You have heard of her here, and here. She's a sweet cat that used to hang around the garbage bin up at the corner, with her friends. Her friends are all gold and white. VB once witnessed a clusterbutt sniffing circle as she passed at least a half dozen of them near the bin area. The gold and whites are a tight knit group, but not what you'd call exclusive. From a great book VB found, cat vs. cat, by Pam Johnson-Bennett, who not only writes about domestic cats, but also feral behavior:
"Before rubbing, a cat usually raises her tail as she approaches. If there's another familiar cat approaching her and she also raises her tail, it's possibly a signal that both cats intend to engage in allorubbing.Most books VB has seen usually focus on how to catch ferals, so you can neuter them, and not so much on behavior, or they will focus just on the domestic cat, with no real reference to ferals, at all. While this book does center on domestic cats, the author does a nice job, comparing them to feral colonies too.
Cats most often use their incredibly keen sense of smell to recognize one another. Cats living together may rub one another to create a familiar colony scent. This is a survival instinct because it helps to more quickly identify whether a cat entering the territory is familiar to the intruder. Allogrooming (mutual grooming) is part of the social structure. It's generally restricted to cats who are friendly and who will normally share napping and resting areas."
"Some females in a colony may form communal nests and nurse one another's kittens...Females commonly move their kittens often if they fear attacks from males or outside predators...."In the summer, Big Love Mama had three kittens, as seen below.
Here's a more recent pic of him. Big Love Mama sleeps with him and lets him eat out of her bowl - still. They are very tight, and he seems to have picked up a healthy, loving attitude from his mom. She is still protective of him, even as he has gotten older. One cat was sniffing his tail, and had a "I don't like the way your butt smells" look on his face. Big Love Mama turned around, screeched, and nearly clawed his eye out. We believe she just had another litter, and await to see the new kittens. Another piece of wisdom from cat vs. cat, which VB has tried is:
"When greeting an unfamiliar cat, extend your index finger and let her approach for a sniff. This is similar to nose-to-nose sniffing that cats do. Don't reach to pet the cat, just leave your finger extended. After the cat does a scent investigation, she may the rub the side of her mouth along your finger or even rub her head or side of her body. This is her way of letting you know that she is at ease with you. At that point you can offer to pet her. Don't pet her until she has finished her scent investigation, and don't pet her if she backs up and stares at you."VB has extended her index finger to this one, and he is responsive, but we have not gotten to the petting part yet. Just the fact that he has not run away immediately is a good sign.
Undoubtedly the little ones will be brought here for sustenance. Unfortunately VB leaves (or is getting shoved off) early this year, and may not be back until December. She would like to, at least see the kittens before she departs, but these girls tend to keep their little ones hidden away until they're about three months old.