Shadow arrived with no littermates and no mother when she was brought to Dry Creek Hill by Ernie, the alpha male of the territory. She got her name for how closely she stuck to Ernie after first arriving. Here you see Ernie and Shadow enjoying an afternoon on the deck.
Eventually Shadow became more social and tried to fit in with the other younger cats.
Here she is sharing the water tub with Camo, a member of a litter born to Mama before we got control of things through trap, neuter, and release (TNR for short). The other young cats allowed Shadow to stay, but when you watched their interactions it always looked like Shadow was an outsider with permission to hang around rather than an equal member of the club.
Shadow was truly feral and it was hard for us to get close to her. In fact, it wasn’t until she appeared one day with a kitten of her own in tow that we learned Shadow was female. It was soon after Shadow’s kitten was born that we began TNR in earnest and got a handle on colony growth.
After being spayed Shadow became more comfortable around us. You can tell the photo below was taken after her spaying by the flat top of her left ear. All spayed or neutered cats had their ears tipped by the vet so their reproductive status (or lack thereof) was obvious.
We had a higher proportion of blue-eyed white cats in our area than I would have expected. I’ve already mentioned Ernie and Turk, and there are more to come in the Feral Cat Fridays posts. Ernie was the first feral we saw when we moved to Dry Creek Hill. I’m willing to bet that his genetic material was spread liberally through the woods surrounding our little clearing. Our TNR program changed Ernie’s world quite a lot.
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