Knee deep in kitttens or how I spent my weekend

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Once upon a time, many years ago R & I did a really, really stupid thing. We fed a stray cat. Our neighbors had a billion cats that they didn't take care of. We called the humane society but they refused to get involved and since we live outside city limits we have no animal control. This one cat kept coming to our house and she was sooooo cute. And sooooo skinny. So we fed her and she stuck around. And had kittens at our house. She died when the kittens were young and we were unable to get our hands on them. So 2 feral kittens became more feral kittens when they mated with the other neighborhood strays.

We've been catching the cats as we can and getting them fixed. However, one of them has been too slippery for us to catch and so we weren't really shocked when we looked outside a few weeks ago to see Fuffy with 4 teeny, tiny kittens. Fast forward to 3 weekends ago when we look outside to see all 4 kittens and Fuffy under our Honda Pilot. We assumed she was in the process of moving them and was just pausing briefly under our SUV. Not so much. Fuffy, not the world's brightest cat, decided that the best place to keep her kittens was under our SUV. So the following Monday R goes to get in the Pilot assuming the kittens would scamper off when she approached. Not so much. Instead they scampered up into the engine of the SUV. We opened the hood and was able to pull 2 of them out. However, the other 2 alluded us and therefore the Pilot was unable to be driven. The next day they again alluded us. By Wednesday we had gotten better and we were able to pull all 4 out, put them in a box and then put them in the yard, far away from the car. Thursday morning they were in the engine again. Again we pulled them out and placed them as far from the car as we could. That night we parked both cars behind the house in hopes Fuffy would find some other place for her kittens. We knew we were taking a risk that she would move them somewhere we wouldn't be able to get our hands on them but we also knew we couldn't keep removing the kittens from the engine each and every morning.

Luckily moving the car worked and Fuffy moved the kittens under our house. Yippee. Kittens under the house. Better than under the car I guess. We knew we had to give them a few weeks to start weening before we could take them from Fuffy. Our ultimate goal was to get Fuffy and all 4 kittens. We would take them inside and get them used to being touched. We already knew a few people who wanted kittens so we needed them to be as tame as possible. If we couldn't make Fuffy less feral acting then we would get her fixed and put her back outside once the kittens were adopted out. We decided last week was the week we were bringing them all in.

We pissed off our own cats by changing up the guest bedroom (a.k.a their bedroom) so we could prepare for the "guests." I bought some kitten food, extra bowls and disposable litter boxes. We were ready. Late last Saturday afternoon I went outside with a bowl of kitten food and a paper plate of tuna. I thought it would be sooo easy. I must have been delusional. I sat under the damn porch forever. R came out at one point and laughed at my attempts to draw them out. I threw tuna towards the entrance they used to get under the house. More of it hit the side of the house than anywhere near the entrance. R abandoned me when I started pelting the side of the house with kitten food in my attempt to get it into the entrance.

I didn't give up. Probably about 15 minutes later "Grant" came out see what the commotion and smell was. He stayed just out of reach so I kept flinging cat food at his feet until I lured him close enough to grab. I grabbed "Grant" and crawled out from under the porch. Keep in mind it is summer in Arkansas. I'm poring sweat and I'm covered in dirt and leaves and I have a billion mosquito bites. But, I caught me a kitten! I took him inside and handed him to R. I went back outside and started act 2 of kitten nabbing. I caught "Bartholomew" the same way I caught "Grant." Toss some kitten food until I was tossing it so close to me he had to come within my reach. I took "Bartholomew" in to R and grabbed the rest of the can of tuna and the entire bag of kitten food. I sat under the porch FOREVER waiting on the last 2. I got the last two within reach by flinging tuna in their direction. Unfortunately they both came at once and I knew I would only get one shot. I grabbed the bigger who that was closest as I also reached for the runt. The runt got away. I took "Lucien" in to R and we got them all set up. We've been taking them out of the kennel to play and hold them so they get used to and like people. We blocked off all the places they could hide where we couldn't easily reach them and let them run free in the room for a few hours last night. Nothing relives stress more than watching kittens body slam each other. Totally awesome.

We think we have takers for all 3 kittens. I hope we do!!! I'd still like to get the runt but I think I blew my chances Saturday. We'll just have to trap Fuffy and get her spayed and release her. And of course hope that we can catch the runt later or pray that he's a boy.

One good thing about this whole incident is I can now add this to my list of why our neighbors think we are bat shit crazy. First we start with climbing under the SUV first thing in the morning before work for three days in a row. Followed immediately by plucking kittens out of the engine, taking them to the edge of the house and sprinting back for the car. That was only topped by me sitting under our FRONT porch for close to 2 hours this Saturday flinging tuna & kitten food at the house.

Some of our neighbors already steer clear because we're "the lesbians." Hopefully now they'll stay clear because we're "the crazy."

And just so you understand the level of cuteness...I now present pictures taken with a REAL camera!!