I had a couple of errands/chores lined up for today, but a wee matter--maybe 5 lbs. worth--has rearranged my schedule. This little gray kitty showed up a few days ago in the carport as I was leaving for work, sitting up on the brick half-wall between me and the neighbors. I gave her a sniff of me and even got a light pet or two in before she jumped off the wall and disappeared. She'd been very tense, and when I looked over the wall, I saw it wasn't all my doing--SamIAm, a Siamese-cross feral, was giving her the hairy eyeball (the gray kitty took off in the opposite direction).
Yesterday evening, she turned up in the backyard, dined in the ferals' food station, and stared in the window at me for a minute or two. Then she started to walk across the yard, and here comes SamIAm with the same intense look on his face. He followed her as she trotted away, caught her...and that's when I knew the gray kitty was definitely a girl. And she needed to be spayed right away.
She came back (unaccompanied) this morning for breakfast, so I hunkered down by the French doors and watched until she was done. As before, she came to look inside, and this time I opened the door and let her in. Minnie stared in disbelief as Mom let the interloper into her domain! The gray kitty--who can't be more than 7 or 8 months old, if that--cautiously nosed around the place while Minnie stared at her, sometimes hissing or growling, and I kept an eye on both cats. The gray kitty let out a few growls of her own, too, and there was one quick whapping match between them. After exchanging whaps, they both settled down in their neutral corners.
There are still growls being exchanged in proximity, but that's the worst of it so far, and I'm keeping a close eye on them. Minnie is rather disgruntled at her "company", but she'll live.
I know, I did this "let the feral move in" thing before and it didn't work out well (Leo, whom I thought was a girl because he came back from the vet with a shaved tummy, but who turned out to be a wall-spraying boy). This may not be permanent, but I let her in because it's a whole lot less traumatic to scoop her into a carrier in the house than to trap her outside. Monday, I'll call the vet and see if I can get her in for spaying then; Monday night, she'll stay in the house recuperating, for sure.
But between now and then? And afterward? Well, we'll see how it goes.
As for the spaying, I'm not made of money, but it's gotta be done. Anyone who's ever dealt with ferals knows how fast a pair of unaltered cats can breed. What's another month on the debt (ugh)....