Feral Cat Fridays: Scribbling About Scrabble
A vigorous trap, neuter, release program stopped our feral cat colony from growing from the inside, but we still had the occasional addition from the outside. A few lone, mature toms would emerge from the woods and quickly move on after discovering all the colony’s females were spayed, but young males were likely to join the colony. Scrabble was one of those young males.
When we first saw Scrabble he was probably 6-9 months old. We moved quickly to trap and neuter him. Scrabble spent his recovery time in a crate in our house. When we were trapping and neutering more than one cat at a time we had a recovery room set up in a climate-controlled workshop area, but with a single patient it was easier to tend to him in the house. He didn’t leave a review on Yelp, but he seemed satisfied with the accommodations and food during his stay.
All of the cats had their ears tipped when they were neutered, but the degree of tipping varied with who was working the clinic that day. Some cats had very noticeable ear tip jobs, but Scrabble’s ear tipping was subtle. If you look closely at his left ear as he sits in the crate or on the deck you can barely see that his left ear is flat on top. Compare that to Fluff, riding the roadrunner on the Cats of Dry Creek Hill book cover shown in right sidebar, who had an ear tip job that was impossible to miss.
Scrabble fit smoothly into the colony and got along with everyone. It didn’t hurt that he was neutered before sexual maturity and there were no unspayed females in the colony when he arrived. With nothing to compete with the other males over, it was easy to just settle back and have a comfortable life with his new friends. And a few wrestling matches, of course.
- Feral Cat Fridays: “Ten-Hut!”
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I laughed at the thought of a Yelp review. I couldn’t help wondering if there was a yelp or two during the various procedures. I was imagining musical yelps, anguished yelps, silent yelps — maybe even a rendition of “Yelp! I need somebody.”. On a scale of one to ten, that surely would rate a 9.6.
There were a few yelps during the procedures, for sure, and I’m sure there were a lot more silent yelps than the ones we heard. We typically trapped 2 cats on the same day and they recovered in neighboring crates, so there were a few “Yelp! I need somebody” and a few “I want to hold your hand” mews. Overall, the process seemed much less stressful than we had anticipated and our “victims” didn’t seem to hold it against us. We thought they were likely to disappear as soon as we released them after recovery but everyone hung around and acted like nothing had happened. I guess they figured that most of their friends had been through the same thing and they were now members of the secret club with the tipped ear badge. Nevertheless, I’m glad they didn’t have access to an online review mechanism, although that might have slowed down the flow of tourists and new residents.