After being a little late in planning in planting her backyard, Nikki Byrne had to find other ways to ensure some greenery. Wanting to fill her terra-cotta pots with herbs, Byrne visited the local nursery to hopefully find something, but the only healthy-looking plant left was the catnip. She decided to plant a couple of pots of catnip anyway, and didn’t expect anything to happen. However, then the cats came...
She said, “I didn’t grow up with cats, and I guess I’ve never really been around cats too much, so I didn’t really understand that some of them find catnip irresistible. Shortly after planting it, I heard a little commotion outside one morning. I looked out the window, and there was a big old tabby cat up on the fence. He’d managed to knock one of the pots of catnip down when he was going after it.”
It al started with one old tabby, whom Byrne nicknamed Mister. Mister started to constantly visit the patio every day. Byrne noticed that the poor cat looked worse for wear and didn’t appear to have a collar, so she started putting food and water out for him.
Sweet Mister seemed to have deemed Byrne’s yard as a safe place for him, and also for his family. Soon every generation of Mister’s children started to become regular visitors to play around under their dad’s supervision. Seeing that she has some new residents, Byrne decided to make it more welcoming and turned her yard into a playground for all strays. She added various sorts of cat toys, scratching posts, tunnels and even nice and cozy heated cat houses.
For a while, the kittens were always happy to interact with Byrne, while Mister remained aloof. “We’ve had to work really hard to show him we’re not dangerous, whereas the little ones will swarm all over you. They’re really friendly.”
Watch the sweet video of Mister’s kids playing in their exciting tunnel : https://www.facebook.com/1469610784/videos/645502306738387
With time and patience, Byrne managed to earn Mister’s trust. “He didn’t seem like a cat who’d ever been successfully approached by humans before. I let him call the shots, and now we can actually approach him and he’ll eat treats out of my hand — I can even pet him.”
Watch Mister interacting with Byrne: https://www.facebook.com/1469610784/videos/433733761420478
However, as cute as the sweet youngsters were, Byrne still knew that they needed more than she can provide. She later reached out to one of the local community cat organisation in San Luis Obispo county, to help with the process of trap-neuter-return.
But we need give thanks to the fact that the catnip and Byrne played a huge role in saving generations of cats.