Sunday, November 10, 2013
Hobo is an alley-cat, who appeared in our back yard in 2008. I put out a cardboard box and some food, and he would show up from time to time. We could never get too close to him, but he became a regular visitor. Began to see him everyday; he would usually always arrive via the alley. When we watched him escort a pregnant Mama Mia up to the deck, we realized that we had a responsibility to these cats. I had just discovered TNR (trap, neuter, return), and had purchased a lovely humane trap that is almost silent (instead of the metal ones that clank when tripped). I borrowed a few more traps from neighbors, and we tried trapping Hobo, Mama, and her two kittens. Managed to snag Hobo and Honey; Mama wouldn't go near the things, and Sneakers walked in and out without getting caught. So, both boys went to get neutered, and surprisingly, both kept showing up after for food. We caught Mama later using the drop trap, and Sneakers disappeared with Honey one day and we have not seen them again.
Things changed when Sammy arrived. Hobo didn't seem to care much for Sammy, and he showed up less and less. I trapped Sammy in May, 2010, but he remained rather territorial and aggressive for the entire Summer. He simply ran Hobo off of his turf! I was anxious and very concerned about where my friend had gone, and started nosing around the neighborhood trying to find him. Mind you, walking up and down the alley looks rather peculiar, but I kept a photo of Hobo in my pocket in case anyone challenged me. One day, at the opposite end of the block, a man mentioned that he sees Hobo every day, and feeds him too! I told him my story, and the man was sure we were talking about the same cat. I felt great relief that Hobo had found a way to survive without me, but I still felt a bit heart-sick that I didn't see him daily. Within a few months, I managed to find Hobo lying on the front porch of a house a block away. I was elated! Hobo, however, was not comfortable with me trying to get close. So I wouldn't be called a trespasser, I backed away, and vowed to find Hobo another day. I joyously announced that I Had Found Hobo! when I got home that day. And I have found him, every few months. I walk down the alley and peek into the man's backyard, and find Hobo in the sun. Wish he'd come back down the block to visit our yard again, and maybe one day he will. Sammy is such a gentle boy now; I can pet him and he gives me a welcoming 'arf', which is what his meow sounds like.
By the way, neither of Mama Mia's kittens looked the slightest bit like Hobo, although I watched him baby sit them many times while she rested in another part of the yard. And everyday I learn more about TNR, including the fact that it can be months for male cat's testosterone levels to deplete; it doesn't happen immediately after neutering.