Bob and Kathy's Adventures with Ferals, Part III
July 27, 1998
When we last visited, the situation at the Rude Ranch was as follows:
The original Rude kitties, Tia Maria, Billie Jo, Ashley Ann and Ghost were starting to have fun whacking their new toy, Maggie Mae off the walls. (Maggie was still registering about a 4 on the Hiss-O-Meter (tm). Most of the hisses were from Ashley.
Maggie Mae was oblivious to the abuse she was taking from the other cats, She was enjoying all the kitty toys (also known as the bigger cats' tails) and the 24 hour buffet.
Two of Momma kitty's kittens, (Grey and Goldie) had just moved into the second bedroom.
Momma kitty was secretly launching a plan to end the human race. (Or at least Kathy and Bob).
Bob and Kathy were still working at the Censless Bureau and Uncle Nicky's Restaurant in Crofton. They were also hoping to come up with a few living brain cells between the two of them.
Here's what has transpired since:
On the trapping front:
The daughter of the brother in law that owns the property the cats is on, his son in law, and their two kids are moving into an empty house and the garage we've been using as a recovery area for the cats. That's ok, we found another building on the property to use for recovery. Its a smaller building, and unlike the garage we had been using, its almost empty, only a few empty shelves in it. Sounds good doesn't it? So we move our feeding/water dishes and litter box into the building, and set the trap for the cat that's hanging behind the restaurant. (Bob personally donated to the trapping effort by dropping two whole chickens on the floor at the restaurant -- at least we had plenty of bait) The next morning, we had the cat from behind the restaurant, although she looked alot like one we had fixed last year, it wasn't like this cat was going to let us "lift the tail" and look. So off to the vet, and yep it was a cat from last year. Problem: he had to knock her out to get close enough to look. So she still needed to go to the recovery building. No problem. We put her in, with food water and locked the door. We would let her out tomorrow and all would be well. Did I mention that the whole time we were doing all this, the one cat we still need to catch (Maggie's mom) was sitting out in the open watching us?
Anyway, we go back the next day to let the cat out, and the food is gone, the litter box has been used, but there is no sign of the cat. We checked the building, no holes, broken windows or anything for the cat to escape from, yet we couldn't find the cat. Now granted sometimes Bob and I can't remember if we fed the fish, or turned off all the lights downstairs, but we were pretty sure we remembered putting a cat in the building. But now, said cat was no where to be found. We assumed someone else with a key to the building let the cat go. The next day, no one would admit to letting the cat go. We checked the building again, still no cat. We filled the food and water dishes again just in case. Went back two days later, and the food dishes were empty! (Ok it really was time for a sanity check). While I went to get more food, Bob started really searching the building. After banging on the empty shelves several times, Bob saw a "gray streak" heading out from under the shelves and towards the regular feeding station. The only reason we can think of for not being able to find the cat earlier was that this cat was experimenting with some kind of alien/feline particle beam/matter/antimatter tranportation device. Yep, you guessed it, Maggie's mom was non chalantly watching the whole thing.
We also made another discovery: There is also a fox living behind the restaurant. Did you know foxes can bark? Bob and I found out purely by chance. We didn't bother to find out why the fox was barking. Apparently the fox and the cats have worked out some kind of nonpartisan agreement. We'll leave it at that.
Mean time back at the Rude Ranch:
Maggie is still quite the groomer. She will come up to either Bob or myself and start grooming our feet or our hands. Only now she is teething, meaning its usually groom, groom, chomp. It's only really painful at 2 am.
Maggie has also discovered that the wonderful world of table scraps. Well actually dinner plates. (hence the name Maggie the mooch) When we had this problem with Ghost, the powder room was available. However, the powder room is no longer available, so a typical dinner would go something like this. Bob sits down with a plate of food, Maggie mounts a frontal approach, "no Maggie" and puts her back on the floor. Un-thrwarted, she sneaks up from the side, using the "nuzzle under the arm" approach, this lands her back on the floor. By now I have arrived with a plate of food. So we're back to a frontal attack on my plate. By now, Ghost notices something's going on, and if Maggie can get away with it, so can she. The result: Bob and I are considering eating in a closet.
We also had a "break in" experience with Maggie. But before I go into that experience, let me explain something about Ashley, our #3 and mostly maine coon kitty. Like most other maine coons, the purpose of Ashley's body is merely to put a little distance between her 6 inch long whiskers and rather impressive tail. In addition, like most other maine coons, she is an incredible flirt -- purring, mrupping and chirping at anyone who will listen to get what she wants. Yes, essentially, we are talking about the "blonde bimbo" of the feline world. As such, she doesn't always completely consider all the consequences of her actions. Like coming to a stop from a full tilt run, or cornering for that matter. Lastly, anyone, who has spent anytime around Ashley also knows that she is a shoulder kitty -- that is, anyone even partially leaning over is fair game for her to jump on their back and curl around that person's shoulders.
Ashley -- our mostly maine coon kitty
On a particular Sunday, shortly after we moved the first two kittens (Goldie and Grey) from the powder room to the second bedroom, I did some sewing (made aprons for Uncle Nicky's). I figured this would work well, the kittens would get some attention, and I would get something accomplished. Well that was the theory at least. What really happened was that the kittens had played so much, they were dead to the world on top of the bed. However, Tia knew there was kitten food in the room. And like any good cat, following the official Rules of Cat, she wanted the kitten food. The fact that the door to the bedroom was closed wasn't going to deter her. She started pawing/hammering at the door to get in. (Another cat rule about being on the other side of any closed door also comes into play here.) I finally relented and let her in, figuring she would never see the kittens, and hoping the kittens would sleep through the whole thing. Tia came in sniffed around, had some kitten food and was satisfied, what I didn't know was that she was just the point cat in an all out Rude Cat ambush. As I opened the door to usher Tia out, Maggie made a run for it into the room. As I bent over to grab Maggie, Tia doubled back into the room. At the same time, Ashley took this opportunity to do her "shoulder cat leap" onto my back. At this point I am standing, hunched over, with Ashley on my back, Maggie cradled in one arm, reaching down to catch Tia with the other. At this point all Billie Jo and Ghost had to do to get the kitten food was to stroll past me. However, they didn't have to look so gleeful when they did it. I had a more immediate problem. That being that Ashley was still rather upset about the whole idea of Maggie moving in. She began showing her displeasure about this idea again when she noticed Maggie in my hand. (Yes she was still draped around my shoulders like a mink stole) While Maggie was only marginally impressed by Ashley's hissing and growling, she thought Ashley's violently swishing tail would be a great toy. Ashley did not agree with Maggie's assessment of the situation and promptly began to explain this to Maggie with all her claws extended. Let's just say this was one time when Ashley definitely should have thought about the consequences of what she was doing. Let's also just say that I won't be wearing that strapless evening gown for the next couple of weeks. At least Grey, Goldie and Bob slept through the whole thing. Fortunately, Momma kitty wasn't there to render an opinion.
It was also time to separate out one or two more kittens, and start working with them. To do this we brought a kitty carrier up to the third bedroom. We shouldn't have worried, the sight of the carrier sent all of the Rude cats into parts unknown for several hours.
Of course now our problem was to get a kitten to go into the carrier, sounds easy doesn't it? Oh yeah one problem: Momma kitty has gathered her remaining kittens around her and has pretty much as made it clear that she has no regard for any amount of skin Bob and I have and that any skin we have left after messing with her would only be an inconvenience for her to remove later on. Yep, you guessed it, at this point, she could probably scare the crap out of a doberman, or at least out of Bob and I. However, we got lucky -- one of the kittens was playing behind the PC when we went in, and didn't have time to get back to Momma. He was kind of trapped between the PC and the wall on the sides. So we put the carrier down in front of him and kind of popped him in the butt. At least he went in the carrier. Turns out this kitten was originally PITA (the kitten who got stuck in the car). Our original conversations with him went something like this:
You're a pretty kitty....
Do you want some food....
Do you want to play?
We had to admit, it was really cute the way his nose wrinkled up when he hissed at us. We saw that wrinkled nose alot. So we renamed him HISSOR.
Despite all his hissing, tough boy bravado, Hissor spent the entire nite crying in the powder room. Out of pity, we caught another kitten and put her in the powder room with him. Our conversation with kitten number four was very familiar:
Do you remember your brother?
Do you want some food?
Do you want me to leave you alone?
We named her Hissetta.....