The great Chicago Blizzard of 2011 was a week ago. Besides all the snow and the cold it appears to have brought some changes to my feral colony.
For those not in Chicago the storm started Tuesday night and went into Wednesday early afternoon. My two regular girls were waiting for dinner like normal Monday night and I even had my semi-regular boy Mr. K show up for food; it was like they knew something was coming, especially Mr. K, since he hadn’t been around for over a week. Tuesday morning I go out to give my girls their breakfast only to find neither of them were there. It was a bit shocking, since normally I have at least one kitty there in the morning. I figured they had gone into hiding for the big storm. Tuesday night, in the middle of the storm, Little Black shows up, cowering in the makeshift tent which, despite all my precautions, is being whipped around in the wind. The snow is in drifts higher than my knees, and there are no signs of prints to indicate how she made it to the yard.
When I try to go out to help her, the wind is so strong and has piled so much snow against the door I can hardly open it. I am out in the blizzard getting beaten up by the third worst storm in Chicago’s history, when Little Black emerges, covered in snow and starts screaming at me. After several attempts at clearing her a path (in what was a true comedy of errors) she finally runs away. Wednesday morning she is back. And has been back ever since.
A week later I still have not seen any signs of Momma cat. She was my first feral kitty and has been coming around religiously since 2008. With rare exception she never misses a night. My others have shown up, Little Black like clock work every night. Mr. K finally showed up again last night (a week after the storm). There were signs of a brown and white tabby by the garage where I know they shelter, which could either be Momma or could be my lone hold out Poosh (the last of the family I relocated, he won’t come near me).
I have been worried about Momma kitty for the past week, afraid she is buried in somewhere under a porch or in a garage. If that’s the case then she has gone a week without food or water in bitter cold weather. My heart is breaking at the thought.
Some good is coming out of the situation though. First Little Black is showing interest in coming in the house. Prior to the blizzard she had shown some curiosity but I never let her in because she was so bonded with Momma kitty, I couldn’t imagine separating them and Momma is feral through and through. Little Black has ventured in twice this week and last time became very brave, actually walking into the house away from the doorway. We have a long way to go before she becomes an indoor kitty–she has to come inside without the door being propped open and she has to let people touch her without smacking them–but we are making steps in the right direction.
The other good coming out of missing Momma kitty is it finally spurred me to get fliers out to the neighbors again. Some of you may remember I put fliers out last March looking for the location of kitties. I went back out today with a more detailed letter, a template I found at TNRChicago.org. I am hoping with a little bit more information I can get people to respond to me this year. I am really relying on the neighbors this time since I not only need to find Momma kitty but also the unspayed mother of my foster kittens from this past fall. I am so worried and so motivated to find these kitties that I went out on one of the coldest days of the year to put notes in the neighbors’ mailboxes. The things we do for kitties!
I was not expecting to have two large undertakings right now, but I suppose that is how life and cats work. It’s all on their terms, not ours. Please keep your fingers crossed for positive outcomes