Bob and Kathy's Adventures with Feral Cats
The Next Generation Part II>
October 23, 1998
When we last the Rude Ranch, the situation was: several of our cats (Maggie, Mama and Ashley)
had just gotten over a variety of infections. Surprisingly, Bob and I still had most of our skin left
after medicating multiple cats. We had just taken in four more feral kittens. One of these
kittens, code named Cali was a very sick kitten. We had spent the previous three days shuttling
her between vets for 24 hour intensive care.
At this point we also want to mention the outcome of our recent real estate transactions. In
September we had put a contract and a deposit on a parcel of land. We were told our contract
had been accepted. Everything was set, right? Turns out the realtor tried to sell the same lot two
more times. So much for the honesty of O'Connor Piper and Flynn Realtors.
On with the Update:
The following Saturday we picked Cali up from the emergency vet at 6am, (with capped off IV's
etc). She wasn't comatose!!!! A definite improvement! However, she was still very sick and
still needed round the clock care. So it was back to the regular vet which opened at 8. Because
we still had a contagious and somewhat unhappy kitten we couldn't really go home, so we
decided to go look at a couple of land parcels that were for sale.
We were driving down a winding road in rural Anne Arundle County when we saw a small
animal in the middle of the road. It kept running in the middle of the road, so obviously this
wasn't a smart animal. At first we couldn't tell if it was a cat or a dog. All we could tell was that
it was small and not too bright. Owing to our soft spot(s) for animals (ok the word sucker comes
to mind) we pulled over. Turns out it was a small dog, who promptly ran over to us and sat
down in front of the car. Ok, maybe the dog was trying to commit suicide.
After picking him up and looking him over, (looked like a miniature doberman, which we later
found out was wrong) he didn't look like he had been hurt, no evidence that he had been
wearing a collar recently, and he only weighed about 8 pounds. (Cali, as sick as she was came in
at 4 pounds, so this definitely qualified as a small dog). Even though he had no tags or
identification, he had been neutered, so at one point he had been someone's pet. However, he
was now running in the middle of the road, several miles away from any houses, and we didn't
think he would last too long in the middle of the road. Not knowing what else to do, and still
having some time to kill before dropping Cali off, we threw the dog in the car (the dog seemed
agreeable, although Cali wasn't so sure) and went looking for "lost dog" signs. We didn't find
any, leaving us to believe that he was dumped by his former owners. We now had two problems:
a very sick cat and a homeless dog.
The problem with Cali was easier to fix. We dropped her off at the vet with what was becoming
the usual instructions. (Keep pumping fluids and antibiotics into her) The problem with the dog
was more difficult. We decided to take him home and figure out what to do.
Model Simulation of Cali
Now we know it might not have been the brightest idea to bring a dog with an unknown history
into a house with 10 cats. But we figured even if the dog did go after the cats, the cats all have
those razor sharp instruments of death --- claws, and the cats could easily jump up on the
furniture to get away. Besides, with the exception of Cali, all of our cats were bigger than
Lets just say the initial meeting between the furries was interesting. As soon as we got home, we
put the dog down in the living room. Ghost, who had been sleeping on the back of the couch
was the first on the scene. She cautiously peered out at the dog and looked up as if to say "Not
only did you bring another cat home, but this one's a MUTANT!!!". Billie Jo was the next on
the scene. She approached him from the side, till he turned around and started to sniff her, she
let out her standard "Touch me and I'll shred you" hiss and jumped straight up onto the TV. This
kind of impressed the dog. Soon Maggie and Ashley were closing in from both sides. The dog
decided to try to sniff Ashley's butt, which apparently in dog is considered a polite introduction
This form of introduction translated into cat behavior is not considered a polite introduction.
Ashley explained this to the dog with extreme clarity. Soon the dog realized that everywhere he
looked, there was a cat looking back at him. He was starting to get a little nervous --- ok, he was
starting to get a lot nervous.
It was at this point that Tia, high ruler of the Rude Ranch decided to make her entrance. Now
anyone who has ever met Tia, or who knows anything about our past experiences, knows that her
royal highness Tia Maria runs the house. Bob and I are only there to pay the bills, clean out the
litter box and work the can opener. It was at this point that Tia decided to render her opinion of
the newcomer. As always her ruling was swift and unquestionable. She went up to him, looked
him over, let out a huge "Don't mess with me" hiss and gave him a good swat. That was enough
for the little dog. He turned tail, ran and hid behind Bob on the couch. Unfortunately, Billie Jo
was also on the couch......