Updated: Aug 8
Peeks showed up at My Tenth Life near the end of a pregnancy. She was huge and seeking a place to nest. It wasn't her first pregnancy. I had seen and tried to trap and spay her for years prior to this most recent visit but cagey critter that she was, I had never been successful. She sat outside the trap, hungry yet resolute while other cats ate their fill and refused to step inside. No matter what method I tried, she was always one step ahead of me. This time was different, though. She was in a bind and trapping was not on the table.
A suitable nest, filled with straw and fleece, was prepared and placed in an out of the way spot which was protected with overhanging branches and bushes. Food and water was placed nearby and the waiting game began- waiting to see if she would accept the house and waiting for the birthing.
Joy of joys, she took to the house and claimed it.
We didn't have to wait too long as within a few days, she gave birth to four kittens.
All seemed to go well for about a month. Peeks was a very attentive Mom, leaving the nest only a few times a day to eat and go to the bathroom.
I stayed at a distance, only looking in occasionally so that she wouldn't move the nest. I wanted to do whatever possible to keep her from doing that.
A month after they were born, I came out to find that three of the kits had been brought out and were sitting by themselves in a huddle. A dead kitten remained in the nest and Peeks was gone and scouting for a new home. I knew once the nest was moved, these kitten's chances for survival would drop dramatically. I brought them inside to finish their nursing and treat conjunctivitis and upper respitatory issues. Peeks had done a good job but the task was beyond her ability to succeed. The kits needed more care than she could provide.
Once inside, the three kittens thrived and gained weight and sight. I dosed them with L-lysine in their milk to replace the natural immune boosters of nursing.
Peeks did not return to the nest even though the dead kitten had been removed and buried. She moved in with her daughter from another litter who was already a full time resident at My Tenth Life.
In the preceding years, Peeks had never remained here long, only passing through from time to time. After giving birth and spending a full month on the property, she decided to stay.
Peeks also began to thrive; she stayed with her older daughter, got her shapely figure back and even allowed herself to be trapped.
This was surely a day of celebration when Peeks, four years old, went to the spay/neuter clinic.
Peeks lacked confidence. This is how she got her name. She was rarely willing to come into direct contact with humans and could usually been seen peeking out from behind some large object or another. Her daughter Chica had all the confidence in the world and the two became inseperable. Without the feral cams, candid photos such as this one of Peeks and Chica would not be possible. They would never be so relaxed in my presence.
Though Peeks is still skittish, she has settled into My Tenth Life and no longer strays far from comfort. She lives in the heated cabin with 3 other Tuxedos now and has developed a taste for wet food. In this photo, she is whiling away the afternoon, which has become one of her new hobbies. The movement of the moving lens has gotten her attention but she no longer feels the need to bolt. Peeks has come home.