A sad but valuable lesson
About a week ago we got a special delivery just outside our window. Three hungry kittens! It was our number-one-neutering-escape-artist Pepper who endowed us with the "tabby gifts." No longer any beating around the bushes - just plainly delivering her off-spring - now old enough to eat proper food. Alongside this delivery came her long-time mate Bruce The Bruiser - a REAL alpha male who lets nothing and no one get in his way. The very same male that has also fathered Tiny and Ninja - and later Twinkle (a single survivor of a litter). He has also been an elusive cat to catch - so this time around I thought to try and get near him with the hope I'd eventually be able to catch him by the scruff of the neck (I'm surprisingly fearless when it comes to matters like that). This last week I've been able to stroke him on a few occassions when feeding him - obvisouly not without some foul hissing designed to let me know who's the boss. But I managed it and after that he became noticeably more at ease - not needing to flee every time he saw me.
Anyhow, yesterday (exactly a week later) another young kitty mom suddenly appeared in the front garden (where I feed the adult cats - and Peppers new kittens). Never seen her before but there was no doubt what she came for. She cried out loud for food and was obviously hungry AND so was her three gorgeous little kittens - two more brown tabbys and one (swoon) little ginger tabby. When I did my late night check to see if there was peace and quiet all around I was deligthed to find the three new kittens huddled up in a padded box I'd provided for them.
I was even more delighted this morning to find they were still there. Kitty mom had left - probably now in the pursuit of a life of peace and quiet for herself. All cats - big and small alike - were fed their breakfast. Just before my husband and I set out on the early morning run to feed some local strays I even enjoyed the newcomers happily preening themselves in the morning sun - such a delightful scenery. I marvelled at gingers gorgeous glow in the yellow morning sun.
Well, that was the last taste of delight this particular morning. We dashed out and were back 10 minuttes later. To find Bruce The Bruiser victoriously sniffing the still body of ginger kitten. I just simply could not believe the horror in front of my eyes. Ginger had savagely been slashed around and killed.
Suddenly the sting of my ignorance began to burn. Something I know so well and yet had been so stupidly ignorant as to miss out on. An alpha male will likely kill off-spring that is not his own! Never had I imagined that I would actually witness any such thing. This was like a scene out of a documentary about wild lions. Truly vicious... and with no other purpose than to eradicate off-spring that was not his own. I suddenly got busy shooing him as far off as I could. There are still two kittens that are not his and they need to be protected. Now there's no other option than to arm myself with patience and to try and trap him as quickly as possible. This time around I have a very strong reason for wanting to catch him.
Above it's images of the two remaining kittens - Honey in the first image and Olive in the second. Later the two of them snuggled together in the shade.
Update!!! Tom cat has now been trapped and has been handed in for neutering. Now we hope for peace of mind and safety for the new kittens.