I love reading everyone's stories about their kitties! It's so wonderful!!!
Lazlo, Sheldon, Spooky, Tuxedo and Julius were a litter of feral kitties that turned up in our yard one day. They were born in a groundhog burrow up in the woods behind our motorhome. We didn't know what to do with them, so I went online and found... TCS! We hung out with them and fed them outside - the plan was to wait until they were 12 weeks old and to then spay mom cat.
But the whole family disappeared one day, leaving Lazlo behind. He cried for two days, and we brought him inside. I'm insanely allergic to cats, so it was a kind of "we'll see if this works." I got a bunch of scrips from the Doc, and everything seemed just fine. Well - don't you know, the family turned back up after a few days. We later figured out mom was taking them on excursions, and they often left for a few days. But we weren't putting Lazlo back outside! Instead - we decided to bring in a pal for him. That was Shelly. The imp! Their whole story is here on Save Samoa: Lazlo & Sheldon
By then we were hooked, of course. We cared for the rest of them outside, and continued to hang out and play with them to the extent possible. As soon as we were sure they were over 12 weeks old, we had mom spayed and vaccinated. She disappeared after we re-released her.
(And we have a feeder now for the feral colony around here, and we've still never seen her since).
When it started getting cold and we still hadn't found homes for the other kittens (another litter of 3 turned up), we built shelters outside. In December, we found a home for Julius and Spooky. It turned out to be a terrible thing, and we brought them back. One of the Vet assistants ended up adopting Juius - who is a great big ginger long-haired fluffy love bug. Spooky we kept. She's our lap kitty, and she is so sweet!!!
Tuxedo... was different. He had aggression problems. We had to feed him away from all of the other cats/kittens outside to keep him from attacking them. He almost killed a kitten from another litter (Munchkin - we fostered her and found her a loving home). He stayed outside until about March, when it had been so bitterly cold for so long we just couldn't take it any more. By then he'd calmed down, and had become very attached to Gary. We put him in boarding (with the other two kittens) to get him out of the weather. The owner of the facility worked with him to help socialize him. We visited him there regularly (and were able to adopt out the other two), and he would jump into Gary's arms, and head-butt him in the head. After about a month, he became very, very ill. We took him to the Vet, where he had to stay about a week. Because he'd been outside in the cold, he was a fat little kitty. From the illness, he lost like 3/4 of his body weight, and turned into a scraggly little thing.
We visited him at the Vet's - and he DOVE at Gary. The Vet told us that Tuxedo wasn't sick anymore, but that he wasn't eating. That he'd obviously developed some kind of bond with Gary, and if we wanted the little fellow to live, we'd better bring him home.
So that's what we did. And Tuxedo is now happily a part of our family, and he head-butts Gary in the head to this day. It is the funniest thing!
The odd thing about it all is that in the end, Tuxedo is the best socialized of all our cats. He's not afraid of new people - and all our other cats flee when we have visitors. Gary wrote up Tuxedo's story for Save Samoa. It's here: Tuxedo's story
But we have to stop here, though we'd love to save them all. We live in a motor home, and with 37 x 8 feet, it's not a lot of space for 6 beings! We took out the dining room and put in cat furniture. We've sacrificed just about every space in this house (including our bedside tables) to the cats. Gary has a chair and the top of his computer. I have half the couch. The only place that isn't the "cats'" is the kitchen counter, stove, kitchen cabinets, the closet, and two "shirt" closets that hang over the bedside tables.