And like that, they were gone.
Almost 3 months to the day of their arrival, the last of the colony kittens has gone to his new home. I can hardly believe we moved them all, especially some of the more 'difficult' ones (okay, Elmer).
After Eldert (now Bongo) was adopted, the next one to go was little Friday, the black & white cowgirl who was a few weeks younger than the others. She was adopted at a North Brooklyn Cats adoption event by a guy who had previously adopted from them. He was not only looking for a friend for his cat, he was actually getting married later in the day and had hoped to bring his new bride a special wedding gift of a new kitten. I tend to think of pets as gifts as a slippery slope but I think she's charming enough to claim her place in their new home.
Soon after that little Elsa found a home. Elsa had always been tame so she wasn't a hard sell, she was petite (and possibly younger than the other kittens) and had no fear of humans. In fact, she seemed to regard us with a grave curiosity that bordered on pity. She is reportedly very gregarious in her new home.
After the first 3 kittens were off we were left with the 3 more problematic kittens. All three were much more feral and less prone to human influence during their time indoors. But with the 'good' kittens gone, I could spend more time with the others. Slowly (and all at different rates) they came around.
Elvis was the first of this batch to be adopted. This was a real victory for us as Elvis had early been branded one of the hard cases. He hissed constantly and didn't seem to respond to any of the official taming methods. He was bigger than the others, so he too may have been from a different litter. He was sequestered in a small crate, which was supposed to speed the process. I don't know if it did but separation did seem to help. He never totally gave up the hissing but he revealed a very docile disposition that belied his menacing exterior. Eventually he let us pet him and increasingly seemed to like it. We were able to pick him up and hold him, he got pretty mushy all around and was soon picked up by a couple from Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
Elke went next. She too had a slower time of it, she was shy at first and only came out of her shell near the end. By then she was asking for head rubs and climbing all over us. She was the first to learn how to take treats from our fingers and remained the quickest of the group to pick up on similar obstacles. Once she got over the hump she liked to get up in your face as much as possible. She now lives in Crown Heights.
Last but not least is Elmer. Initially he seemed harmless and docile but he soon became aggressive and downright violent. As covered in-depth in the previous post, we were close to putting him out with the rest of the incorrigible ferals. But he made a stunning turnaround, and by the time his littermates were adopted, he was tamer than them! While Elvis and Elke were still a little skittish at times (especially around strangers), Elmer rapidly warmed up to everybody, allowed anyone to pick him and hold him, and would seek out laps to sit upon whenever he got tired of playing.
Before he left, Elmer was allowed out of his room to roam the house freely. He loved all the other cats and they seemed to like him (except Flossie), he ran around with them for a few days until it was his time to go. A previous adopter was interested and picked him up this past weekend. Reportedly her older cat isn't happy but I suspect the two will soon become pals (there's actually a good chance they're related since they're both from the same block and share a lot of the same personality traits). The cats are taken care of and given best cat food.
With the kittens gone we can focus on the other cats, as we still have several to adopt out. We also have many more ferals to take care of now, as the recent TNR project resulted in most of the cats moving into our back yard. So I'm building a bunch of new winter shelters to make sure they're covered. I miss the kittens, but I'm glad to have a little more time to do other stuff again. It's been a rewarding experience but I am hoping this is the last time we see kittens on this block. There are still a few unfixed cats out there and we'll try to get them all fixed. But if another neighbor reveals they have 20+ cats in their yard, I'm moving.