Socks the B&B Cat has weaseled her way into our home and hearts. She is very smart and is definitely “Miss Personality.” So it looks like we’re now cat owners, if anyone can ever “own” a cat. She spends most of her day in our personal quarters, napping on our bed and purring loudly whenever we go in and pet her. After she has breakfast outside, she comes zipping in the front door, explores for a few minutes, then goes downstairs for her 8-hour nap. Dinner is at 5:00, exploration of what’s new in the yard may take a couple of hours, then she mooches ice cream before retiring for the night. And yes, she hogs the bed and wakes us up early by pouncing on moving toes.
Early in 2014, Old Town had a population explosion of cats. One day I opened the front door to find six cats, who startled and ran in every direction. We participated in Albuquerque’s Trap, Neuter & Release program. After we caught 5 cats and sent them to the “kitty spa,” we ended up with four cats who adopted our yard. They were hungry, so they hunted and ate my birds. (On a positive note, we don’t have a pigeon problem anymore–the pigeons decided they didn’t like the new neighbors. The cats also hunted and ate ALL of the mice near and far.) But still they were hungry. I started feeding them around back to draw them away from the birds. I thought that would be temporary until they went elsewhere–heh. They were drinking out of the bird bath and scaring away the birds, so I put out water for them. I talked to them as I was working outside, so they followed me everywhere. The weather got bad, so I built kitty houses for them…. I guess that’s how it starts. Socks has her own Facebook page and occasionally posts about her life and her kitty friends at the B&B.
Our kitty population has stabilized at three–Socks, Graycat and Newcat. Socks lives in our space but isn’t allowed in the guest rooms. Graycat follows Steve everywhere and spends the day napping in a cardboard box from Costco. Newcat is still uncertain about people and mostly just shows up for meals. Socializing feral cats is a slow process. Their mamas taught them to be wary of people, so it takes a long time to learn to have trust.