It's that time again, boys and girls! Time to watch over the gardens, pick through the bushes, and keep an eye out for baby cats. Yesterday T found some kittens in a bush next to our driveway. I took a look and saw only their mom, staring back out at me, but it was clear she was protecting something important. So I called my good friend Helen C. at animal control, who came over this morning and fished out the kittens. (Sadly, I didn't have time to take pictures.) There were five (FIVE!): four orange and one tiger-striped gray. They were about 5 weeks old, she said, and so very cute. Mom ran away and came back, but couldn't be coerced into the cat carrier. So those 5 kittens are off to be socialized and placed into loving homes.
Two other interesting things happened during all this. First, a neighbor (identified as James) saw the animal control van in the driveway and came over to say hello. He says he and his wife have been feeding the stray cats for years now, and they've also been trapping and fixing them as well. So I have a partner in crime! One with a lot more experience and patience, it seems. So that's good news.
The other thing I found out from Animal Control Officer Helen. I asked about last year's litters. The first one, she said they all found homes, even the 4th one who was a little testy. The second litter, one didn't survive, but the other two found homes. She said that when she gets kittens like this, as long as they survive, they'll get placed in a home. Hopefully they also get fixed and not re-released into our backyard.