Note: this post was edited on 9/1/14 to add more of the backstory of this colony - SG.
Unfortunately, I dropped off the radar of a lot of my former colonies when I ditched my second phone number. I'd been planning to check in with several of them, but Carol from Lockwood found me first, by calling my work phone and leaving a message that she no longer needed the two shelters we had brought her years ago, and did I want them back?
When I arrived, the two last cats of the extended colony greeted me. One, a shy calico, trotted around behind the house. This lovely dilute torti was perfectly happy to greet me and get a scratch under the chin. Both of these formerly feral cat now eat inside the house, and come in for the night. The feral colony of six original cats (2002), plus cats that were later abandoned in the area, is no more. Over all those years, only one litter of kittens was born, to one of two new female cats who were abandoned on the road. This dilute torti was one of those female cats. The kittens were Burp, Fart, and Hiccup! Carol kidded me (or half-kidded me!) that this was one of "my foster cats" that I had promised to take in for adoption. I kidded back that this was HER abandoned cat to begin with. While I wish I could take in every cat that might one day tame up, as this sweetheart certainly did, I'd be hoarder if I did so. This girl was a lucky one, and now sleeps safe and warm at night.
Carol and I had a good visit, and we loaded up the shelters. I'll clean out the bedding, and they'll be available for the next colony.
Some people will say: "Twelve years to get rid of 15 or so cats? I could have just killed them in one day." Right. Except you wouldn't. The local shelter receives no funding for cat control and accepts cats as they have space--funded all on the donations of cat lovers. No one gives them money to "kill cats" and the towns and county don't even give them money to help them. This woman had basically been held hostage by kittens every summer. People dumped cats, cats had kittens, and as a caring person, she fed them and found them homes, to have it all repeated every year, to the point where she could not travel to see her family. For twelve years, she has been kitten free, except for one summer. However because she had a relationship with a feral cat rescue...wow--they were instantly gone! She is now regularly able to visit her children. Where are the volunteer cat killers who run around helping people "get rid of their cats" and can do it publicly and will come back when needed...all for free? I guarantee if you hang out your shingle advertising help "killing cats" someone in a uniform will be knocking on your door in short order.
Sure, Carol had to feed these few cats every day, and take them to the veterinarian when they were sick. She was doing that anyway...with far more cats. And these cats give back to her in company and comfort, with no fears that they will pop out more kittens. TNR is not "responsibility free" but it does reduce the work, heartache, and the number of hunting cats outdoors.
These shelters were donated to me--they were not ones we built--and for my life I can't remember who gave them to us. Do they look familiar to anyone?