Here is an article submitted by Kyle Smith about making warm shelters for feral cats using simple, cheap materials.  I thought the design was so simple and effective that I agreed to post the article to help spread this information.

Make a winter shelter for feral cat colonies. The winter and summer seasons are the hardest for feral cats. Cold temperatures, wind, freezing rain and snow can lead to frostbitten paws, noses, and tails. Food and water become scarce and braving the elements makes finding food harder. Feral cats exist in every city and small town. They number in the millions and mostly go unseen and unprotected. ASPCA recommends implementing a TNR program in any area where feral cats roam. This program helps capture, neuter and return cats to the colony, which in turn reduces the population and helps maintain the cat’s health. Most animal rescue organizations are willing help you join or set up a feral cat program in your area. If there are feral cats nearby you can help them have a warm place to hide out this winter by creating a “Roughneck Home”. Erubbermaid has created a not-for-profit program called “Roughneck Homes” where you can purchase or donate an 18-gallon Rubbermaid tote at wholesale prices. Spend a little time, today, to help your fellow feline this winter.

Cat Shelter

What you need to build a Rubbermaid Roughneck Feral Cat Shelter.

  • Rubbermaid Container (the 18-gallon size is pictured)
  • Styrofoam Cooler
  • Straw
  • Duct Tape
  • Exacto or box knife
  • Eight inch diameter pot lid or plastic lid
  • Marker of pen
  • Nail file

Make a hole in the front of container by using a marker to trace around the lid then carefully cut out hole with Exacto knife. File down any sharp edges. Place the Styrofoam container inside the Rubbermaid container. Mark inside hole by tracing around outside container with a marker. Cut out Styrofoam hole. Pack straw into the gap between the Styrofoam container and the Rubbermaid container. Place the straw inside the inner container. Place the lid on Styrofoam cooler and tape edges with duct tape then do the same with the lid on the Rubbermaid container.

For more information, step-by-step instructions and photos go to the Roughneck Feral Cat Shelter site.

The shelter pictured is an 18-gallon container, suitable for one cat or two small cats. For a larger shelter, use the 36-gallon Roughneck and a bigger Styrofoam cooler.

Getting feral cats to use the homes isn’t too difficult if you think like a cat.

Cats are cautious, like small spaces where they can hide. Place your home in a secluded quiet area where you’ve seen cats. Avoid open spaces, noisy populated areas, away from car fumes and chemicals and away from dogs.

Entice cats with food and water. Never place food inside a shelter that’s meant to be ‘slept’ in. Cats don’t like to sleep with food near them. Place a dish of food near the shelter to draw cats closer and boost their curiosity. If using food only visit shelter once or twice per day. Feral cats get nervous and will avoid something that attracts too much human attention. You can also create a separate shelter for food using just the outside container with no cooler in it. Place ‘food’ shelter in the same area as but not close to ‘sleeping’ shelter.

Patience. It may take a few days to a week for feral cats to trust the new shelter. If there have been no signs of habitation after 2 weeks consider changing the location of the shelter.

Additional modifications: Often, feral cats will be hesitant to enter a shelter with only one exit, since it leaves them vulnerable to predators. You may need to cut a second hole on the opposite side to encourage ferals to use your roughneck home.

For cold windy areas added protection from wind or other elements may be needed. Installing a door flap made of heavy plastic, vinyl or canvas to each entrance of your roughneck home easily does this. Cats don’t like change so its best to start your shelter with flaps rather than installing them later.

A year ago we fostered two fierce orange tabby boys.  I worked to socialize Winnie and used that experience to write about how to burrito (snoggle) a cat.  We currently have a semi-feral cat, Sammy, and I’m going to some of the different techniques I use working with him.  I should say up-front that I’m no expert at this.  I have some advice from experienced people and am learning as I go.

It turned out that burritoing Winnie did not provide any benefit.  Initially he would start to purr as I wrapped him in the towel and seemed to relax after 20 minutes.  5-6 days later he would purr less and escape more.  I decided that I had mis-read the purring.  Cats purr when they are comfortable and happy but also when they WANT to be more comfortable and happy.  It is also called “stress purr”.  Winnie was purring because he was stressed by the contact.  As he got more comfortable with being burritoed he purred less and asserted his desire to be free more.

Forced contact, of which burritoing is one technique, may work well to overcome fear of humans in cats who have had little human contact.  If you can hold them long enough they will tire out, may realize they like human touch, and that conclusion may stick.  It did not work with Winnie because he had already come to the firm conclusion that he did not like human touch.  Repeating the process did nothing to change that conclusion.

So I changed tactics.  I let Winny run free in our house and made no attempt to touch him.  He turned out to be a great house mate and I really enjoyed him.  Eventually he allowed some touch.  Soon after that he got adopted.  His adopter continued the program.  Now he snuggles with her.

There was one time when I tried to pick him up.  He was eating out of a some one else’s food bowl.  We were at that point so comfortable around each other that I forgot about the no-touch policy.  I walked up behind him and picked him up.  He immediately turned into a ball of sharp claws and won his immediate release.  I apologized profusely and the incident was forgotten long before my scratches healed.

Sammy, who came to us as a young adult.  He purred when held so I assumed he was friendly.  We sent him to foster where he was reported to like pets.  He came to live with us in December and has slowly become more feral.  I now thinking that his purr is a stress purr and he really does not like human contact. That is not entirely true because he did like pets in the other foster and, at times here has shown enjoyment here.  He has  mixed feelings about human contact.

Helping him to overcome his discomfort with touch will make him more adoptable – make it more likely that we’ll find good home for him as a companion animal.  And, if we do place him as a companion animal he will be more comfortable in the company of people.  The alternative is to place him as a “barn cat” where is primary job is rodent control.

Letting him run free in the house may eventually work.  He will have constant presence of me and Marie, play time, treats, and meals to help him build positive association.  Given 6 months or a year he may decide that we humans are OK.  But I’m going to try to speed of the process by isolating him from the other cats in the house.  Sammy is very social and accustomed to a lot of contact with Maggie plus others.  If I deprive him of that he may be more willing to overcome his discomfort for the reward of my contact.

Sammy and Maggie love to be together but this reduces Sammy

There are problems with isolation.  He misses his buddies, calls out to them, and acts depressed.  I believe that on-balance the benefit is worth the short-term discomfort for him, but there is discomfort.

I work from home in an upstairs office.  It is easy to isolate him in two upstairs rooms: the landing and the office.  He has some choice.  He could stay out in the landing, in a completely separate room from me if he wants that much distance.  I’ve made the perches in my office more appealing.  If he wants to use those he has to share the same room.

At this point he has been with me one day.  Already I can now approach and pet him.  He will lean into my hand and show enjoyment.  I set up a pedestal in my office by the window.  It is such an appealing bed that he now will stay in the same room as me.

Sammy on the pedestal. This is far enough from me for him to stay.

I also set up a bed on my desk near where I work. He has already discovered that, but it is too close for him to remain while I work.

Sammy on the desk. This is too close for him to stay.

In a couple days I’ll take away the post and make the desk bed the most appealing place to be.

Meanwhile, I approach him as often as I can and offer some affection. If he stays and relaxes I pet him. If he shows discomfort I give him space.

At night I’ll let Maggie and some other cats upstairs so that Sammy gets some cat society time and they get to sleep in their accustomed places.  I believe this will lengthen the process but feel that the benefit to everyone is worth it.  If I find that Sammy reverts too much I’ll change that tactic.

One very effective technique would be to bring him into a small room with me to sleep at night.  Already he sleeps on the bed with me, often nestled against my legs.  I don’t think he realizes they are my legs though…

Winnie – Update

A year ago, beginning of 2011, we received two orange kittens who were very fierce.  We worked with them for a long time.  Marie lived with Odel in her office for about a month.  He eventually grew to trust her.  I worked with Winnie by snoggling him.  Eventually I realized that he did not like contact and forcing it was not helping.  I change policy and let him have run of the house with no attempts to touch him.  Turned out he was a super fun cat to have around – always interested and very affectionate with our boy Nelson.  Ready for play, interested in what I was doing.  He just had a no touch policy.

We tried to adopt them together, and did send them home with one adopter who returned both the next day.  One reason for the return was that they could not touch the boys.  I told them this quite clearly but they must have a believed they had superior kitten taming abilities.  Eventually Odel went to a great home in Edmonds leaving us with Winnie.  Winnie had a number of potential adopters call. I screened carefully for adopters who would have the patience to work with him and stability (less likely to have life changes that required re-homing Winnie) and ended up convincing most adopters to look at other cats.

I was just accepting that he may be our cat, an idea I mostly liked, and he was just beginning to get snuggly when the perfect adopter showed up.  She was looking for a companion for her cat, had experience with shy cats, had patience, and seemed stable.  I was sad to see him go.

Our current foster Sammy is a lot like Winnie.  Wondering how Winnie, is I queried Jill who sent this report.  His name is now Pinto, aka Bean.

Hi Tom,

Little Bean is fantastic. I am SO in love with him! He is such an easy cat. Yes, he is super loving (to me) and although he may always be skiddish, he sleeps with me on the bed, loves to cuddle next to me, lick my hands and even lets me curl my face up next to him and take a nap with him and yes, pick him up. He even sits next to me now on my chair when I am working and lets me put him on my lap (for a while).

He and Pacha get along great (he is MUCH friendlier to her than she will ever be to him but they are really good buds now, finally – it took 6 months for her to be really warm to him and even then she prefers my company to his). She is on prednisone for asthma and that makes her more irritated but he is submissive and follows her around like her kitten. They play-fight and chase each other at least 6 times a day, just like children. They go out during the day and I lock them in at dusk. Pinto changed dramatically once I let him do that. He became SO much happier and less demanding of Pacha. They hang pretty tight outside and when the weather is nice, he likes to stay out most of the day, sleeping out there and coming in for dinner and a few snacks during the day. They love to go for walks with me on the beach and Pinto chases the sand-fleas and seagulls!
Pinto went to the vet, yes, TO the vet recently. I had to trick him into his box but he was fine there and checked out as healthy as can be.
I think because I NEVER pushed Pinto and let him come to me in his own time, he learned to trust me and not fear me in the least. If there were kids involved or a pushier person, I am not sure it would have worked out as well. He has such a strong memory and is overall a scaredy-cat, that I am not sure he will ever warm up to strangers.
I attached some pics. Please know he is super happy and well-loved. Best of luck with your new kitties. I wish I could take more.
Walks on the beach:  sounds like cat heaven.

Winnie and Odel as kittens

Pinto and his new buddy Pacha

Pinto and Pacha

Pinto on the beach

Nelson’s adopters have written us several times with updates:

First night:

As soon as we got him home he did the low walking all around our place like you said he would. Then once he realized there were no other cats or people he instantly started acting like king! We spent the evening playing with the feather toy you suggested and his tunnel box! After a few hours he fell asleep on Dan’s lap while we watched a movie. He has been eating well already (I think you were right 3 oz isn’t going to be enough, we are going to stick to 4-6). More updates and photos to come later. Thank you for raising such a great cat! We promise him a fun, safe, and loving home.

Belly Time

Decembert 20, 2011

The king is doing fantastic! I was home sick for most of this week so we had some great bonding time. Now he follows me all around the apartment! I am never out of his sight! He “helped” me wrap christmas presents, and he was so helpful that I decided to build him a cat condo from the boxes I had left over.

Wrapping presents


Casa de Nelson

January 10, 2012

Here are a few pictures of the best cat on earth! I don’t know how he got the laundry basket to balance like this, but he is amazing! Hope you guys are having a good new year!

Laundry basket trick

It is great to hear from them and know they love Nelson and that Nelson is happy in his home.

Sammy and Maggie

Maggie and Sammy are two ordinary looking cats with special inner qualities. They both came from the same site and look like brother and sister but are several months apart in age. None the less, they are good buddies and play mates.

Maggie when she first arrived snuggled when held

Sammy when he first arrived purred when held

Maggie arrived first as a known friendly.  She was paired with Lewis, a shy cat, in the hopes that she would teach him how to be friendly. Sammy came to us as a presumed feral and so got ear tipped. I discovered that he purred when held. He went to a foster house and was joined by Maggie a couple weeks later. They went through a couple transfers, including some time in an All the Best Pet Care store for adoption before we received them. In the store they were too shy of people to be readily adoptable so we took them for more socialization time.

They are teaching me how cats communicate with each other.  I am learning about chirps, trills, and body language from them.

Maggie comforting Annabelle who was ill.

Both love other cats. When Maggie meets another cat she, purrs, arches, and rubs up against things. Then she falls on her side, makes air-biscuits toward them, and rolls over a few times. This is cat greeting for: we are going to be the best friends! Annabelle, another foster and a story in her own right, feels the same about other cats.  She too will do the rolls and air biscuits.  I now often find some combination of Maggie, Sammy, and Annabelle curled up together.

They have such good cat social skills.  When a cat does not reciprocate their interest, such as our mid-aged lady Luna, they will respect that boundary. I’ve never seen them hiss at or swat at another cat. Neither have the hiss, swatted, or nipped at me. Maggie would nip playfully at my hand but I only needed to squeak at her a few times. Each time she would pull back and look sorry that she had hurt me. She has not nipped at me since.

Maggie investigating little Nansen, who is a little uncertain.

Both are playful but Sammy is the supper athletic one. He knows that before bedtime I’ll get Da-Bird out for a good round of play. He shows up near me, tail up, rolling around on the floor to say – ready to play now! He is like a panther – speed and lots of power. He makes great leaps and shakes the floor when he lands.

In previous foster, Sammy would allow himself to be approached and held but Maggie would not. Here I isolated Maggie first – she spent the first week with me in my office and got comfortable with contact. I’m doing a long at-home meditation retreat in January and thought it would be a good time to work with shy cats. However, when I isolated Sammy upstairs where I mediate he would complain and call to Maggie. Then Maggie figured out where her buddy was and they both scratched at the door from opposite sides. Needless to say, meditation was impossible in those conditions so I gave Sammy free run of the house. Even so, in the two days with me he allowed me to approach and pet him. After retreat, when I’m more able to tolerate interruption, I’ll isolate Sammy again and work on his human trust issues.

Maggie and Sammy in a love nets

Sammy and Maggie snuggle while I meditate

Sammy is content with Maggie.

I’ve developed so much appreciation for these guys loving, gentle, and smart attributes I am tempted to adopt them ourselves. They are so very good with other cats they would not be at all disturbed by the constant change in the cat population. But their addition would bring us to 4 resident, which is a lot.

The two spend a lot of time playing together.

These are two cats I’ll be sad to say good by to.  We are looking for a good home for them.  I think they would do best in a house with patient people and some other cats.  They will get along with and play with just about any cat.  The adopter will have to have patience with their shyness but will be richly rewarded.

Sammy and Maggie together

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Rehoming Nelson

Nov 28 Update: Thank you to L&D for adopting Nelson as a new member of their family. I am sure he will be very happy in his new home.

It is time for our sweet boy Nelson to find a new home. He was our very first foster and adoption but, after two years, we have to admit we are the wrong home for him.

We took the Seattle Animal Shelter foster parent class then went down to visit with the cats needing foster. Nelson reached out through the cage and latched onto Marie’s sweater so we took him home. Pretty soon he was sleeping on my desk while I worked, in bed with us, and chirping for attention. He purred loudly when we pet him and we soon fell in love with him.


Nelson waiting by the door for us.

Nelson sleeping on the chair in my office.

The sweet boy sleeping on my desk while I worked.

And so, we adopted him. A short while later we brought home a new foster cat, Luna. It took a while for Nelson and Luna to co-habitate peacefully. Nelson would follow and chase Luna. Even after months he would attack her now and then. But most of the time they seemed to like each other. There was some contention over beds, but we resolved that.

Luna was a sweetheart and we decided to adopt her too.

Nelson and Luna getting to know each other.

Looks like they could be friends.

Yes, they like each other.


Nelson would at times become quite manic and we thought he wanted a more playful buddy than Luna. We took Jojo as a foster transfer with the idea he may be a good buddy for Nelson. Soon the two were playing together and all three settled in together so we adopted Jojo.

Nelson and Jojo sleeping together.

All three cats together.

Not long after that, Nelson and Jojo started to fight. We tried many different things to get them back together but to no avail. We eventually re-homed Jojo. Along the way we introduced Nelson to several foster kittens and he generally got along with them.

Nelson and Maxwell

Nelson and Winnie

Nelson was sometimes a little rough but Winnie adored Nelson

Cleaning the Put-n-Take

As time passed, Nelson seemed less able to tolerate the presence of any other cats or kittens. We eventually moved all our cat rescue activity to the garage. We talked to several different vets to see if there was a medical issue that would cause his strange behavior and we even hired a cat psychologist. We tried Prozac and all kinds of behavior therapy but nothing seemed to truly help. Ultimately, he did not seem happy with us. To understand why, we took him to cat communicator Polly Klein. Through her, Nelson told us that other cats make him nervous and he does not want to live with other cats. We asked if he could be kind to Luna and tolerate other cats so we could help them like we helped him. Polly said his anxiety was too high.

Luna being friends with Nelson

Nelson loves his peeps

We love Nelson dearly. He is a great cat to live with. He is very interactive – hopping up on tables for pets and attention, sleeping with us, and seeking out lap time. But all the foster cats make him too nervous so it is time to re-home him. He is now at All The Best pet store on Queen Anne, where the amazing staff watch over him and will help him find the perfect home. Parting was more painful than we could imagine, but even at the strange pet store, with no other cats around, we could see him relax and start to settle into his new space. Our house is much more relaxed now and we’ve already taken on six additional foster cats and kittens to help with overcrowding at the shelter. We sense that Luna misses Nelson and we may eventually find her a much more cat-tolerant permanent companion. For now, we look forward to helping as many cats as we can without fear of upsetting our dear, dear Nelson.

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The knights came to us from a horader in seattle. Cats from this site trickled through our garage facility for months.

Our group, Alley Cat Project, is a small cat rescue – about 7 volunteers – working on trap-neuter-release in the city of Seattle for the purpose of reducing cat population and the number of unwanted cats. In the past when the Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) got a feral cat – any cat who was sufficiently warry of or even hostle toward people that they were unadoptable – the cat was euthanized. The shelter is great but they must accept all cats surrendered to them and don’t have the resources to deal with them all, especially the difficult cases. Fortunately the shelter is willing to work with our group so feral cats get transferred to us.

It is always our preference to return a cat to the site it came from but sometimes that is just not an option. We won’t just drop them in the country, no matter how wild they are, because they are not likely to survive and the people who live there don’t want abandoned cats. The best options for cats who can not return home is a barn home – some place were they are wanted, perhaps to control rodents, and allowed to keep their distance from people. Fortunately, a good number of people want barn cats, will accept them as they are, and take good care of them. The most feral of cats have no desire to be even seen by humans. Others are somewhere alogn the spectrum from feral to companion animals.

Tinker came to us in early September. He is young, perhaps a year, very active and very curious. He is approachable, but wary of being touched. If I can slip my hand onto his neck just right he likes the touch – for about 5 seconds and then is off. He also startles easily and shies away. Tinker was also mouthy. He likes to lick and nip. He would sniff my hand, then lick my hand, then gently bite my fingers. Most of the time he was very gentle but once, when I was feeding from my hand, he broke my skin. There is no aggression in this but never the less it is a bad trait for companion cats.

Now this is not completely unadoptable but you have to understand that the shelter is already full (and I mean full) of cute little kittens and super friendly adults who come to the front of their cage, meow for attention, and then are super loving. It takes a special adopter to recognize and want a cat like Tinker and it takes a long time for these adopters to show up. Tinker could not compete with these cats. If he stayed at the shelter he would languish for a log time, likely get a URI. If the shelter got over crowded he would likely be euthanized. So Tinker got transferred to ACP and ended up in our garage.


R.H. Head Butts

We originally planned to pair him with a beautiful buff siamese who came from a different site by way of SAS. It was pretty clear why SAS found this guy unadoptable – for the first day with us he stayed in his carrier and growled when approached. But he then got very sick with a URI and pretty much stopped eating. While slipping food into his carrier I decided he did not look very menacing, checked, and found him touchable. Since I could handle him I could adminsiter sub-cutaneous fluids (to restore hydration to cats who are not eating). I named him R.H. which stood for “Radient Health” in the hopes he would be so restored. After 6 days he started to eat again and slowly returned to health. All the while I worked with him. He either decided to be friendly or, more likely, remembered his friendly nature and was soon front-of-the-cage friendly. We returned him to SAS where he has since been adopted. We have had a couple other turnarounds like this.

Soldier came to us in late September. We had him altered at the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project. As with other feral cats, one ear tip was removed to indicate they have been altered. (Tinker was altered at SAS and therefor not ear-tipped.) Soldier too came down with a bad URI and stopped eating. He was touchable so I was able to administer fluids and antibiotics. In fact he was so much like R.H. that I hopped he would come around to friendly and adoptable status.

Tinker also seemed close to being adoptable. Both were between the worlds of companion animals and feral cats. They had never lived outside enough to know how to do that safely but their previous “owner” never interacted with them enough to socialize them to live as companion animals. Because they lacked outdoor experience I did not want to see them sent to a barn home – too many unfamiliar dangers in the country. They needed some indoor time to give them an opportunity to find their friendly nature (and for us to assess them). I lobbied our group for someone to take them in. Unfortunatey everyone’s house was already full of other cats with equally urgent needs. (Marie and I could not take them in because of our resident Nelson who is very anxious around other cats.)

Snoggling Tinker

I worked with Tinker and Soldier as well as I could with limited time visiting them in our garage. Soldier showed some enjoyment of human touch by leaning his head into a cheak rub or raising his rear to a back rub but he never purred for it. As he got his energy back he showed more wariness and less enjoyment. With time Tinker became less willing to be picked up. I had to admit that neither met the criteria for companion animal adoption through a shelter.  (Video of Tinker).

It might have been possible for our little group to find a companion home for them – we have found homes for other difficult cats. The right adopter has always come along, but it can take time. I’ve decided it is important to not let effort helping one or two cats take energy away from TNR, which indirectly helps many cats.

Good buddies

Fortunately, about this time Monk responded to our ad for barn cats. Monk runs a rope factory in an old Seattle wearhouse where they make fine hemp rope for bondage. They and other tenants have a mouse problem. Monk grew up on a farm and knows that the green solution to rodents is cats. He, his wife, and all his employees are also cat lovers. Marie and I went down to visit and decided this was a very good fit for the boys. They will be indoors, the adopters want to interact with the boys but don’t expect perfect companion animal maners, other people in the community are on board with cats in the warehouse.

We dropped them off on an evening in late October.  That day I cleaned the garage.  Tinker and Solder were unsettled by all the activity:


Solder - uncertain about moving

Monk and his wife had screened in the small sleeping loft in the back of the factory and planned to spend several nights with Soldier and Tinker. This will be an excellent introduction.

Tinker and Soldier's new home

Because Monk’s name is “Monk” his factory is named “The Abbey” and the cats who are protecting The Abbey are named “The Nights Templar”. You can read about their life at The Abbey on their facebook page.

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Summer Kittens

Over the summer we had two litters of kittens from feral mother cats.  We trapped Lilly, realized she was lactating, and the next day went back and found her kittens.  She lived and her kittens lived in our garage for several weeks.  When I visited the kittens would peep and come out to visit me while Lilly stayed hidden in her carrier.

The two brothers

Then Deb brought Emma and her 4 kittens who we also housed in the garage. Here are Ursa and Booboo.

After a while I moved Lilly and her kittens to my office so they could have more indoor time and socialization.  I also brought Emma’s kittens up for visits and when they were fully weaned moved them into my office.  We also trapped a beautiful little snowshoe kitten who I socialized and integrated.

Saami integrated:

 In the end we had a mess of kittens upstairs:


Here’s a video of them all playing together:

On Friday our group got word of a litter of kittens seperated from their mother.  She housed them on a boat in drydock.  The boat was then launched and moved.  The boat owners discovered the litter and did their best to care for them but were not told the kittens had to be fed every couple hours.  They were very young.

Our group is amazing.  By that evening the mother was caught and the kittens were re-united with her.  They were housed in our garage overnight.  But things did not look so good.  The kittens were cold and undernourished and the momma did not seem interested in caring for them.  In the morning we found one dead, two alone, and the momma sitting away from them.  She would not help them when we brought them to her.  Our attempt to introduce them to another mother we were housing also did not work and we didn’t have any kitten nursing supplies on hand.

Once the stores opened I ran out and got some KMR.  We bought them inside and fed them.  The black and white kitten had gotten too cold and dehydrated to take any more food.  He was gaunt around the head, cold, weak, and breathing through his mouth.

We called one of our group who came and got them.  She said that she has never seen a kitten showing the signs like the black and white baby who survived.

Death is all around us.  When it comes close I get stirred up about it.  It is important to try to save the kittens and cats that come under my care but I also try to hold a larger picture so as to not get too caught up into this particular instance of suffering but to remember there are many animals and people facing sickness, death, and suffering in different forms and they all need my care or at least my prayers.

Feisty girl CJ and her black and white brother

In the beginning there was Nelson.  He liked to sleep on my desk while I worked.

The towel was not that comfortable

So I bought him a bed.

Nelson mostly fills up the bed

And he loved the bed.  Then came Luna, and there was conflict

Nelson just evicted Luna from the bed

So I bought another bed.

Peace in the kingdom

I even bought a large bed for them to share.


Luna is not a cat snuggler

The big bed was OK but snug little beds were much preferred.  Our foster kitten Max also loved the beds.


Max in bed

Again, sometimes there was conflict


Max is too cute to evict

Sometimes we put the beds on our bed at night so our cats could sleep in bed on bed but we found this too crowded so I built a cat bed at the head of our bed.


Bed bed bed bed

But they still preferred the snug little beds so we put the two cat beds on the cat bed.


Cats in bed on bed

Or current foster cat Winnie loves Nelson, and they both snuggle together in the little cat beds, even though they hardly fit


Winnie loves Nelson

Recently we have had only one cat bed at the head of our human bed and Luna has been sleeping in it.  Last night Nelson showed up first and settled into the bed.  Winnie showed up next and snuggled in with Nelson.  Luna showed up a little latter to find that her bed was full.  This was intollerable.  She hissed and glowered at them but they did not move so Luna left, making the huffing sound cats use to express disgust.  Sleeping somewhere else was not satisfying so Luna was soon back glowering at the boys.  Nelson, who’s on prozac, decided that a turf war was not compatible with a good sleep so he left to seek uncontested bedding.  Winnie, surprisingly, stayed.

I thought “I’ll chase him away so that we can all settle for the night”.  Now Winnie started life in a feral colony with out human contact.  He is comfortable living with us but has a strict no-touch policy.  When we reached out toward him he would skiddle away.  Recently though, when he is sleepy and snuggled next to Nelson he has let us pet him a little.  Winnie was not sleepy and didn’t have Nelson so I figured that I could chase him away simply by reaching out to pet him.  Instead, Winnie let me pet him.  And he purred!  We went through this exercise twice then I explained to Luna that Winnie was not leaving and she had to settle with sleeping on the big bed next to me. Winnie is slowly relaxing his no touch policy.


Peace is restored


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