Bob and Kathy's Adventures with Feral Cats

The 1999 Edition, Pt II

October 18, 1999,

Hello Everyone,

When we last visited the Rude Ranch, Bob and Kathy had finally finished moving all their stuff into the new house. They had also taken in and adopted out a couple of cats. They were helping to feed and take care of the "Bruno", the neighborhood stray dog. They also had several "lawn incidents" which fortunately ended because of drought conditions. (The lawn mowing, not the drought). Here's what has happened since:

We still haven't finished unpacking boxes from the move. At this point if there is something we can't find, we either go through boxes, or buy another one. Mack, the little kitten we rescued from the storm drain was adopted by a co-worker. He is doing well in his new home.

Back to the animal rescue front:

At the beginning of September, we were informed that there was a mother cat and 4 kittens living on a parking lot at a Taco Bell in southern Maryland. Could we help catch them? Even though we weren't really ready, we didn't feel right saying no, especially if someone else was willing to trap them. We just had to supply the trap and carriers. This sounded like a good deal to us, so loading up trap, carriers, food that most cats can't resist, and instructions for catching "wild" kittens off we went.

It turns out that the instructions for catching wild cats worked well for padding in the bottom of the carriers. The young lady doing the trapping put a soft taco supreme (you know the one with extra sour cream and cheese) into each of the carriers. When the kitten went into the carrier for the taco, she just closed the door behind it. She did actually catch one kitten in the trap. (Using taco supremes) Unfortunately, the last kitten was on top of the trap when it went off. After that, there was no way the fourth kitten would come out. In the end we netted three 13 week old kittens.

Handling the "Taco Bell" kittens was another matter altogether. Two of these kittens were truly feral. Much more so than Cali, Abbey, and Blackie were. They were even more feral than Mama's litter of kittens from 2 years before were. (See Adventures with Bob and Kathy. The third kitten, with the kinked tail was tame. She wanted to be picked up, she wanted us around. We took her to a Friskies sponsored cat show in September. She was the first to be adopted. In the meantime, the other two kittens, Penty and Gunny were another matter. This bit us, hard. They hissed. They spit at us. Then we had another problem: They had to be moved.

We were keeping the Taco Bell kittens in quarantine in a bathroom in the basement. However, we now needed that quarantine room for another reason we had were asked to take in a mother cat and her 6 kittens. But back to Penty and Gunny. We knew what we had to do: Penty and Gunny would have to be moved to a cage in the den. We just had to catch them first.

Somehow, I managed to draw the short straw I had to catch them and move them while Bob went to pick up Mommy and her kittens. I got ready. I took two carriers, I brought gloves. I had the cage upstairs in the den ready. At least it was fairly easy to clean the blood splatters off of the walls and the swelling eventually went down enough so that I could bend my fingers again. The gloves were toast. Penty and Gunny weren't too happy either. When they got out of the cage and entrenched themselves out of reach behind the desk 3 hours later, I wasn't happy either.

AC and her kittens made their entrance later that day. AC's story was pretty common: "I really meant to get her fixed, but she went into heat and slipped out the door".

Most of AC's kittens

It took approximately two days before Duncan, Amanda, Fitz, Connor, Tessa and Ebony - AC's kittens got bored with the bathroom and started breaking out to explore the rest of the basement. The reactions of the rest of the Rude Ranch furries was interesting. Bones came around the corner, saw the kittens and hit the brakes so hard he almost left skid marks. Then he must have remembered he was neutered and felt relieved. Eventually he started helping AC groom and litterbox train the kittens. He is a sensitive male afterall.

Boomer's reaction to the kittens was also amusing. At first he was happy that there was finally something that was smaller than he is. Then he started trying to keep track of the kittens as they darted about. At one point we thought he would have a nervous breakdown.

See I'm finally bigger than something!!!

At this point we had a total of 19 cats and one dog in the house. We also had the "Big dog" outside that several neighbors were asking us to take in. Fortunately, all of AC's kitten were eligible to attend another cat show at the end of September. All but little Fitz found homes. AC herself did not go to the show. We wanted to get her spayed first.

Although we felt bad for little Fitz being the only kitten left, we shouldn't have worried. He soon started looking for his own playmates. Penty and Gunny were more interested in hissing at Bob and I than playing, so they wouldn't play with him. Then Jasmin showed up.

Jasmin was dropped off at the shelter by a tearful couple who "just couldn't keep her". Although scared, she seemed pretty friendly, so feeling sorry for her, we brought her home, were she went into quarantine in the 4th bedroom. The quarantine didn't last long as Jasmin was way too active to be cooped up in a room. The first visitor she had was a somewhat bored Fitz (who was about half her size) His first move was to tackle Jasmin head on. A somewhat surprised Jasmin ended up flat out on her back looking at Fitz. Not to be outdone, Jasmin immediately took off after Fitz. The chase was on --- for roughly 22 hours a day.

Jazzy Jasmin and Fitz

Fitz soon found a home with a couple from Virginia. Due to the fact that they were both lawyers, I hope everything in the adoption contract was legit.

In the meantime, we were making a little progress with Penty and Gunny --- at least they weren't spitting at us anymore, just hissing. It was obvious these two needed alot more work.

Gunny and Penty resting after another hissing match

In order to work with these two, we started staying in the "feral" room with them. The cleaning lady was both relieved and shocked to find less mess upstairs in the bedroom and pillows and blankets in the den. We decided against any kind of explanation and just let her work out her own explanation.

Coming next.... Bruno arrives!!!!!!!