Shortly after Chris and I moved into our new place in March, a stray cat appeared on our patio. She was skinny, exhausted looking, and very sweet. She would peer into our apartment through the patio door window, intriguing our dog Rusty and aggravating our cat Mia. We sat outside with her a few times and it became obvious shortly thereafter that she was carrying a bunch of kittens.Mia and her new friend, Porchy. So, for the immediate (or extended) future, Chris and I are Porchy's stewards. Mia and Porchy play with each other through the window. It's pretty entertaining. Mia seems like she really wants to bat Porchy in the face. Yeah, she's a nice girl. Hahahaha. I still have fantasies of the five of us moving into a nice house with a big yard and everyone playing nice happy games with each other inside and out. The realistic scenario, though, is that we have to move when our lease is up and the next tenants will inherit Porchy. Only time will tell, I guess.
Chris and I have a soft spot for animals (clearly) and we knew the only option was for us to help this poor homeless mom with her new family. We started to feed her, spent time with her outside, and discussed what to do in order to get her to a safer place. If our current living situation were different, we would have likely tried taking her in ourselves, but we are at our pet limit and wouldn't feel comfortable intentionally breaking our leasing agreement even though she pulled at our heartstrings.
We nicknamed this new cat Porchy (she lives on the patio/porch after all) and started getting her accustomed to a carrier by leaving her food inside of one set outside. After a few weeks, we intended to bring her to a local animal shelter. Reading horrible reviews of the closest one quickly changed my mind! I set about asking my friends for help and had quickly found Porchy a foster family that was part of a small rescue group.
Drop off day came. It almost broke my heart. Getting Porchy into the carrier was easy, but the face she made when I closed the door behind her bony butt was one of absolute confusion and disbelief. She didn't cry or try to escape on the way to meet her foster mom. And when I removed the carrier from my car and handed her over, her eyes were wider than I've ever seen them. Her expression was devastating to me. I could just hear her asking "How could you do this to me? I trusted you!" It made me very, very sad.
Thankfully, my friend with the rescue group sent me pictures as soon as Porchy had her kittens. There were six, all girls, and they have all grown into adorable, cuddly little misfits. Some of them have already been adopted out.
This friend also informed me that Porchy did not seem like being an inside cat was in her nature. She asked us if when the kittens were born and Porchy was given her shots and a spay we would be open to caring for her as our neighborhood stray again. It was an option I was willing to accept. I wanted something better for her, but I also had to respect her wishes as an individual. If she didn't want to be someone's house cat, I certainly couldn't force her to try.
The next time we discussed Porchy, my friend informed me that they were actually going to bring her to a feral cat colony instead. I thought this was a great idea, and a happy ending. But about 4-5 days after they dropped her off there, she wound up back on our porch. Apparently Porchy did not like the colony, for some unknown reason.
The first night was very trying. For a cat that supposedly did not want to be a house cat, she certainly seemed interested in the opposite. After we gave her a meal, she spent the rest of the night crying at the patio door. The next day, she spent nearly all of her waking hours looking through the glass. Sigh. Just writing about it now makes me very emotional. I feel so terrible.
But after that we were back in our old routine. I went to Petsmart and got her bright pink food and water dishes and even a matching breakaway collar (that lasted about three days). Before we went to Midland for Chris's mom's birthday, we even constructed her an outdoor house in case it started to rain or she needed to get away from the other feral cats that roam our neighborhood at night. She didn't use it until two days ago, at least as far as I know. I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a banging noise. Looking out onto the patio I saw whom we refer to as "orange cat" thumping the side of the house, which is a Rubbermaid storage container with a hole in one side. I turned on the light and shooed him away. Unfortunately, that spooked Porchy, too, and she scurried off in the opposite direction. Oh well. At least I know she's open to using it when necessary!
If you have any similar stories you'd like to share, I would love to hear them. And if you ever find yourself in a similar situation I want you to know that you may find yourself conflicted on what to do, but the experience is most definitely worth it. Compassion is the world's greatest characteristic. It might be a painful experience for you, but any suffering you can help alleviate will make the world a much better place.