One of the many neighborhood strays. We’d see the tail end of her almost every time we walked down the stairs of the deck toward our chicken coop. A little grey feline creature, obviously attracted to the chickens, but scared of people and poodles. She would dash over the fence to our neighbor’s yard and hide under his trailer whenever we appeared.
Not wanting one of my chickens to become her next meal, I set a Haveahart trap and baited it with dogfood. Sure enough, next morning, she was caught.
She did not like being picked up in the cage and transported to my garage. She fought and scratched, hissing the whole time. We had a beauty on our hands, though. With her soft, silver grey coat, white bib, and green eyes, she reminded me of the cat I had when I was growing up, Tinkerbell. So that’s what I’m calling her.
After looking into those eyes, the plans I had to take her to the shelter were thrown out the window. They told me frankly that a cat who is not friendly has almost zero chance of being adopted and would almost surely be euthanized. Over the holidays, I read an article about how overrun our local shelter was with cats. Well, what you do?
I looked at the website of Ally Cat Allies, a DC-based organization that helps people live with feral cats. We talked about training her to be our pet. Everybody loved the idea, but I’m barely surviving the allergy I have to my poodle. There is no way I can add a cat to the mix and expect to be able to breathe. So Tinkerbell was let go to resume her life as a free, chicken stalking, backyard stray…and I fear we haven’t seen the last of her. Quite a few people have told me that it’s rare for a domestic cat to attack full-grown chickens, but not so sure about a hungry stray.
I’m currently doing some research to find out if there are vets in our area that participate in the Trap Neuter Return program, a humane way of controlling feral cat populations. Learn more about the benefits here. If you know anything about these programs in our area, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE FOR ROCKLANDERS - Since I wrote this post, I've discovered two Rockland-based stray cat advocacy groups. Both work with vets who participate in the Trap/Neuter/Release program, and also foster and place cats for adoption. Links are provided to their websites, where you can go for more info.
CARE ABOUT THE STRAYS
P.O. Box 523, New City, NY 10956
New City, NY
TARA (845) 754.7100
FOUR LEGS GOOD
P.O. Box 103
Pomona, NY 10970