days to get the kittens over there. I never have luck taming them unless we catch them young and bring them in to feed.
Have fun!

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Oh what fun to watch kittens! You are so lucky to have Matilda, I could use a moler right now! I have a stray cat hanging around now, but I just can't get close. I call him Ray instead of stRAY, I have been feeding him for 18 months and he is yet to let me touch him! Good luck, how sweet you are to help Matilda out with food



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