Mews: Amazing photos of a rural cat colony

Cats rule the Internet, we all know this, but it is exceedingly rare to see serious depictions of the fine beasts. Beautifully counteracting this trend, yet still letting us look at cats, is Green Bay, Wisconsin-based photographer Jason Houge.

Cat Tree No. 2

Houge has been putting up pictures of the colony on Instagram. He and his girlfriend have been feeding and caring for them ever since they moved into their home together with the help of a local organization called Cats Anonymous. Before cats would come and go, but in 2012 a family of cats stayed longer than the usual one season. This is how Houge’s cat family started which now counts more than 20 of them. 😀

Big Boy

The continuous reproduction of feral cats can be a huge problem and Houge’s explains this: “It’s likely most people have heard stories of hoarders who live with hundreds of cats. It only takes two intact cats and two or three years to get to that point. A female can have an average of five kittens three times a year and can become pregnant at about six months of age.” One of the most effective ways to keep this exponential increase in feral cats in check is through implementation of methods like “Trap-Neuter-Return” (TNR). TNR is a process in which volunteers, working both with organizations and independently, trap the cats, have them spayed or neutered, vaccinate them, and release them back into their colonies if they aren’t adopted, which most lifelong feral are not. Humane societies around the country support this by providing these services at no charge.

Despite the dedicated individuals who spend much of their free time to try and counteract cat multiplication, they are in no way ahead of the problem. The cats just keep coming.

Of course we have lived with cats for a aeons and Houge writes, “Some very notable populations came up in my research—Rome, Jerusalem, Tashirojima,—an island in Japan where cats outnumber humans, and of course the Hemingway polydactyls of Key West, Florida—all of which are healthy populations where the cats are protected by, interact with, and rely on the human element to survive.”

For more cat photos, follow Jason Houge on InstagramPrint sales help fund the care and feeding of Houge’s cats; prints can be purchased here.
To donate to Cats Anonymous, click here. To make a donation or get involved outside of Green Bay, visit the US Humane Society for information.

We found this article originally here and loved it and the photos so much that we thought it worth sharing with you. Hope you enjoyed it! 🙂

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48 thoughts on “Mews: Amazing photos of a rural cat colony

  1. That is amazing. People think “cute kitty” but unless you’ve lived around a feral cat population it’s hard to understand how different they are from the cuddly and cut little guy who loves sitting on your lap.

    1. Oh yeah. My sister learned that the hrs way. She tried to cuddle a feral kitten in the forest. Had to take her to the doctor for jabs and treat the wounds. Don’t want to think what would have happened if it had been a fully grown wild cat XD

  2. I have several Feral cat colonies, but I’ve never seen a feral that looks like that. 😿 That’s very scary to me to the point I would be trapping and taking that poor baby in to see what is wrong with it! The foaming of the mouth for one is very wrong. Do you see many that appear this way? Just curious!

    1. That foam photo was an attempt of the photographer to brush the teeth of one of the ferals. (Failed as it may have) so don’t worry the baby is fine. 😀

      1. Lol…omg…I don’t think I’d attempt to brush baby of thems teeth! Whew at least you can try!! Mine get close enough to feed, talk too, give medicine too and pet upon occasion, but never brush those teffies😸. Lol

        1. I have to brush Nubia’s teeths every week 🙁 she has gum problems otherwise. Not fun times at all… At least she only grumbles loudly. Wouldn’t dare doing it to a wild cat colony LOL.

  3. We have one that lives near us, too. They haunt our porch in hopes of left over cat food from our cats. Unfortunately, the local raccoons usually get the left overs! One of the cats will attack if you get too close. I mean and full out charge at you and launch into the air with claws extended! I am in the process of finding places here that will help me with TNR. I feel so bad for the cats, struggling to survive!

  4. Grannyk where do you live? State? Here in the US the animal shelters will help TNR Ferals by spaying, giving shots and med as needee. Sometimes even food.😺

  5. Could I get a cat tree in my yard?
    Thank you for explaining the “foaming at the mouth”….I was very worried about that one.
    I have learned the hard way to only put out food when I see one of the cats and watch the bowl and take it up right away when they leave. I have to chase a raccoon off my patio every so often. But as readers of my blog know….I have good aim with the water spray bottle and it helps me practice my Italian among other things.

    1. In our part it’s foxes that cause the issue. They will scoff up stuff left for strays. And unfortunately foxes don’t care about water bottles nor German swearing apparently LOL

      1. Of course I don’t swear at the raccoon (il procione) in Italian….maybe I should try that!
        So glad I don’t have foxes too. Although squirrels have buried peanuts (someone feeds them) in my flowerpots….what a surprise I got when I was doing some spring planting.

  6. Wow, that first photo had me standing in my chair, but I read your comment about the attempt at brushing it’s teeth. Whew! I salute them for their efforts to care for them. Insightful post, Marc. Thank you!

  7. Beautiful black and whites. Thanks for sharing. I have a lite red tabby named Newt that’s named after a character Ricky Schroder played in Lonesome Dove. One day watching in horror to see this apartment complex I had on my route burn with fire and through all the fire trucks and hoses this little kitten emerges and walks up to me on a very hot summer day that appeared to have come from the fire. The kitten smelled my out reached hand and fell over weak with exhaustion. I scoopped his limped body off the ground and ask everybody I could, who the kitten had belong to. After we were told my many people that they had never seen the cat before, we took him along with us to care for him. We stopped up at the corner store and got a cup of water for the little guy and he drank his strenght returned back to him before we got home, but it took awhile before he could meow. He’s been a great friend and we love each other to this day. I should upload a picture Newt.

      1. I agree with Marc….please do a guest post with pictures of Newt….I once had a cat named Newt…he was a very large (weighed in at 25 lbs his last years) grey tabby. People would say to my mother (where lived after I left home) “Do you know your cat is pregnant?” and she would respond “He’d better not be”. He lived to a ripe old age.
        Looking forward to your “Newt”

  8. Gorgeous photos. Love the drama and the different angles. The black cat with dandelion puffs!!! Wow! I have the “I hate my medicine” foaming at the mouth photo of one of mine.

  9. Amazing post! 🙂 I love the photographs too. Black and white establish the drama! Is really interesting how different must be the life for a rural cat. Nothing like a pet one. Love your post!

  10. Oh my goodness not sure whether to call the cat a vamPurr or think it’s got rabies.
    as for the one with the cats in the tree….all I could think of was the show Zoo (1st season)
    It’s a cool show based on the books by James Patterson You can check out my review of it (or many other shows and movies) on my Entertainment blog
    (here’s the direct link to the zoo review) https://multiscreenmotivision.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/zoo/

      1. season 2 premiered this past spring/summer I hear the book is scarier and there’s also a ‘one shot’ book for part 2.

        Oh and if you want an idea… there’s a subscription box called Kitnip not sure if they ship overseas though but thought I’d mention it.

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