Our big bruiser boy kitty Sonic patrolled the backyard of the 1952 House tonight while Chad and I watched Masterpiece Mystery. My ears ever on alert to kitty distress calls heard a feline cry, paused the mystery story and ran for the backyard. Sonic yowled with concern, but not his usual battle ululations to intruder-cats. After grabbing flip-flops and flashlights, Chad and I separated Sonic from what we thought was a baby bunny that hopped off to the far right side of our yard fence line. Then Sonic tore off to the far left side of our yard. When I chased down Sonic, I also cornered a tiny kitten that looked about four to six weeks old, and looked JUST LIKE Sonic. (All of our cats are spayed/neutered. It's just a coincidence.) Chad and I tried to catch the kitten, but it ran off to the same spot as the "baby bunny", and slipped under the fence line to a neighbor's yard.
I hauled Sonic into the 1952 House, then set out fresh water and kitty food should the kittens return. In the morning I'll go to the Austin Humane Society to rent a humane trap for the kittens. My goal is to get the kittens to a shelter intake where they can be safe, get their shots, get spayed/neutered, be socialized and get adopted. Yes, I'll make a monetary donation to whichever shelter will take them. Thank goodness, Austin is a no-kill city, meaning adoptable pets are not "euthanized"/killed at the shelters.
If I catch the mama cat too, my goal is to get her spayed, care for her during recovery and release her back into our yard. We'll start leaving food and water on our deck for her, and possibly add an outdoor cat to our brood if she doesn't run for the hills. Of course, if we catch mama cat I'll put up "Found Cat" posters too, on the off chance she has a home.
Chad and I were not at all planning on adding to the pack at the 1952 House. In fact, we were hoping to get the pet population down to two through natural attrition.
If you have feral cats/kittens in your neighborhood in Austin, please take advantage of Austin Humane Society's generous programs to help curb the homeless/unwanted cat population through trapping, neutering and returning.
Outside of Austin, click this link for resources on feral cats/kittens:
Sonic came to our home from an acquaintance who cared for a feral cat colony in her decidedly upscale neighborhood. She trapped, neutered and returned the adult cats, and got the kittens into adoption programs. I'd like to think that Sonic's distress cry in the backyard tonight meant "Hey! Come help these kittens. It's my turn to pay it forward." However, it likely meant, "Hey! Get these kittens out of here. I don't want to share my resources, such as food, water or lap-space."