Sunday, March 29, 2009

FIVE CATS?!?!? Yes, I present a cautionary tail...

I know, I know, five cats is straight out of crazy cat lady territory. Even though both my husband and I are animal lovers we are fully aware that this goes beyond normal.

So here's the scoop. When I met my husband he had two cats. J-kun (background) and Cookie (foreground). My husband had J-kun for a while and one day while he was in the lobby of his building he saw something dart under the radiator. Assuming it was a rat and he lifted up his boot and was getting prepared to send it to rat heaven when the "rat "let out a tiny little meow. It was a kitten that was so small it literally fit into the palm of his hand. That was Cookie.

We met, married and lived happily with our two cats. Two cats is still normal, right?

This is where things get a bit hairy (furry?). We bought our house. We moved in at the end of January 2008. We LOVE our house. We were so used to living in small NYC apartments that having a backyard is a huge luxury. Speaking of the backyard, I noticed this gorgeous predominantly white tabby cat out there. She of course runs clear away from you if you try to approach her but she'd always stay within sight. I watched her for a couple months and by the end of March I'm noticing that she's pregnant. This picture is her in our neighbors yard (see the fat belly? Our "future kitties" are in there).Shortly after I took this picture she disappeared. We didn't see again until about the end of August when she came with a little friend. This little kitten scrap was so skinny that we immediately set about feeding her. She inhaled anything you gave her to the point that we was nervous her belly was going to pop. Simply put she was a wreck , a real sickly little runt. This went on for about a week. The kitten never left our yard. She'd sleep under a big elephant ear plant. After a night of heavy rain with her under that elephant ear my heart was breaking and so was my husbands. He let me "convince" him to catch her and take her in. We named her Lou (We thought she was a boy when she was outside- who knew?). We took her to the vet and she had every disease, mite, flea, ringworm, 2 stomach/intestinal worms. You name it she had it. The one thing she didn't have, which would have been a deal-breaker since we have the other cats, was FeLV/FIV (Feline Leukemia/AIDS). She had to live in our second bedroom in solitary confinement for 3 months while we nursed her back to health. I even caught the insidious ringworm on my neck from cuddling her. It was so gross and I've since fully recovered. The vet told us she looked to be 5-6 months old which meant that this was one of the babies momma cat was carrying in the picture I took back in March.

Let me tell you something about this momma cat, she's no dummy! She knew we took in her baby in and sensing what kindhearted people (read: total suckers) we are the VERY NEXT DAY she replaced the kitten we'd taken in by bring over two more of the from the litter.

This time we were strong! We resisted their charms and thought they'd leave. After all we were in the midst of trying to fix Lou, who required constant care- pills, injections, baths (torture) and ointments. Her medicine box looked like something you'd find in a senior center. Well, these kittens didn't leave. In fact the winter came and they stayed out there with snow on the ground (see the snow in the pic I have in the right hand column?), they sat out there in the rain, they just wouldn't leave.

This is where the tide turned. The little tabby girl started to go into heat and there was an enormous old mean looking black cat stalking her. He was just out looking for a good time. Fearing she'd end up like her momma we trapped her and her brother and took them down to the local shelter where they were both neutered under a low cost TNR program (Trap, Neuter, Release). So the plan was to then release them back into the wilds. The flaw in this plan? Once you have them neutered you have to keep them for 2 weeks while they recover from surgery. So while they were healing in our now infamous kitty infirmary we set about trying to pawn them off on any and everyone we knew. Just when it looked like someone wanted them he got an assignment at work that had him working 12+ hour days and weekends. So we held onto them waiting, and waiting and waiting- weeks go by. Finally, we just had to accept defeat and admit to ourselves that we had 5 cats! We took them to the vet and found they both had clean bills of health (shocking I know, we were stunned too!!). We then set about introducing Sophia (Her exotic eyes remind me of Sophia Loren) & Paw-Paw (any time we used to try to touch him he'd slap our hand two times fast with his paw. Look at the pic, you see that? How he's raising his little mitt getting ready to slap me?) to the rest of the clan.

We love them all dearly and while we wouldn't trade them for the world we do have a recommendation:

If you find yourself in the market and shopping for a home make sure you ask the realtor if the property includes a pregnant cat.

I suppose you want to know what happened to the momma cat. She's still around and we've seen her pregnant a few times since. Our hope is one day we'll be able to catch her and have her neutered as well. Thing is she's a really smart cat and she's hip to the trapping game. She's not falling for it. The good news is she hasn't brought any additional babies into the yard (thank god!). We think she understands that we've done our part.

More importantly, "The Inn" is full.

1 comment:

Dobbygirl said...

I'm totally there with you. I adopted 3 litter mates from a stray mom that had her kittens right in my side yard (she was no dummy either) - this was before I married my husband. That was in 1999. Unfortunately we lost one 2 years ago to an illness, but the other two are still kicking and will be 10 next month. I would love to have a couple more when my daughter gets older. Love the kitties! Great post and story!!!