There are many feline intrigues underway, as it seems mating season is in full swing. The howling and moaning that is going on early in the morning would suggest there is a female in heat and I think it is the little butterfly cat herself. She lives under the granary of our neighbours and we have not been successful in TNRing her. In fact I don't even have a decent photo of her. She is very wary of us and does not often come here for food. So now her fertility is playing itself out as there are some new males around, loitering around corners and even showing interest in some of the neutered females in a confusion of pheromones.
I watched from my office window yesterday as a whole troupe of males including Clem Fandango, the smaller tabby brother of Nigel, El Bandido (see below) and a ginger, possibly Ron, were going in and out of tunnels in the bracken across the way.
El Bandido is the most persistent Lothario. He has stationed himself in a tactical position at the end of our garden where he can keep an eye on the well-used cat trail that comes and goes to the woods below, ready to pounce on the object of his desire.
I guess TNR does have some odd consequences, among the 'no-brainer' good ones. The butterfly cat may be the only fertile female around which means she is getting a lot of attention, wanted or otherwise. I hope it's wanted, and let's also hope we can TNR her at the right time, and her kittens!
And now to Tortipizza. One of the reasons we are here right now is because we could not trap her last time. She has some more rotten teeth (we think) and cannot eat properly so we want to take her to the vet, as we did about two years ago for some extractions. Unfortunately, we have again failed to trap her. She is very wary of the trap and even the metal sound of it when I brought it out the shed made her bolt. Now that we have run out of time to trap her on this visit we are trying to feed her up on soft mousse-style cat food, but she takes a mouthful or two and runs away. It must be because eating hurts so much. If she is getting a few mouthfuls a day she just might survive until next time we're here, but we are at a loss to know what to do if we can't trap her. Without her teeth being sorted out I imagine she will starve to death, and what we will notice is that she has disappeared. I can't think of any other way to catch her and get her to the vet - apart from a tranquiliser dart!
More news in April, and in the meantime, here's a photo of a small pila (stone trough) that I thought looked rather fetching against the spring daisies.