Feral Cat Fridays: In The Footsteps Of Boots
I introduced Boots quite a while back as one the most prickly, touchy members of the colony. But Boots was a surprisingly good mother. Her daughter Sherman inherited Boots’ “take charge and take the hill” attitude and earned her name as she commanded the yard. Boots’ other daughter, Sheridan, earned her name because if we had one Union general we needed another.
Sheridan inherited her mother’s stand-offish behavior and learned or inherited Boots’ attitude toward child rearing. As you can see from the first photo below, Boots cared for Sheridan and did her best to protect her from the world outside. And when Sheridan gave birth to tiny Bitsy, she was just as protective. Other kittens and their mothers were close, but Sheridan and Bitsy were rarely more than a few feet apart. If they weren’t resting together (as in the second photo below) Sheridan was escorting Bitsy when she ventured into the wider colony. It’s our guess that Bitsy was the sole survivor of a larger litter that we never saw and Sheridan was lavishing the attention meant for a crowd onto Bitsy.
As soon as Bitsy was old enough to eat on her own we were able to trap and spay Sheridan. As she matured she became a bit more social, but she was never a regular part of an identifiable group. As long as she had Bitsy at her side she had all she needed.
You can see Sheridan’s tipped ear in the photo above. She’s sitting on a feeding station that came to be known as the Boots Platform because that’s where Boots, and later her family, came to eat and rest. The mulched flower bed you see in the 2 middle photos was immediately in front of the Boots Platform. Boots and her family claimed that part of the yard in the same way Harley‘s family claimed the east side of the clearing.
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Those photos of Boots, Sheridan, and Bitsy together are absolutely precious. Now my “I want a cat” juices are flowing again. Thank goodness for a bit of rationality to dam them up. I especially like the photo of Sheridan and Bitsy with the rocks and mulch. Sheridan makes the rocks look quite comfortable.
It was rewarding to watch the cats in the colony grow and get along, but I’d hang on to that rationality if I were you. When Taylor (our 20 year old calico) died we were looking forward to a life without the added complication of cats but life got in the way, as it often does. As to Sheridan lying on rocks, I’ve often envied the ability of a cat to be comfortable in the most awkward looking places and positions. On the other hand, I’m constantly evicting our house cats from my recliner.