by Karen Rose Smith
After our recent measurable snowfall, I was admiring the white landscape across the backyard. I was struck by the number of animal prints that were left in the snow by our feral visitors. While I couldn't determine who left all of the tracks, I knew some of them were left by Bonnie and Clyde, our two faithful visitors, who have been around for over three years after they were captured, neutered, spayed and released as kittens.
The neutering process must have traumatically affected them because, even three years later, they are still feral. They have made some strides in trusting us because they come for food and now spend most nights in our basement. Clyde will let us pet him, but the slightest movement of our feet or hands sends him scurrying. Bonnie will pass close by but will not tolerate sudden movements or the slightest attempt to pet her as she passes by.
But with the onslaught of an already harsh winter, I am so glad that they trust us enough to come inside our basement. And this year they seem to be more comfortable with the warm inside surroundings. Many days they are waiting outside to come in around noon, rather than their usual summer late afternoon or early evening arrivals.
They spend the afternoons napping and we try to spend time with them before their evening feeding. It is reassuring to watch Clyde purr as he is massaged after eating or even to see Bonnie sit close by, still debating if she trusts us enough to allow us to make contact. She enjoys playing with the wand or chasing treats as long as the play is done on her terms.
Each day, I rest more comfortably when I know the pair are safely in the basement for the evening...one less pair who are outside struggling to stay warm and well-fed. I have shared in previous blogs things we have done to help our feral community be safe over the winter months. Here is another wonderful article for caring for community or stray cats in winter. CLICK HERE FOR LINK.
As you sit around the fire and enjoy your family and friends this holiday season, remember the feral feline community who also need warmth and food...also water.