Bob and Kathy's Millennial Adventures with Feral Cats Pt
April 10, 2000
Hello again everyone,
When we last visited the Rude Ranch, Bob and I had just recovered our two "renegade" visiting
cats and returned them to their owners. We had also started finding the remains of our own cats'
hunting expeditions mainly mouse parts in the house.
Now, here is the rest of the story.
There was a cat show at the Fifth Regiment Armory at the end of March. If you ever want to
have an adventure, try to get 40 - 45 cats cleaned up and loaded into 25 carriers at 6:30 on a
Saturday morning, without the benefit of any forms of sugar or caffeine. We make the Keystone
cops look like professionals. Overall, the show was very successful, AC, Willow and 13 other
cats found homes.
By all counts we now had 17 cats in the house, which only meant one thing, another kitten was
headed our way. This little kitten was 12 weeks old, and was rescued from Hanover Street in
Baltimore City. Her fur was long and snowy white, meaning one thing. She needed a bath
badly. Approximately 45 seconds after her final rinse, she dove in and rolled around in the litter
box. (Yes, it was clumping litter) This earned her four more baths. At least she smelled really
good. This little ball of fluff was promptly dubbed "Buffy".
Once again, we had to do some shuffling. Angel and Xander ended up sharing a cage, while
Cordelia continued to glare at us from her cage. Buffy ended up in what was originally Mr
Macho's crate. Mr Macho went into Bruno's old dog crate, after much debate, several blankets
and a fair number lacerations. We originally were going to remove the blankets that Mr Macho
had in the crate with him, but later thought better of it. At one point Boomer also tried to sneak
into Mr Macho's crate to steal his food. It took Boomer all of 8 seconds to decide he didn't need
Mr Macho's food that much. Last but not least there was Giles. Originally, we were going to
leave him in the general cat room, except he had ringworm. Fortunately, none of the other cats
in the room caught it from him. I wasn't so lucky. At least the doctor's staff got a good laugh
when I told them I caught ring worm from a cat.
Now back to the mouse problem. Remember the mouse head I found in the living room? About
a week later I found the rest of the mouse. It was in the den with Sweetness, Taz and Penty. At
least I didn't step on it with bare feet. We figured at this point the mouse problem was sure to
be solved. We were proved wrong: Bob and I were in the basement, trying to convince Angel
and Xander they wanted to come upstairs. (Angel did, Xander didn't) When I came up, I noticed
Bones, Cali and Ghost were working together at something in the living room. The fact that they
were working together was unusual, after all Cali is a very spoiled "me first, me only" type brat.
I decided to let this pass and went to the kitchen. When I came back I noticed that Mama and
Goldie had joined the operation. The last time we had 5 cats working together in this house was
when everything got knocked off of top of the refrigerator and the cats where trying to find a way
to make it look like the dog did it. Suddenly, Bones took off with something in his mouth. It
was wiggling and alive and mousal looking. He turned around, and dropped it for another cat to
catch. At this point I made an executive decision: Bob should catch the mouse. Despite several
kitty protests, he caught it. The mouse ended up in an old fish aquarium on top of the clothes
dryer, with several pairs of kitty eyes watching him.
Cali, Bones, Ghost and Billie Jo spent the next several days watching their new "pet". They
always made sure he/she was fed, and safely nestled into the shredded paper in the cage.
Although the cats frequently wanted us to let them play with the mouse, we resisted this idea.
Soon it was cage cleaning day. Bob dutifully put Mr. Mouse in another box while cleaning the
cage. At some point during the "return transfer" the mouse ended up loose on top of the washing
machine. Apparently, the mouse didn't think this was a good idea and took off for parts
unknown in the house. He turned up (literally, with all four paws in the air) the next day in the
den. At this point I was beginning to think that every lost object in the known world will turn up
in our den.
Now back to the cats' housing arrangements. We got another call: Buffy's sister had been
trapped and was on her way to the vet. Could we take her? Ok, so now Buffy has to move out of
her crate and into the den. Angel moves into a cage in the den. (Buffy decided she didn't want
to stay in a cage, mainly by shooting out of her cage and hiding under the bookcase.) Xander,
who had seen 4 other kittens come into the room, and vanish without a trace decides he wants
nothing to do with us. Ok, so we carry him, cage and all upstairs. He's still not pleased. Buffy's
sister, Faith moved right in.
Now came the bigger challenge: we had to move Mr Macho into a cage in the den. Before going
further I should explain a little more about Mr Macho. He was rescued from a farm area in
Delaware. He was a two year old feral tom cat who was not happy about being removed from
"his" domain. He also was not happy about his trip to the vet. He was even less happy about
being in the dog crate. Essentially we are talking about 13 pounds of ticked off teeth and claws,
with no regard whatsoever for human or canine flesh. And he had to be moved. At first it
seemed pretty easy, just move the crate. Until we figured out the crate wouldn't fit through the
door, meaning one thing: we had to get him out of the crate. At first we thought we might be
able to reach in from the front cover him with a towel, and grab him. We decided against this
idea approximately .001 seconds after opening the door of the crate. Sensing our dilemma, Mr
Macho took on a "just try to get me attitude". That's when most of the other cats and Boomer
bailed on us. That left us one course of action: take the crate apart, and in one smooth
coordinated motion lift the top off of the crate, cover Mr Macho with a towel, put him into a
carrier and shut the door. (Have I mentioned that Bob and I are optimists?) We take the crate
apart. I pick the top of the crate up so Bob can put the blanket over Macho. Except in a daring
move, Mr Macho darts out of the crate and under the wood stove. This wasn't exactly part of the
plan. Bob and I quickly regroup: My job is to keep Mr Macho from running while Bob sneaks
up behind him with a blanket. After several discussions on what constitutes not letting a cat run
around, we finally cornered him and managed to throw a blanket over him. This confused him
long enough to be able to get him into his new home in the den, where Buffy promptly gave him
a welcoming swat on the butt.
Later that nite we made another amazing (ok mediocre) discovery: we still weren't mouse free. I
was playing "kill the feather" (aka KTF) with Cali, Mama, Maggie, Ghost and Bones on the third
floor when I noticed Billie Jo hanging around. Now Billie Jo is more of a ping pong ball player
and takes a dim view of another cat crashing into her while playing KTF. Therefore she usually
clears out when the "herd" comes running. However this time she was poking around a cedar
chest that is in the hallway, overlooking the foyer. She really wanted to get under it. By now the
other cats want to know what she's doing. Finally in a desparado type move, she tried to dive
under the chest. A big mouse shot out from under the chest, almost ran into a startled Bones, ran
over the ledge and landed on the floor of the foyer below and stayed there. I've got seven cats
(Goldie had now come on the scene) standing there licking their chops. I decide Bob should deal
with this even though he was already in bed. Unfortunately by the time Bob got downstairs the
mouse was no where to be found. Fortunately it hasn't made an appearance since.
Back to the foster cats. By now Buffy was ready to be adopted. We figured she would easily get
a home: she's really friendly, playful, unusual color, she gets along really well with other cats.
So that meant only one thing. We decided to adopt her ourselves. She is now a permanent
resident of the Rude Ranch.
Buffy: cat #10 and ready to rule the world
A few days later, we got another call: another sibling to Buffy and Faith had been caught. The
fourth kitten, a torti had also been spotted. Could we take the one that was captured and keep a
spot open for the fourth kitten once it was caught? Charity moved in the next day. The fourth
kitten will be called Hope.
Two days later we got another call, this time from another volunteer at the shelter. She had four
kittens coming to her, but she couldn't take them. Could Bob and I? Its amazing what you will
agree to in the middle of the night when you are half asleep. Spike, Sweetie, LB, and Fluff
moved into our quarantine room.
Spike and Fluff and LB
Two days later, we got another call. Someone had dropped off two 4 week old kittens in a box in
front of a Petsmart store. Could we take them? Duchess and Muffy are now residing in our
living room. All I can say now is that when someone asks me how many cats are at my house I
have to start counting on my fingers.
Muffy and Dutchess
There was a cat show April 22 and 23. We had 6 kittens and 1 cat to go to the show. The show
was 5 minutes from the shelter. This is as close as we can get to having all planets in alignment.
Except that particular weekend happened to be Easter. It also turned out the show was
overbooked and short on space. We could fit everyfur, but it would be a tight squeeze. In the
end, Spike, Sweetie, LB and Fluff were all adopted. There was also several inquiries about Faith
and Charity. (However, the people didn't meet our requirements). We also got to know a lot of
other people far better than we wanted to, mainly by crashing into them while we were trying to
carry our cats around.
Coming in the next exciting installment: Angel and Xander get "tutored".