Two round eyes stare up at me from the grass. Ears are focused like radar. Body motionless and poised for flight or attack. Short striped fur smooth over a gymnast’s taut body. It’s a young felis silvestris, a feral or stray kitten. Only our relative sizes prevent my becoming its prey. At least three families of feral cats have chosen my yard and garden for their hunting ground. We hear, “Oh, how cute” or “precious” or even “darling,” but they are anything but. Kept for thousands of years as pets or objects of worship, cats have never accepted us as owners, only staff. My property has become a Garden of “Eaten.” Or “Eatin’.” Now occupied by these small but extremely effective hunters, there are no longer any birds, snakes, large insects or animals smaller than a squirrel. Even the anole lizards are gone, save for the newly hatched. We are under invasion.The Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are over 60 million stray cats in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates there are an additional 5 million domestic cats abandoned annually. A female cat can have three litters per year with two to ten kittens per litter. Feral cats have an average life span 3-5 years, before dying of starvation, disease, dogs, or traffic. They eat songbirds, game birds, mice, rodents, rabbits and other small wildlife. They carry diseases transmittable to humans and domestic cats, including rabies, plague, ringworm, toxoplasmosis, cat-scratch fever, allergies, feline leukemia and feline distemper. Adding insult to injury are the disgusting habits of defecation and spraying with urine to mark territory. Our nights are made sleepless by their courting and territorial disputes. When I lived in the country, a .22 rifle kept the population down. But here in the city, what are our options? Some organizations try to help. They suggest three solutions: (1) trap, neuter, and release; (2) trap, neuter and adopt and (3) capture and relocate. Capture? A live trap costs about $50, and you only catch one cat at a time. Neuter? Vets are expensive. Release, adopt or relocate are problematic. Released cats don’t reproduce, but they still hunt. Studies show alley cats average 28 kills per year; farm cats many more. Adopt? We are hopelessly outnumbered. Relocating is also called dumping, best done at night where no one will recognize you. Can you live with that? Death lurks in the Garden of “Eaten.” Soon there will be nothing left to be “eaten.” Anybody want to adopt a “furry purry”? I offer free transportation. Just tell me how many.