History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's a Zoo on Fort Hill

A couple of comments at UniversalHub tell us that it's a Zoo on Fort Hill, with raccoons and skunks.  We've seen opossums, too.

And cats.  Feral cats.

A jet black mother cat was zonked out on the back porch the day before yesterday afternoon.  She had three rambunctious kittens who were alternately nursing and batting at the foliage being driven to and fro in the strong winds.  The mother was so sound asleep that we were able to approach within three feet to set down tuna and a water bowl.

By the time we returned with dry food and the camera, the mother cat was up and about, hissing and walking to the other end of the porch, attempting to draw our attention away from her litter.

Wanting to be responsible fellow urban mammals, we withdrew to watch.  Holy moley.  Nursing cats need a lot of food, for Mother Cat inhaled the tuna and then went to work with a vengeance, wolfing down the dry food.

Graduating from urban mammal to responsible urban citizens and thinking that three more fertile cats were not the best demographic addition to the neighborhood, we consulted the internet to see what we could read about feral cats.

Perhaps we could squeeze out a low-effort post to Jonas Prang, decorated with a few shameless kitty pics.  Hopefully we could figure out what to do about these cursorial carnivores.  (And, perhaps take our minds off yet more human carnage in Roxbury.)

After two hours of reading, we put the hope of a low-effort post to rest.  And, the hope of low-effort action to do the right thing by these...well...kitties.

TNR:  Trap, neuter, and return [ASPCA web site] seems to be the fashionable response to feral cats.  Trap and kill—the run-of-the-mill response to vermin—causes a vacuum effect.  Destroying a stable feral population merely invites new feline neighbors to move in to replaced the ones recently slaughtered.

A modest amount of googling for feral cats yields a stunning amount to read.  In an American society besotted with dogs and cats, why were we surprised?

So, to conclude this post we will provide just one more shameless kitty pic of our new neighbors.  And, we'll give a lightly annotated list of pages that seem useful for learning what to do about feral cats.

  • Commonwealth Cats, with a Peabody mailing address, may be what we need if we can bestir ourselves to trap this mom and her kits.
  • The resources page at Commonwealth Cats yields a link to the band-width-heavy web site of Alley Cat Allies a 501(c)3 organization with $4 million annual budget and net assets of $2.8M.  Perhaps they would make a small contribution so Jonas Prang can get these cats neutered.  We have to give them credit, though, for they make it easy to read their annual reports from FY 2003 to FY 2009. [3.4MB pdf]  And, they offer to send you their IRS 990, useful to see how 501(c)3s are overpaying their executive staff.
  • Drop Trap Design is a blog that tells how to build and operate a drop trap.  It also tells that cats are apparently so stupid that one can trap them over and over and over again, and they never catch on to the scheme.
  • Neighborhood Cats is pleased with its design for Tomahawk's Feral Cat Trap.
  • There is the sweetly-named, local, Jamaica Plain HubCats, though this site hasn't been updated since March 2008.
  • Here is STOP Clinic (Stop the Overpopulation of Pets), operated out of Weymouth.
  • And finally, there is the inevitable Wikipedia article on feral cats
Oh, and one more thing:  It seems mother cat has her own trap 'n' kill program, for skin and bones laid out just a few cat steps from the nursing cat are all that remain of one of the resident squirrels.

Make that trap 'n' kill 'n' eat.
Two days later, the bones are gone and only the pelt remains.


  1. there are free monthly TNR clinics for spay/neuter in the Boston metro area... check with Commonwealth Cats, and MRFRS.org for the schedule. Animal Rescue League of Boston lends traps I think, also Charles River Alleycat. There are a few people who trap in the Roxbury area who can get you started - but TNR relies on neighborhood activists to be the eyes and hands. Someone is feeding nearby, see if you can find out who - the more food there is, the more cats you'll have. May the Force be with you.
    ps, cats are not dumb, and re-trapping can be difficult. the drop trap offers an alternative when a cat has already been trapped in (and is wary of) a wire trap.

  2. If you're feeding ferals or housecats, you should read Dr Pierson, DVM, on cat nutrition& other cat care, at catinfo.org.

  3. Contact Charles River Alleycats at 617-945-2430 for assistance to trap and TNR mom and hopefully bring in kittens to foster to socialize and find great homes for.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. SAM FROM FORT HILL from 17 Nov 2010 1:02 pm:

    I'm sorry I didn't get to editing your comment a couple of months ago. Please don't call people names; it's not nice. So, here's your post, cleaned up a bit.

    "do u have any idea how many stary cats there are on fort hill beech glen st alone feeding these cats will just bring more arouund leave it to the professionals we dont need anyone else bringing more cats around like that [person SAM FROM FORT HILL doesn't like] these cats suck they shit in highland park and then my dog eats it and gets worms they needd to fine or arrest this [person SAM FROM FORT HILL doesn't like] who has ten food bowls and 30 stray cats on her porch they scrsatch my car and piss on everything i cant bring my dog in the pRK without a leash yet cat owner can just let their cats run around and do whatever it ridiculous cats should have to be leashed and kept inside at all time or have to be resatined if kept out side these poeple buy cays and then a week later they dont care and this cat goes out and is wild then the [person SAM FROM FORT HILL doesn't like] feeds them all wqhich results in FORT HILL BEING TAKEN OVER BY THESE CATS"