Stellenbosch University Strays [redux]matiescat says: I belong to a small group of women who look after and manage the cat population in the southern section of Stellenbosch University campus here in South Africa. We feed them every day (they have their own secure cat-cafeteria with kennels thanks to the university), monitor their health, have them sterilized with the help of Stellenbosch Animal Welfare, and unfortunately then also send the sick and old on to a more peaceful place when the time is ready. We have managed to bring the population of cats in that area down from almost 30 to just three during the past eight years. A big part of these operations over the years has been the removal of kittens from those moms who we were unable to sterilize before they conceived. We find the kittens (usually very well hidden), and remove them at about five or six weeks, before they get too wild. These kittens are then fostered by one of us while we find them forever homes.
Several years ago I removed this litter of five kittens from their mommy, Duchess, who remains on campus, well fed, healthy and very happy in her natural habitat, and with two of her children from a previous litter. It took us ages to find that litter as the Duchess had really hidden them well... we had to climb up walls and do a proper bundu bash to get those five out! The first night we only got four and had to go back for the last little one the next day. We called him No. 5 from them on. :-) These little critters were taken just in time and were already quite wild -- tiny hissing, spitting, and scratching furballs. It didn't take them long to settle in, though they always remained a feisty and mischievous bunch. Two of them went to a new forever home together, and one independent little missy went to a home where a loving older Persian cat embraced her as her own. I, of course, fell in love with the two naughtiest ones -- both girls -- and kept them. You can just see the naughty in their faces!
I sourced their names from a series of fantasy novels written about the adventures of cats. It seemed very appropriate for these two very adventurous kittens. Feathertail was so named because she only has about 20% of a spunky tail. Cinderpelt means "ashen fur" -- perfect for Feathertail's light-grey sister. These two have grown into two beautiful adult females. They remain my most independent, mischievous and adventurous cats -- venturing out whenever they can.
The black-and-white cat in one of the photos is Thomas O'Malley (full name: Abraham Delacey Guiseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley the Alley Cat). I rescued him from the Stellenbosch campus just a few months before I got the kittens. He was about four months old and had to fight to survive on his own by feeding from the dustbins on campus. It took us months to catch him. He is now my most loving cat -- more like a dog actually. And interestingly enough, even though he is a tomcat, he is always the one who cares most for any new kittens I bring home -- as is apparent from the one photo of him with Feathertail and Cinderpelt.
I live in Somerset West, South Africa, with my ten cats: Tigger, Bagheera, Tabitha and Tama (who I got as abandonded kittens when they were only a day old), Splotch, Thomas O'Malley, Feathertail, Cinderpelt, Gandalf the White, and Gemmer.Courtesy of: matiescat
read more: Stellenbosch University Strays [redux] - April 29, 2012