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Pool Boy

Pool Boy's Feral Cats

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About eight and a half years ago, a much loved cat of mine, Nigel, passed away far too young from lymphoma. We buried him in our yard. That evening, my wife and I were sitting on the patio (it was October) and toasting him with a beer. Nigel loved beer. Anyway, we were in a moment, thinking of him, glad that he was free, and I looked up and where the edge of our house roofline met the sky, I saw a fuzzy mottled dark tabby staring back at me. On the roof. She disappeared shortly thereafter and my wife and I were just laughing about it and astonished. We went inside.

The next early evening, this cat showed up on the patio, looking in out back glass door. I got some food to put out for her (no collar, no tags) and she backed away. I went back inside. She ate a little and went out of the field of view. A minute or two later, with much meowing, all from her, she brought 5 kittens along with her, probably 7 or 8 weeks old.

This was the beginning of The Patio Cats.

<Stay tuned for more adventures of the Patio Cats in the coming days, weeks, months>

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The original mama cat we just called Mama Kitty or Big Mama Kitty. She had Blackie, Graybeard, Oreo, Horse/Simon/Braveheart, Valentino and Louisa. We do not know who the dad was, but pretty sure it was likely a big neighborhood tom we nicknamed Puss.

Of those 6, they all wandered off, or died, or got taken in, all except for Valentino and Louisa. Louisa had kittens of her own in 2007, and Valentino got in a bad fight at the end of 2007 and had to be put to sleep. After Louisa weaned her kittens, she hung around for a while but eventually left the Patio to do other things.

Louisa's kittens were Horatio, Totonno, Fuzzy Bob, Wilhelmina and June. More on them in the next installment.

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Life as a Patio Cat guardian is hard sometimes, and often a roller coaster. I love all of these cats, and I miss the ones that moved on (dead, taken in, greener pastures, who knows) without getting a chance to say goodbye (Mikey, Justine, Cliff, Vyvyan, Mooch, etc). But the one that I have known the longest, and best (and not taken in, is Wills.

Wills, or rather Wilhelmina, named after my great-great grandmother (well, I liked the name), has feline HIV (but is otherwise perfectly healthy and she's the most laid back of all the outdoor cats - chances of her spreading this are extremely slim). It makes it hard for her to fight off infection and even a case of the sniffles. But she's been battling through 8 years of outdoor life.

I saw her last on Friday night. Missing one meal on a given day is not completely abnormal. Missing two in a row gives me pause, but I give her leeway as the weather gets better. Three in a row and I am concerned. Four and I am officially worried. Five and I am losing it.

Well, I am beyond happy to report that she magically showed up tonight. Fur looking good. Sniffles and cough and general weariness greatly reduced and waning. All of the scabs from scratching herself from the dry skin and then fleas and who knows what else massively reduced. Even the knot in her tail was smooth and silky.

Someone else in our hood, most likely besides me and my backyard neighbor, is looking out for this girl. My guess is they finally managed to get her and took her to the vet. Got her some shots, rehydration and some damn fine TLC and high fat gourmet dinners and brunches. Maybe a massage.

My hats are off to these folks, whomever they are. They are one with the feline way and for this I am massively grateful.

Wills got an extra special dinner tonight and a whole lot of petting I am glad to say.

Now my heart palpitations can calm down for a bit.

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This is Wills from a few years ago. Wilhelmina. She's been out there for 8 years now, known he since she was a kitten.

Our trap and release efforts have been pretty good over the years. Also, our efforts to place a lot of the kittens has gone well. I think we have placed at least a dozen, maybe closer to twenty kittens with the help of our vet. I still have some to catch. They have a rough life, we just try to make it a little easier for them and stabilize the population.

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And now I am dealing with a difficult neighbor. They are now trapping the cats and having Animal Control come and remove them to euthanize them.  They have no idea this will not solve their problem. The problem is apparently 'poop in the yard' (they have a toddler, and don't like it getting on the lawnmower, etc).

\ugh

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