He said, “no more cats. I loved Trinket but now that she’s gone I want to live without barriers around my house and no more litter box”.
Seems a number of weeks ago she took up residence in our woodpile behind the shed. Frankly being so caught up with my father-in-law who has been hospitalized for well over a month, we didn’t really notice. She’s very stealthy.
Then one day we did. It’s not unusual to see the occasional neighbor’s cat around but they generally stay away from our back yard because we have two dogs, but we didn’t recognize this one. My husband thought he saw a small animal scurry under the woodpile and the after some investigating he realized that the reason this mystery cat was hanging around was because she had kittens.
Now, in the midst of hospital trips and related activities we had to deal with these babies. Let me tell you these are some lucky felines. We’re a very critter friendly couple and I don’t know how someone else in this situation would have dealt, if at all (cynic). We contacted a number of no-kill shelters but they were all full and couldn’t help us, so we took a chance and contact the town. Now before you get all in a tizzy, as a co-worker did, the town I live in runs a no-kill shelter and works with a Veterinarian who will spay/neuter strays and feral cats at a discounted rate. Whew.
We borrowed a trap from the town and initially caught momma and two of the kittens at the same time (hence the photo above) on July 4th. We knew we had to separate them so, in our infinite wisdom, my husband and I cleared out the shed (not a small undertaking by any means) thinking we could give them run of the room. STU-PID! Momma made a b-line for the rafters and the kittens squeezed between one of the benches and the wall. Did I mention this was the 4th, and we just finished a nice quiet BBQ at home with my mother-in-law and were exhausted?
Realizing we were screwed we left the door open and let them out. Literally the next day we caught them again, this time momma first and all four kittens, one-by-one by the end of the day.
We scheduled a check up and a spay for Momma and also paid extra for a rabies shot. When we got her back we kept her in one of the dog crates in the garage hoping that we could socialize her and find her a home. She made it very clear, as did the town, that this was not likely to work. We let her go and as they said she would, she is remaining on our property. We’re good with that. We leave he food and water and will make sure she has shelter for the winter if she continues to hang at chez knitstamatic.
As for the kittens: two orange, one calico and one black. They look to be about 10-12 weeks old. The town will take them as soon as they have been socialized – our responsibility. Which means we have to be able to handle them without restraining them. We’ve been working with them every day to get them accustomed to people. We keep a radio on in the shed and have a fan going to keep them comfy.
Dog crates work very well as temporary housing. Ironic, no?
At first we couldn’t touch them. Just putting our hands in the crate to clean the litter box or refill the food resulted in all sorts of menacing sounds. We’ve been persistent: we were finally able to pet them a few nights ago. It took some work and some tuna but they are coming around. Although this seems to be subject change. As for pecking order, the dominant male is one of the orange kitties (guess which one); the second in order is the other orange make, then the black and the calico. The black kitty is the most fearful and hisses a lot but even she was okay with me petting her behind the ears and under the chin. Major progress!
Now, back to that thing about “no more cats”… When this all started my husband must have made that statement half-a-dozen times a day. You see, I’m the one who came to this relationship with a cat…and now guess who is interested in keeping one of them? Yup, my husband! 🙂
Well we’ll see how it goes, in the mean time they will be up for adoption when they are ready. I’m hoping to find loving homes for them rather than hand them over to a shelter where they will likely sit in very small cages. At least with us they will have room to move in the dog crate. They will be in a larger one soon.