Village Cats – Momma Reb and The Seven Kittens

So, we have a fifth cat. Five cats seem like a bit much but well, we’re big softies it turns out and now we have a kitten. Where did we get this kitten from you may ask? Why the hell did you get another cat is probably the more pertinent question. But like Reb Brown, we didn’t go out of our way to get another kitten. We just at the found one. And then we kept it.

It’s a bit of a long story, and like all good stories, it’s best to start at the beginning…

Reb Brown

As you may know, we first met Mr Brown when we moved into the village. He was definitely the village top cat at the time and the father of a lot of the strays. Once I saw about ten kittens come flying out of the barn across the main road from our street all bearing colours and stripe pattern of our Reb. Once he came to live with us though his tomcat days were already over; he’d lost a fight to another cat and would continue to do so until he died. We had his bits done and took him in and now he’s a giant ball of indoor fur.

Lady Reb

There are a lot of cats on the street. Some with homes and some were strays. Lady Reb is what we started calling Momma Reb when we first saw her. While she has long fluffy hair and is darker than Reb, the markings are identical so we were convinced she was one of his. So we called her Lady Reb. We saw her from time to time on the street but she’s only ever really gotten close to the streets crazy cat lady (there is one and it’s not me). Even then she only ever went close enough to eat whatever she was leaving out for the strays before running off again.

The Seven Kittens

In November I started seeing kittens running around the electric station at the end of the street. Two were black and the rest had very familiar markings. The weather was already pretty bad and I was worried about the kittens and their mum, who I discovered was Lady Reb one day when I spotted her dashing after the kittens and under the bush between the first houses and the electric substation. She’s only a small cat, it’s all fluff and there were a lot of kittens it seems and at first count, we thought six. She was living under the bush and one day I went out with my camera to see if I could take some pictures; if only to see if Lady Reb did actually have an owner.

My neighbour Helen was sitting in her neighbour’s driveway, watching the kittens eat some chicken she had left out for them all. She had been doing this for a couple of weeks already, and crazy cat lady was putting out biscuits. We talked about it for a little while and decided we were going to try and catch the kittens and if possible catch mum too. We wanted to at least get her neutered before letting her go again. This is her third litter in as many years and with it being so late in the year we were worried that they wouldn’t survive the weather.

Efnysian

While Helen continued to gain the trust of Momma Reb and the kittens with delicious food, my wife, bethend, and I were keeping an eye out for any opportunity to catch any of them as we walked through the street. One day the kittens were all playing in a pile of scrap wood and bricks when my wife was on the thew way home. When she approached them they didn’t run away so she just scooped up the nearest one, put it in her coat and took it home. It was dirty, pointy and angry and we both still have scars from those first few days.

We borrowed our neighbour’s pet cage and set the kitten up in the kitchen so she could settle in without being bothered too much by our other cats. Bethend called her Efnysian after a character from the Mabnogion (a bad guy) and thinking the kitten was a boy.

After a week or so, and a good wash, we let the kitten out of the cage and into the house proper with this intention of calming her enough for her to get a new home.

Instead, we kept her.

One Down Six To Go

So while we integrating Efnysian into her new life as an indoor cat, we were also trying to catch the other kittens and Momma Reb. As winter was drawing in and the weather getting worse we were all worrying about them. Momma Reb is small cat and the size of the litter meant the kitens were tiny. Efnysian was pretty small and not very old at all.

in the end Momma Reb was the one who caught the kittens in a way. Helen placed a cat trap from Cats Protection in her front garden in hopes that she’d get lucky and one morning when she got up all of the kittens were in the cage. We think Momma Reb deliberately encouraged the kittens into the trap; which makes sense seeing how cold and wet it was getting.

And as it turns out there were seven kittens in total. Two black ones and the rest were tabby cats like Efnysian. Helen kept two for herself and found homes for the other four. All in all a happy ending. Mostly.

Momma Reb

Momma Reb is still on the loose, still unfixed and currently very, very pregnant again. We’re thinking this might be the best chance we have to catch her; she’s not moving very fast right now a quick trot at best. So we might be able to grab her and then once she has the kittens and is ready we can get her fixed. Or we’re going to have more strays living on the street. As well as Momma Reb there are also three other female cats that are related to her that also live on the street. We call them Patches, No-tail and Bula.

They don’t cause any trouble though, mostly they just run from bush to bush and if nothing else they’re probably keeping the mouse and rat population right down.

So we have five cats now and it’s way too much but we’re managing well enough and we would never give any of them up, of change any of it because they’re all neurotic and mental wonderful cats.

 

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