Hi! I'm Janis and I am a retired elementary music teacher. But this blog is not about music and it is not about children. This is a blog about cats — feral cats.

The story begins with my first post—Cassie!

Sunday, November 23, 2014


January 2010 

Day 2 TNR

I was more than happy to fulfill the "Release" part of TNR. Big Yella was driving us crazy. He was more than ready to leave the premises.

So the next morning, I set the trap out and opened the door.

He ran away so fast and we laughed so hard because we knew he wished he had never come to our backyard.

And he never came back.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Can We Keep Her?

January-February 2009

Mistake No. 3

I absolutely fell in love with "Miss Pretty," picture to the right. How could you not love that sweet little face?

A few weeks before we trapped the cats, it snowed. They looked so cold and we had not discovered how to make those great little houses yet. I had blankets and towels out in the chairs for them. I checked every day to be sure they were dry.

I have no idea how they made it through that winter. After I started looking through the photos, I realized we didn't build Kitty City until the winter of 2009-10.

So the cats were still trying to stay warm under the patio table and on the towel beds I had made.

These are pictures of the second family right before we trapped them and took them to the Snip and Tip place. I had to take pictures out the back door because they would run away when I went outside. 

So back to the stories and Mistake No. 3.

Looking back, I can't believe I didn't think of what to do next. These were four kittens and they would have easily been "socialized." In other words, I should have found homes for them.

But . . . we brought all of the cats back home, into the garage to wait for the big Release.

In the meantime, I had come up with a plan and tentatively shared it with Don. He just rolled his eyes and shrugged. I told him I would like to just see how "Miss Pretty" would do if we kept her inside. I promised I would not keep her if she had any problems at all with the litter box. He agreed and I started by getting her out of the trap and petting her. She was fine. So I brought her in and set her up in the downstairs bathroom with food, water, and of course, a litter box. She did just great!

And the rest is history. We renamed her Belle and she is probably one of the sweetest cats we've ever had. Her mama raised her well. I know, 3 cats in the house is a bit much, but I told myself that, after all, Cassie was getting old and probably wouldn't live much longer. (Hmmm, that was 2009 and it's 2014 as I'm writing this, and yes, Cassie is still with us.)

Speaking of Mama . . . Did you notice that she was not one of the cats trapped?

You guessed it. We needed to plan to trap cats again. 

Hats off to Disney!

One more reason to love Disney!

Check out this great article on the Alley Cat Allies website—

TNR at Work – Disneyland Finds Balance with Feral Cats

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"We're going to do WHAT?"

January 2010

Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR)

"We're going to trap cats, Don! There's a place in Lebanon that's called Snip and Tip. They will spay or neuter feral cats and give them their shots, too. They even loan people the traps to catch them. Isn't that great?!? All we have to do is catch 'em." Was that a groan I heard from the other room?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kitty City

November 2009

"We need to make some warm places for them to sleep through the winter," I told Don. "Let's get some tarps and we'll drape them over the table. The umbrella will keep them dry, I think."

So we used old towels, got tarps and tried to cover the chairs and give the cats warm and safe places to sleep. But I didn't think it was working very well. The wind would blow the tarp off and then everything got wet.
So of course, I went back to Google.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Feral Cats

Feral cats? In my backyard? That doesn't sound good. But they're so cute.

So I started to do what we all do now—Googled it! Oh, my goodness. I couldn't believe what I found out. There is a serious problem with feral cats (and dogs, too). They kill birds and spread disease. They do whatever they can to survive. All because people have just thrown out unwanted domestic pets to fend for themselves. And to my shock, I discovered that a female cat could have up to 4 litters each year. With 2-4 kittens in a litter surviving to have more litters, do the math. That's a LOT of cats! Running around neighborhoods and downtown areas all over the country.

But I was just doing my own backyard math. I already had nine. And both of the daddy cats were hanging around. So sad. 

What were we going to do?! I couldn't stop feeding them. Winter was close and Nashville winters can
be very cold and snowy. So I Googled again. And I found out that there are people everywhere who are not only dedicated to taking care of feral cats but are also trying to eradicate the problem, humanely. I'll talk about that later. But for now, we had to help these babies through the winter.

Oh, Don . . .  I've got a great idea!!

Oh, No, Not Again!

Late October 2009

Yep, there she was. Mama cat with four new babies! Unbelievable! What on earth? And where had they been? Under the deck, we finally decided.

Oh, and yes, the first family of four was still hanging out. Why not? The food was plentiful, fenced-in backyard, safe. If those people would just quit coming out, life would be quite good.