Meet Mouser. Mouser is a stray female cat who lives outside of my house. To fully understand how we have a pet stray you will need a little background information.
A very kind woman named Pat Bower used to live around the corner from me. Pat was the iconic crazy old cat lady: her children never visited, she was often disoriented, and she had about 17 cats or so. The whole neighborhood lived mouse free for many years. When Pat passed away, animal control came and rounded up all of her cats. That winter my mother caught/killed over 10 mice and found a nest in the garage.
This happened every year: winter would hit, the mice would come inside, and my mother contemplated buying stock in mouse traps. Then one day, Mom got the crazy idea to put food out for the stray cats. We saw many cats that winter, but we didn’t have any mice. Of the many cats who came to dine at our doorstep, only one stayed. We call her Mouser.
It took some time before Mouser let us anywhere near her. Mom kept trying to catch her in order to catch her in order to take her to the vet and get her her shots. I think that made Mouser very skittish of us. Eventually, Mouser didn’t run from us when we were near. She still wouldn’t let us pet her but her not running was an improvement from waiting for us to put the food down before taking 2 steps toward us.
Mom found that she could pet Mouser when she was eating, but the moment she ate the last bit of food she sprinted away from Mom’s touch.
Keep in mind that while all of this happened, we thought Mouser was a boy. Man, we were in for such a wake up call when all of a sudden our boy up and had kittens. Kittens, by the way, who liked to play garden battle royal every morning around 5:30am. The kittens were only around for a few months before Mouser set them off to fly free. We had tried to catch them as well. We never had, nor currently have, the intention to bring the animals inside and domesticate them. We only want to get them fixed and vaccinated and then release them back outside.
Mouser is a confusing beast. Sometimes, I think she wants to come inside. I think she knows it is warm in the house and that there are many belly rubs and lots of food awaiting her. She has come into the house a few times already, but always immediately wants back out. This is often aggravating as she runs downstairs and away from the door when we are trying to get her back outside. One night, Mom had to leave the door open for 2 hours before that cat finally walked back outside, casual as you please.
Despite all of this Mouser is now much closer to us. She let’s us pet her and usually greets us when we get home from work and school and sees us out to our cars in the morning. I know it is because she wants more food but it is still nice to hear the purring of an animal who was terrified of us not that long ago.
We are not the only ones Mouser has warmed up to. I often come home to find that the crate we put out for her to sleep in is filled with gentlemen callers. One night in particular, during one of the recent snow storms, I heard Mouser crying. Or rather, I thought Mouser was crying. I asked Mom if we could just chase her into the bathroom so that she could at least warm up for the night. When I opened the door, four cats ran out of the crate and Mouser poked her head out at me. Then she walked over to me and rubbed up against my legs. Four cats! We were only trying to help the one and now she’s running a bordello of feline sin outside my front door!
Still, I can’t be mad at her. At this point we can’t be mad at her nor can we get her fixed. The amount of times I have caught this cat with other cats I know I should be expecting kittens in the spring.
I am hoping to document Mouser and her kittens this semester to help raise awareness about strays and Gloucester Township’s policy of Catch, Neuter, Release.