That is just it. Predators are rampant here, but the dogs do an excellent job of running almost all of them off with the exception of the foxes and the ravens. For some reason they do not chase the ravens, but I sure wish they would. So, one kitten is gone for sure. Smokey had kittens again in the woodpile, but I have not seen them or her except once, so I think the foxes must have gotten them.
Putting out the money to spay the females is like throwing good money away, since they could be gone tomorrow. But then they might stick around for a year or even longer, so there is the chance that kittens will come again. No more females, even though they are supposedly much better mousers.
I had a discussion with a local woman about kittens. She feels I am being a terribly irresponsible pet owner. The cats are not exactly pets. They are working animals here on the farm and never come in the house. Nonetheless, I do not want to contribute to the explosive cat population in this area and vet fees are inordinately high to spay and neuter animals. So, I will have males and see how that goes. If it is not working out, then no more cats. Only one neighbour that I am aware of has a cat and the cat is also male, likely the sire of the kittens here.
Anyone want a cute little kitty? I am trying to tame them and make them marketable so they are in confinement for a while until they stop hissing and growling at me. I do feed them and eventually they might get the idea that I am not so bad. Sometimes it works for feral kittens, but not always. My fingers are crossed for these little guys. I am not sure what the next step will be. The pet stores are full, the animal shelter is full and most people who want cats already have some. Not looking good...