You’ve probably noticed that Brooklyn is home to thousands of stray cats. They’re adorable, but they’re also resourceful and territorial creatures who maintain their family units in colonies. Our cat is from such a colony. In fact, he was born in our back patio. My husband Sam and I had been routinely feeding a sweet backyard cat, who we named Mama Cat, since she had produced a few litters of kittens over the years. We melted seeing the new kittens, but we soon realized how problematic it was to have an ever-growing backyard cat situation. This past summer Sam and I finally took the initiative to control our cat colony–getting certified by the ASPCA to use their resources and clinics. We managed to capture 7 felines from our backyard. All were given rabies vaccinations and were spayed or neutered.
Of the group, three were kittens, which were we able to adopt out (we kept Fritz!), and the others were adults–too old to be properly socialized without extensive effort–and so we had them ear-tipped to be released into the backyard to continue their lives outside–that’s the TNR (Trap Neuter Return) protocol. Getting TNR certified and managing the population is humane and effective.
Our initial plan was to foster Fritz after his neutering surgery and then try to find him a new family, but we soon grew very attached. We are so smitten with him now. Fritz has velvety fur and the belly markings of a leopard. He’s inquisitive and amazingly social. As I get ready in the mornings, we play fetch. It’s incredible: he brings his mouse toy diligently back to my feet every time I throw it for him.
I’m not sure why his name is Fritz–my husband decided that would be his name–and it suits him, so I’m happy with it. Fritz is almost a year old, but he’s still full of kitten energy. He even does backflips when taunted with a pom pom on a string. And he is snuggly–so snuggly, in fact, that he tries to sleep directly on my face at night. Of course I think he’s the best cat in the world, but I’m pretty biased.
Ellen Rose is an artist and retail display designer pursuing an MFA in industrial design at the School of Visual Arts.