Friday, June 26, 2009

Wyrds Feral Kittens

I wanted to blog a big about the ferals in my neighborhood.

Firstly I did want to report that a friend of mine that lives about 25 minutes from me recently found a flame point kitten with wavy whiskers and she stated like my cats have. I didn't know what to think so I went over and sure enough her kitten has the whiskers but her fur was not pronounced as rexed she had a thinner coat then most of my cats. I was forlorn and not sure what to think. The only logic I have is that we know this gene is a dominant gene, most likely an incomplete dominant. If kittens with the trait are being re-homed within the city it makes sense that the gene could travel so far away. Then again I have heard that some cats will travel pretty far to establish new territory.
As I have introduced these traits to those around me and people have visited my cats it doesn't surprise me that some features are being noticed however most of the traits that make these cats unique are not very easily noticed and fly quietly under the radar. Either way I know that the traits seem to be strong in the feral, semi feral, and free roaming cat population of the greater Sacramento area. Even if my work on a viable breed fails, these genes do not seem to be the kind that will just go by the way side.

Now as I've discussed on the site, my mentors and I feel that this trait comes from Chuck and his progeny and other relatives. I can not say if it came from his mother as she is clearly very wild and will not approach humans at all. I have only ever been able to see her at a large distance of 15 feet or more. I don't know who Chucks father is, at all. We do see relatives of Chuck and his family who were an established colony even before I moved to this area. We have lived in this home for 4+ years and have often tried to take care of and watch over the ferals on our block. We have seen many come and go. While this is a very ideal neighborhood for cats it is still dangerous and cats face so many perils from dogs to cars to illness. Thankfully though most people here are cat loving people and most dogs are well managed or cat friendly.
Within the past year, Chuck (who is a semi feral cat that was neutered & a founding cat for my program) returned after a 6+ months of hiatus and he returned with a female we called Wife. Wife came with one gray tortie kitten that had vivid blue eyes at the age of 6 months. That kitten disappeared as many do. Wife and Chuck stayed close. With regular food Wife found a will and a way. She was a medium sized cat when we met her so never thought much of her size but were delighted when she started bringing four small kittens to eat the dry food I'd but out for her. She and the kittens moved from under a house across the street to under our house. They were small enough to begin socializing so we would pick them up as much as feral kittens would allow. There were two unpatterned tabbys, one blue, and one black with gray ruff around the neck. Just a few days ago while feeding the kittens I was able to pick one of the unpatterned tabbys up and she had this abcess on her tummy. I knew she had to come in. I got the abcess clean and its healing very quickly with regular care. She is adjusting to life in a human home extremely well. A day or so after I started caring for her I was feeding the cats at night and we were ambused by a roaming dog. The older cats were able to get up and out of the way but the kittens weren't sure of the real danger and didn't run and hide quickly enough for my comfort. I shooed the dog away and the owner came and got the dog but we have since seen this out of control dog all over the neighborhood threatening children, dogs, and cats. Sadly that same night a siamese patterned cat from down the street was found dead in the morning. It wasn't mangled but obviously shaken to death. The next night I began working to capture the other feral kittens. I picked up the black one and he clearly was not going without a vicious loud fight. I had to put him down and I will regret that decision for a long time. We found him dead under our tree that next morning. Again no tearing or mangling but I believe shaken to death by the roaming dog. It was no longer a choice I just couldn't let the other girls go in that same way. We caught them and put them in an isolated room away from the rest of the household and clowder and have since started working slowly on socializing as they are not as sure and confident as the first kitten. Chuck comes and checks on the kittens, their mother Wife wont come in but will check on them through the window screen.

So thats a lovely story in and of itself but I also wanted to report that here I complained of having so many male kittens that showed the Helki features strongly but only a handful of females and all cat breeders know you need more girls then boys. All three surviving kittens are girls, have wavy whiskers and thick wavy undercoats! The blue girl has the best coat overall but is quite a priss who only loves me lol. So again the Wyrd has come and taken control to drive fate. While I dont really know much about these kittens backgrounds or how inbred they are, they so far seem pretty healthy and have had baths and dewormer from me starting about a month ago when I caught them all last time. Now for a good routine check up and we should be set.

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