Bob and Kathy's Millennial Adventures with Feral Cats Pt II

March 22, 2000,

Hi Everybody,

The last exciting installment of our lives left off with Kathy and Bob setting up an animal shelter in our basement. We also had set up a spay/neuter type clinic with a local vet. As part of that service we had agreed to take several rescue cats belonging to other volunteers from the Save A Life animal shelter to our vet. We had also just taken in several cats from the City of Baltimore.

Additional side note: Several people have asked why I have been driving Bob's car (the MR - 2) and what happened to my car (the Camero). Although Bob and I both thought we were die hard sports car drivers, old age and practicality have caught up with us. We sold the Camero and bought a Suburban. Have we matured or what?

We traded a camero for a suburban, are we finally maturing or what?

Now on with the story:

On Monday March 6, Bob bundled up the "visiting" cats that were headed for the vet. He got them all checked in ok, and on his way out the door the receptionist mentioned that there was a feral cat loose in the basement of the building. Could he help? Bob heads down to the basement with one of the vet techs. They find the cat hiding in a room, and close the door to the room. Bob scruffs the cat while the vet tech hides. They go to leave the room. Oops, no door knob on that side of the door. Bob hoped that eventually the vet staff would miss the vet tech.

That same day we got a call from the people doing the trapping in Baltimore City, they had two more kittens, both girls, could we take them? Well, we were out of cages, but if we keep the crate Mr Macho is in, and use Bruno's crate we could fit them in. Ok, so Buffy and Faith were on their way. We go to meet the lady who going to relay the kittens to us. Well it turns out one is a girl and one is a boy. Ok so we have a Buffy and an Angel.

We get the kittens home. We decide to put the girl kitten in the cage with Willow. Bob pulls the first kitten out, I check, nope this is a boy, he goes into the crate in the other room. Ok, we get the second kitten out, thinking this might be a girl, I "lift the tail". Ummm, this ones a boy too. Ok, maybe I screwed up on the other kitten. We go back and check. Kitten A is still a boy. Now Bob and I are no experts at some of this stuff, but we're pretty sure about this one. So instead of a Buffy and Faith that we started with, we now had Angel and Xander. Willow wasn't thrilled with either one of them.

Angel and Xander

The next day, the remaining "guests" were fixed without incident. Bob and I thought we were home free. The following day (Wednesday) started with out incident. I did my morning rounds, everyone was accounted for in their respective rooms, no problems. At lunch time Bob brought a couple of people over to play with the cats, no problem. He also took them to see the guest cats. That's when he noticed there should have been seven cats loose in the room with Mr Macho in a crate. Instead he had five cats loose in the room with Mr Macho in the crate. Ok, modern math or not, we were short two cats. Then he noticed, the window in the room was open, down from the top, about a foot. Bob calls me at work: "Did two of the cats get out into the house today?" This wasn't a good sign.

Essentially, the cats had managed to open an unlatched window and jump out. (In a house were Bob and I have trouble getting most of the windows open, these cats manage to find the one window that operates smoothly) We spent the next seven hours going through our yards, neighbors' yards and barns and woods looking for these two cats. Did you know it is possible to get poison ivy in the winter? You also tend to get a lot of strange looks from people when you emerge from their barn with a can of cat food and a kitty carrier in your hand.

After it got dark outside, we put food on the front step, set our feral trap out back and hoped for the best. Around 7:30 that nite, we thought we got lucky one of the cats was eating on the front step. Yippeee!!! He was ok, and he was back. All we had to do was walk out the front door and scoop him up. Unfortunately, it didn't work that way, as soon as we touched the front door, the cat (Denton) took off. Then we thought we would get lucky out back Blackie, the other escapee was almost into the trap, then Ghost rushed up to the window and scared him off. It figures, the only time Ghost manages to scare off another cat is when we want her to be friendly.

By now the moment of truth arrived: the cat's owners (names changed to protect the innocent) showed up, expecting to pick up 7 cats. We had to tell them that they could only pick up 5 cats, but we knew the other two were in the vicinity. And yes, we were stupid enough to assume that cats couldn't open a window. While we were explaining all this, Denton happened to trot by. He wasn't keen on coming to the other people either, but we did eventually catch him. Then we saw Blackie. He was taking off for our next door neighbors stable. We hope the neighbors don't mind too much that Bob kind of broke their fence as he was climbing over it. We also hoped that they didn't mind all the flash lights shining in their yard, (it was close to midnight by now) After all, its perfectly normal to run around your neighbor's yard yelling "Here Kitty Kitty".

We eventually concluded that there was no way we were going to catch this cat. However he had a weakness for food. So we set the trap again, went to bed and hoping he would be in the trap in the morning. (Ok, later in the morning). The next morning I cautiously went out to check on the trap, there was a cat in it! Yes!!!! Except it was someone else's cat. %$#&&! We'll have to try again in the evening.

That evening I was attracted to the front of the house by the indignant stares of several Rude Ranch cats. (Or it could have been the howling coming from the front step). At first I couldn't tell whether Blackie was mad because he was in the trap or because half his dinner was left on the front step when I picked the trap up. Regardless, as soon as Bob and I opened the trap the cat that hissed and ran from us outside walked out of the trap, rubbed up against us and rolled over for a tummy rub.

Now back to the above mentioned mouse problem. As I mentioned earlier, I found mouse calling cards (ok turds) under the sink. We never found the mouse. Having at least 12 cats in the house, we figured he had been disposed of. The day after we recaptured Blackie, I came home from work and noticed a toy mousie in the living room. Thinking it was strange for the cats to leave their toy mice out in the open (Don't forget, Boomer also has a weak spot for these mice) I went closer to investigate. Then I found out it wasn't a toy mouse. The next day I found a mouse head in the living room. I couldn't find the rest of the mouse.

This kind of worried me......