I'm putting this on this board because I might get a straight, no-nonsense reply from the blunt side of the cat world. If mods want to move it, do so.
About 18mths ago, a feral mum brought her kittens to nest in a lean to attached to my kitchen. I fed them and noticed signs of flu; so I trapped them, using feral trap, and took a "sample" kit to vet. He confirmed diagnosis and gave antibiotics to put into food. It was a cold winter, but they survived in my warm, unused, back bedroom. I intended to rehome them after the Christmas of 08, but broke my arm, which made simple things like changing cat litter etc difficult. I managed with help from a friend.
Shortly after my arm healed, Polly became ill and died (a 22yr old), which put me into a slump of grief. Then Samantha became ill and died.
Consequently, the little cats and their mother have been here for a long time and we've bonded. Friends think I should keep them. I've been asking myself the following:
Can I afford them?
Can I cope with 6 cats?
Am I being kind/cruel to them?
Their versus my longevity. I'm 52.
Am I becoming a hoarder?
Will Fred and Vic accept them?
If I went for the rehoming option, how hard would it be for them to find homes?
Also, I have a problem with a woman a few houses down the road. She claimed that the mother was her cat, but I know that Lucy, the mother, has been a local feral for some time. If she was her cat, why was she kittening in my lean to? I know that she didn't belong to this woman, but she became very aggressive Dec 08, theatening my own cats, who've been indoors since. If I kept the four cats, I'd want them to be indoor/outdoor. I would have them microchipped (F and V are already) so, if push came to shove, I could prove them to be mind, but would rather it didn't come to this.
I've enquired at several local vets about vaccination and chipping costs - they are already neutered - and I could just about cover this. I've found a vet with low consult fees. I've been feeding 6 cats for quite a while now, and managed.
Maybe I could cope with all 6 around me when they go out to let off energy. If I feel overwhelmed, I can always put them in another room (F and V separately).
I've been reading stuff about introducing cats. Fred and Vic were originally part of a colony, then they lived with Polly and Sam, so they are used to being in a multicat environment. The only problems may be when Fred shows an interest in the kittens (he'd very paternal); Lucy might misunderstand this at first.
I think many people would be interested in them, until they find out that they're ex-feral and not entirely friendly with strangers. I've been looking at the homing pages on Purrs to find out if the economic situation has affected rehoming cats; although I saw nothing about that, I did read about cats needing homes. If I rehomed the four, would they be taking up homes other cats desperately need?
Any input gratefully recieved? Am I becoming one of those crazy ladies you hear about on the news; the ones who have far too many cats which get taken away by youknowwho?