Bob and Kathy's Millennial Adventures with Feral Cats

March 1, 2000,

Hello again, everyone! Just when you thought you had heard the last of the now infamous adventures of the Rude Ranch, here we are again. By now you've probably noticed that working with animals has become more than a hobby for us. So during the great 1 - 2 inches of snow (that turned into a blizzard) that fell in January, Rude Ranch Rescue, a subsidiary of Save A Life Animal Rescue, Inc was born. I know most people clean their houses or surf the internet while they are snowed in, we started an "official like" animal shelter. We wanted to make sure we accomplished something during the "blizzard".

It turns out when you decide to turn your basement into an animal shelter you have to do some rearranging. The exercise room is now the quarantine room. The temple room (remember, we bought the house from Hari Krishnas) was now the general population room. The remaining basement room was now our reception area. This rearranging also meant something else: everything that Bob and I had put in the basement when we moved in had to be moved back out of the basement and up to the third level of the house. At this point I think Bob and I have gotten more exercise schlepping the treadmill around the house then we have from actually using it.

Now on to the animals: As you know we currently have nine cats (Tia, Billie Jo, Ashley, Ghost, Maggie, Mama, Cali, Goldie and Bones) and two dogs (Boomer and Bruno) as official Rude Ranch pets. We also currently have several cats we are fostering: AC, Sweetness, Penty, Taz, Mulder, and our latest addition, Midnight.

Midnight came to us by way of the Save A Life animal shelter. He had been dropped off to be fixed and never picked up. He was also half feral. I'm saying half feral because he would only hiss at people, not spit at them. It turns out he was just really scared and if you picked him up, he would curl up in your shirt. It wasn't too long before he was romping around playing with Sweetness, Taz, Penty and Mulder in the den. Feeling that he was getting pretty tame, Bob and I took him to a cat show at the end of January. He did pretty well, the one person he decided to hiss at was a man who had just dropped $50.00 in the donation jar. Talk about gratitude. He was adopted by a couple who lives in Rockville.

By now things were getting quiet again, which could only mean one thing, the house was invaded by mice. Yes that's right, a house with 12 + cats and we had mice running around the house. We just hoped that the cats were catching them and quietly disposing of them.

By the end of February several things had happened at the ranch. We forged an agreement with a local vet for low cost spay/neuter vet care, the shelter vet went on a 5 week vacation and we were contacted about helping out with cats that were being trapped by the City of Baltimore. Yes these are all related to the story.

With the shelter vet on vacation, people fostering shelter cats had no where to take their animals to be fixed before being adopted. That's where the agreement Bob and I had came into play. One of the foster homes had six male cats that were starting to spray. They needed to be fixed, now. So I set up the appointment for a Monday. The cats were dropped off Sunday nite, placed in our ex-exercise room, loaded up Monday morning and off to the vet. The whole operation went pretty well. So well, that we set up another appointment, this time for three more males and five female cats the following week. That's when we started getting busy.

Two days after our "patients" were picked up, we were asked if we could take three cats that were rescued on behalf of Baltimore City. They were half feral, so they would need to be caged and quarantined. We had a quarantine room, we just didn't have any cages for it, meaning one thing, we had to take the cages from the den/feral room upstairs and reassemble them downstairs. Notice that we have to carry a lot of stuff up and down the stairs?

We eventually took custody of a torti kitten, (Willow), a black and white long hair (Cordelia) and a huge russian blue look alike (Giles). They were all scared and unhappy. Cordelia was especially unhappy. She really made her point when she bit me.

Willow, Cordelia, and Giles

We now had to rearrange again. We had eight more furry guests coming for a three day visit. Seven of these cats would be going to the vet, on the following Monday or Tuesday, then going home on Wednesday. The last guest, a big tom cat who was less than thrilled with our plans for him would be staying with us. Dubbed Mr Macho for both his size and his opinions, he would be staying in his own crate, and hissing his comments at us.

Mr. Macho

We ended up putting these guests in the quarantine room, and moving Giles, Willow and Cordelia into the cat room.

Coming in the next exciting installment: More fun with the vet, and "The Breakout"