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Monday, 09/13/2004 - 11:59 AM PDT
The topic: Living life in the slow lane....

Monday, September 13, 2004 Things have (sort of) settled down since my last entry. The neighbors are keeping to themselves. It's funny, she made such a big deal about losing her view and this past week, they put up a shed right outside of the window with the stained glass. It wasn't a spur of the moment decision, they'd been planning on it. So, why did she get so wacko about her "view"? Aw, who knows? Certainly not me.

In the last entry, I also mentioned Little Bit bringing her kittens up. Well, I have a hard time not trying to watch them and she got pissed when I lifted up the car covers to look at a couple of them sitting on the tire. So, that night, she moved them back to the neighbor's yard. Where she kept them for about a day, then she brought them back. This was at the beginning of last week. I started bringing out plates of food like I had for the previous litter, but this litter is a little wilder. I was only able to pick up two of the kittens, the other one stayed far away from me. And it didn't get better as the week went on.

I seriously considered what I was going to do. Brian and I hadn't really discussed this, what to do with the kittens, beyond him saying "we can't keep them". But we couldn't leave them outside. And I was becoming more concerned each day I went out when the kittens ran away from me. And Little Bit wasn't a big help, she did her share of hissing, going as far as to slap my hand at one point. She drew a little blood, but I'm sure it wasn't intentional. My main concern was the fact they were becoming more feral with each passing day and in doing so, would be that much harder to tame up. Saturday morning at breakfast, I told Brian I was going to try to get them all by the end of the weekend. Then we'd decide what to do from there. On our way home from breakfast, we stopped by Wal-Mart, where I bought some Sheba cat food. This worked the last time, with any luck, it would do the trick again.

And it almost did. I was able to pluck one kitten from the dish, but the other two ran. I took the kitten into the bathroom, where I'd put a doorless carrier, covered with a towel and having a towel inside. I went back outside to continue my work. I went over to the right passenger side front tire and lifted up the car covers. Little Bit hissed and spit at me. I had brought out a fishing pole type toy and tossed the cloth toy at the end under the car, where she attacked it. She kept slapping at that and while she was doing that, I was able to get kitten number two. I brought it into the house. It was hot and I was sweating, nervous as all get out. I hate doing this, I really do. We really have to get Little Bit spayed and I just don't know how we'll get it down when she's so damned trap smart.

There was one kitten left. I looked under the car and Little Bit was just laying there. I didn't see the third kitten. I went over to the tire and looked on it, no kitten. I thought about it and figured I'd start checking the other tires. I found the kitten on the second tire I looked at. I grabbed it, it digging it's tiny claws into the tire, not making a sound. And Little Bit didn't appear to be concerned at all.

Dripping sweat (like I said, it was hot with quite a bit of humidity, storming in the mountains and deserts; boy would I love to see some rain) I took the last kitten inside. I put down a little rug in the bathroom (something I don't normally do because they have a tendency to get peed on), got some food, water and the little pan we used before with Ross and Rachel for litter. One of the kittens, a little boy, kept hissing at me. Telling me what a big doodoo head I am, I guess, and that he wasn't afraid of me, not one little bit. I'd pick him up and kiss his little belly and tell him he was a real cutie pie. I'd put him on the floor and he'd look at me and hiss some more. The other two were quieter. An occasional spit, but not much else. I spent some time with them, handling them and checking them over. We have two boys and a girl. If I could keep them, I thought, I'd name the little hisser Joey, the other boy Chandler and the little girl would be Phoebe, staying with the "Friends" theme originally started with Rachel and Ross. If I could keep them. I didn't think of them in terms of names, though, that's not a thing to do when you won't be keeping them. Makes it too hard to say goodbye.

I called one of my rescue friends to ask about trapping a queen using the kittens as bait. She gave me some really good advice. I also posted on one of the cat boards I frequent to get more tips about kittens as bait. It was pretty funny when I spoke with my friend. She said she puts it in a little bowl. I'm thinking "they'll walk out of a little bowl, what good would that do?" And it dawned on me, the connection wasn't the best and she was thinking I was saying "chicken" not "kittens". We had a decent laugh about that. As much as I loathed the idea of kittens as bait, it didn't seem as if we have any other option at this point. We've got to get her. We just don't have the resources for any more kittens. We don't even know what we're going to do with the ones in the bathroom.

So, the decision was made to use the kittens to catch Little Bit. We'd try that night. But I saw these really nice huge fluffy white thunder clouds in the distance, over the mountains and desert and we thought it would be nice to actually get into some rain. We started a little after four and didn't get home until 8:30. We only got two drops of rain, but I took a bunch of pictures which I'll put up in the photo album later today. And since it was so late, I really didn't want to try trapping Little Bit Saturday night. I did go in and spend some time with the kittens and that little hisser just cracked me up. I laid down on the floor and he walked down my body, hissing at each new body part. It was so darned funny. And these kittens seem so much more mentally advanced that the last litter. The other kittens were about a week younger when I got them, so that might be a big part of the difference.

That little hisser also figured out that the door meant "out". And he would sit at the door and cry. Sometimes one of the other kittens would be there with him. Usually they quit after ten minutes. I wonder if Little Bit could hear them from the bathroom window. I really feel evil when I do this. And using the kittens as bait will tear me up even more. I just know it.

I got up early Sunday morning and checked on the kittens. They were all there, still alive and kicking (I hear so many stories about kittens dying after coming in). About an hour later, around 6:30, Brian said from the bedroom that Little Bit was looking for her kittens. She was calling for them. I said let's do it. He got out of bed, got dressed and got the trap ready. I put the door back on the carrier and took the kittens out to the trap. Brian set the trap and draped the towels over the top. Now, we wait.

Two and half hours later, she still hadn't gone in. The kittens kept crying. She circled the trap and the carrier, going up to the sides of the carrier and trying to look in past the towel. She called to her kittens and they called back. It was awful. I felt like the lowest of the low. Keeping mom and her kids apart. Because she was so stressed, she ate almost all of the food that was out there. She would just sit at the opening of the trap, looking in. The day was warming up and I couldn't leave the kittens out there in a carrier in the heat. The sun was up enough that it was streaming into the entry way. We'd try again later in the day. Right now, I'm bringing the kittens in.

As the day progressed, I moved the trap from one spot to another, since I'd put Sheba food in the back. Which, when I thought about it was a pretty stupid thing to do. No way would she be hungry after having eaten all of that other food. But I didn't want the sun beating down on the trap, making the food go bad. At one point, I saw the plate with the food was covered with ants, so I came inside and got an old satellite tv guide and put Sevin dust on it and put the plate on top of that. And back into the trap. I hoped it would be okay. I had called my rescue friend earlier and she advised pulling up all food except what was in the trap. This I did.

I checked on the kittens every so often and the two little boys had swollen faces. This frightened me. The little girl was fine and I ran through my head of what it might be. I finally decided that they must have done this when they tried to push through the carrier door when they saw their mother (oh, my heart is just breaking). They didn't get any worse, as a matter of fact, they slowly started getting better. This trapping thing is just so hard on me. But I was even more reluctant to use them as bait.

Things settling down, I went out into the backyard where I caught Rachel eating mushrooms. Gah! Are they safe? I didn't know. I pulled the one she was chewing on out of her mouth then went through the yard and pulled up all that I could find. I came inside and looked through the dictionary and the encyclopedia, trying to find information on how to tell safe shrooms from killer shrooms. I couldn't check online because my provider had been down since before five pm Saturday night. I was stressing out, to say the least. The kittens, Little Bit, mushrooms, what next?

Anyway, the mushrooms didn't hurt her (I'm still going to pull them up) and she was fine.

I did some laundry and while I was in the bedroom folding, I listened to Brian talking to Little Bit. He was outside washing and waxing the Escape. It had gotten pretty dirty during our drive the previous evening. He was speaking to her as if she were a human who could understand him. He told her about the reasons she needed to go into the trap. Calmly and matter of factly. He told her that it would be the only way she'd ever see her kittens again. Go into the trap, we'd get her fixed and she would live with us and her kittens. She wouldn't have to worry about traffic and coyotes and dogs and mean people and having more litters of kittens which would do a number on her health. And he talked.

And I thought what a wonderful thing to do. Then it hit me. Stay with her kittens? Stay here, in our home, with her kittens? I know we talked about how hard it would be to find homes for them. Recall, her litter earlier this year? We kept Ross because he's black. We kept Rachel to keep Ross company. Well, it's really close to Halloween and we certainly didn't want to adopt black kittens out at this time of the year. So, we're going to keep them? This was the first I'd heard of this. Like I said, we didn't discuss it much. I'd never mentioned names or anything, trying to stay detached. Now, I didn't have to. I told him later about "Joey" being such a little hisser and doing most of the crying. "Joey?" he asked. Yeah, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe. He just laughed.

He went in to take a shower and I walked by the front door and noticed the sun was hitting the trap. I looked at and found where I'd move it next. I walked outside and reached down to grab the handles through the towels when I noticed the trap door was down. I looked in. A pair of yellow eyes looked back. Yellow eyes in a black face, with a sleek black body with a little white blaze on the chest. LITTLE BIT! LITTLE BIT WAS IN THE TRAP! Woohoo!

I ran inside and ran to the bedroom, into the bathroom where Brian was still under the spray of the shower. "We got her!" I yelled. "We got her!" No more fretting over putting the kittens back out as bait! No more kittens! Yay! I came back to the office and found the phone number of the clinic we took Marco to. They're open seven days a week, open until five on Sundays. It was close to 2:30. I called. I explained the situation, they said "bring her in". I got a dose of Advantage ready, Brian had finished his shower and was ready to go. He put towels down in the back of the Escape and he grabbed the trap, still covered. We were at the vet's in under fifteen minutes. We checked her in and she's due to be spayed today. I'll be calling and checking on her after seven tonight. She comes home (HOME!) tomorrow.

Now, the logistics of keeping a feral mom and her kittens, with the health and safety of all in mind. I really don't want to let her loose in a room. She'd go nuts. At least that's been our experience in the past. She'd be climbing the walls and that's not a good thing for a cat fresh out of surgery. It would be great if Marco wasn't in the big crate. I asked Brian if he could build something, but we decided to get another crate like the one Marco is in, Brian will do a little modification to it. Like putting in a shelf at the top so she can get away from the kittens. And something for me to attach a bungee cord or something similar so that I can put a cloth down to give privacy in the back portion of the crate. It's going to be scary at first to clean litter and put out food for her. And let the kittens out. They're going nuts just staying in the bathroom, I can't imagine it would be any easier in a crate. After they get the run of the house, I think we could move the crate to the living room, where Little Bit can become acquainted with the rest of the household, in safety. To begin with, we'll keep her in the exercise (ha!) room. We think it's a good plan.

Now, Joey has gotten worse at the bathroom door. I just checked a calendar and these kittens are about ten days older than Rachel and Ross were when we got that litter. This new bunch is ready to run. *lol* This morning, Brian put the plastic lattice back up so the kittens can have the run of this end of the house. They don't stay out here, I put them up for sleeping and to eat. But they seem to like it.

One of the other things we talked about was KittyMeezer. He'll be by himself now. Well, Brian thinks we should try to get him in. And then, work on trapping SpotTee, get him fixed and bring him in. That way, it will pretty much clear the neighborhood of stray/feral cats. Of course, there's the tortie we caught last year, Carla I call her. But we haven't seen her in a couple of weeks. She was living in the Heartless Bastard's yard, no telling where she is now. I hope she's okay, but life on the street is hard for a cat. I do know that we're not the only home that puts out food and she could very well be eating down there.

I've been thinking about how nice it would be to no longer have any homeless cats around. And I think it would be very nice. Very, very nice. We would pull up all of the food (which attracts ants and other critters), we wouldn't have to worry about the cats being safe, we could water whenever we wanted (with Little Bit keeping kittens on the bank, we had to cut back). I wouldn't obsess over a cat getting hit when we pulled into our driveway and Halloween would once again be stress free.

Yep, it sure would be nice.

Brian's picking up the new supplies today and my mom came over and gave us a hundred dollars to help out. I know it will.

Well, that's it for now. Life in the slow lane.

Replies: 4 comments

Oh,I'm so happy for you! I really think Brians talk to L.Bit did the trick. My cats are finally settled in after the move to San Antonio, with the big house they are enjoying life inside more. I miss San Diego though. Life w/o ferals, dare we dream!

Posted by Melanee @ 09/13/2004 01:56 PM PDT

Congratulations on finally getting Little Bit!

Posted by Sigurrós @ 09/13/2004 04:23 PM PDT

So thrilled to read your report, excellent job and they are safe now. I know what it's like and had to laugh at each dilemma you faced, know them well! I hope the babies and LB stay healthy and happy and your Man is wonderful too! Thanks! :)

Posted by Catsid @ 09/14/2004 06:01 AM PDT

Hi! I am so excited that LB is finally coming in, bless her kitty heart. I hope you know there is a special place in heaven for you and your hubby for all the wonderful work you do with the kitties! Big Hugs!

Posted by DonnaB @ 09/14/2004 06:11 AM PDT

lisaviolet is fifty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

September 2004

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