It was surprisingly easy to identify most of the cats in our colony, but if there was one cat we were guaranteed to recognize, it was Motley. Motley was a member of Harley’s second litter and was the sister of Tux and Fuzzy Tux.
As you can see from the photos, Motley inherited and magnified the calico/tortoiseshell genes that were less prominent in her mother. Harley had distinctive and attractive touches of orange in her black, gray, and white coat, but Motley was full-on tortoiseshell. Her colors combined with her retiring nature gave her a perpetually serious, inquisitive and slightly startled expression.
Like the other members of Harley’s family, Motley usually kept her distance from us except at dinner time when we were putting food on the Harley Platform or near the shed where the family hung out. Even then, we had to avert our eyes as we put food in front of her or she would startle and shy away.
The white saucer you see in front of Motley and Tux in the first photo is evidence of a canned food dinner rather than the usual dry food. We wanted to be sure the kittens were eating well on their own so we could trap and neuter Harley and prevent any more litters from her. Canned food was a good test for the kittens. Second, it was easier to draw many of the cats into traps if they were baited with canned food rather than dry. Introducing the kittens and Harley to canned food enhanced our TNR rate and sped up our population control efforts. If you look carefully at Motley’s left ear in the second and third photos you can see that the ear is slightly tipped, a sign that she has been trapped and spayed.
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