We have a lot of feral kitties at Hanaeleh. They are deemed as feral and non-adoptable by the animal shelters, and often they have no other options unless we are able to take them. The kitties are all spayed, neutered and vaccinated before they come to Hanaeleh, and they are various ages. We try to only take those kitties who really have no other option (they cannot be re-released) and who have a history of living as a feral. We are probably the only rescue that loves taking the cats that the shelter labels, “mean.” Rowdy, one of the feral kitties who often hisses at us (but never is otherwise aggressive), was labeled, “very mean,” by OC Animal Care- but he is doing really well at the ranch, and he is content enough to even hang out with us.
The kitties are great at keeping the rodent population down- they do sometimes kill a rodent (although we do feed them, and they always have access to high-quality cat food… which sometimes the ground squirrels will steal as well), but just their presence is often enough to keep the rodents away. We will never be able to eliminate rodents because of our proximity to the wilderness area, and we do not really want to kill them, either- we just don’t want them contaminating the horse feed or destroying the blankets and tack. The kitties actually don’t have to do anything but hang out and they will keep the rodents away in the way that playing a Kenny G album will drive teenagers from a room.
These are just some of the pictures of the kitties- usually by the time we get our cameras out, they have already run away. One of our “feral” black kitties has adopted Javier and his family (they feed and clean the stalls everyday), and now sleeps inside with them!