Revisiting the roaming feral or stray in my friend's yard:
For the past two days I have put a dish of food out for my friend's hungry interloper. I have left both canned and dry food in case the cat has a sore mouth and the dry kibble is too difficult to chew. My cat whisperer friend and mentor "D" advises doing this until the cat's health can be assessed. Of course, it is also advisable to withhold wet food the day before trapping, so the cat goes for the juicy bait, but I am not ready to trap: I need to be certain that this cat is not a nursing mom, as the kittens would surely perish if I removed her for two days. The cat in question here, of course, reportedly ate a carrot, so I doubt that dental disease is an issue, but canned food is easier to eat and can be consumed quickly. The drawback is that I do not know when the cat will show up to eat, and given the current hot weather, I do not like idea of setting up a roadside food stand for flies.
The GOOD NEWS (!) is that the food dish is empty each morning and the water bowl has remained clean and partially full. There have been no signs of raccoons, opossums, or birds eating the food, although I can't completely rule out squirrels or mice. There are, however, no telltale signs like dirty water (raccoons wash their food before eating it), and I am finding the food dish is in the same spot where I have left it. Cats are fastidious diners and generally leave their food areas neat and tidy and their water bowls clean. My next step is to sit vigil at different times during the day, so that I can visually assess this phantom kitty.
One of the hidden benefits of colony care and rescue is that we are rubbing elbows with nature, in some form, every day. Yesterday, as I drove up my friend's long driveway to feed the little black cat, two identical, white-tailed stags stepped out of the trees, temporarily blocking my path. Each regal sentry had a ten point crown! I held my breath, awed by their size and beauty. Finally, they leapt away in opposite directions. My friend's home is along the edge of a populated, residential area, so this made sighting these 'princes of the forest' even more amazing!