Cat Parade on the Gwynns Falls Trail Behind BARCS in South Baltimore

I worked from home today before V. picked me up in her car for a trip down to the animal shelter–she’s getting a cat! I knew I’d want a way home by myself so she could head straight home to play with the new kitten, so I tossed Brompty in the back of her car for the ride downtown. The place was crowded with folks looking to adopt a dog or cat during the fee-free period, and we were there for a couple of hours before I had to take Brompty out of the car, unfold her, and hop on to head home. But first, a quick zip up the Gwynns Falls Trail. I didn’t make it far before taking a seat on a bench to talk to my sister on the phone. I heard a rustling behind me and looked back to see if there was a rat I need to avoid, but it was just a friendly tabby cat, come out to say hi. He tried to rub all up against me, but I wasn’t really up for it, not wanting to bring home any diseases to my two sweet kitties at home. I got up to walk away, but he just followed Brompty and me, la dee dah. And then another cat came out from the trees, and another and another and another. There was the little gray kitten, the tabbies, the tuxedo, the black cat, the orange cat, the light light orange cat–so many cats! I stopped and waited as they gathered around like I was some kind of pied piper of cats–where are we all going!–and then when the thirteenth emerged, I got just creeped out enough to get off the phone and get on my bike to get away. I’m most definitely a cat person, and when I look at this picture, I see all things wondrous and beautiful on the planet, but in the moment it was creepy. By the time I got back to this spot most of the kitties had deserted, though I’m not sure where to, because for some reason the trees and growth on the right side of the trail in this picture had been cut down and greatly thinned, taking away the habitat of these cats–though some might argue that’s a good thing. I wondered, though, where the people who lived there had gone. People had set up nice homes for themselves back in those trees, but they were no more. Some might argue that’s a good thing, but I’m not so sure, about either.

16 thoughts on “Cat Parade on the Gwynns Falls Trail Behind BARCS in South Baltimore

  1. They followed you because they are lonely, and hungry, probably someone’s pets and they got dumped around BARCS at night, wandered back to the trail and now they are in need of TNR and respect and maybe even homes. There is an effort going on right now to do this among BARCS volunteers. If you want help these poor babies, discarded like yesterdays trash, please post here and we’ll contact you.

  2. People dump animals outside the shelter when it’s closed. They’ll tie dogs up or stick them in one of the exercise runs. They will put puppies, kittens, and cats in boxes sometimes but other times they just drop the cats off there, so likely they just made their own homes nearby.
    It’s nuts.

    • BARCS is incredible! I was thrilled to see how many animals were finding homes yesterday. Could one of you post about how volunteers can get involved? I’m guessing many folks who read this will want to help, though I’m unable to at this time.

  3. Well, if there is anyone who routinely bikes the trail and could feed on a certain day, that would be a help. I think two different people are splitting feeding duties right now.

    Seven of the cats have been TNRed (TNR = trap/neuter/return, the cats are fixed and vaccinated, and their left ear is “tipped,” and then they are put back). TNR is generally done for feral cats so they can continue to live wherever they are without causing a kitty explosion through uncontrolled breeding. (Community Cats Maryland — — is a great place to learn about TNR.) Many of these cats are not feral at all, but at least this way they are fixed and vaccinated until we can find a place for them to go.

    And that’s the final, most important way people could help — by fostering or adopting one of these guys. BARCS is drowning in cats right now and will not be able to take them in anytime soon… at least, not without having to euthanize another needy cat to make room. 😦 Maybe after kitten season calms down a bit, they’ll have space. But it would be better to get the really friendly ones into adoptive/foster homes sooner rather than later… since this is Baltimore, and friendly cats can become victims of unfriendly people who like to set animals on fire and lovely stuff like that. :p

    The cats will all be fully vetted (OK, that’s one other way people could help… donations toward vet care!), and these guys were almost all pets at some point and will be perfectly happy to live indoors again! Two very friendly kittens about 3.5 months old are already in foster care and will be ready for adoption after they get fixed this weekend.

    I’m only peripherally involved, but am happy to hook up anyone who wants to help… there may be upwards of 30 cats here, and even going through the low-cost feral cat clinic at BARCS, where the cats can be TNRed for only $20 apiece, that’s $600! And doesn’t include the extra vetting that the friendly ones will need to be adoptable.

    I’m going to see if we can set up a Facebook page for them, to make it easier to “advertise” them and solicit help, but in the meantime, anyone interested can email me at eharty *at* gmail.

  4. Hey, we REALLY need help fostering these cats… a bunch of them have been spayed/neutered already, and they are all VERY friendly and want to stay inside! Three volunteers are currently fostering a total of seven cats, but we can’t take in any more until these get adopted. We need more fosters… or adopters!

    Currently looking for homes, all fixed/vaccinated and friendly:

    3 three-month-old kittens
    Adult black male, front declawed
    Brown tabby male
    Brown tabby male (FIV+)

    And also a gray tabby and a buff tabby, both males who were fixed yesterday. No foster home currently available, will be put back on the trail if no foster can be found.

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