Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cat Wrangler

When I awoke this morning, I anticipated a fabulously calm and productive day.

After accomplishing a lot this morning (I am all about marking things off my to-do list), my day skittered marvelously astray about lunch time. We're all animal lovers in our house with a history of gathering and caring for strays. To this end, my children and I have been feeding a lovely gray stray cat for a few weeks. "Smoky" now regularly frequents her food bowl on our front porch, appearing shortly after her food appears each day. When I rattled Smoky's bowl today, she quickly emerged from underneath our neighbors' deck followed by five small kittens. Until today, I had no idea that Smoky was a she (She won't let us more than a few feet near her.), much less that she supported a family.

Excitedly and naively, I called my neighbor to ask if she knew a family of kittens lives under her deck. At the same time, Car Guy and I trekked down the hill to check out the kittens who quickly scattered when we drew too near. They were too cute, though, and Car Guy spent much of the afternoon using binoculars to watch the kittens play in our neighbors' back yard.

I like our neighbors; I really do, and I tried very, very hard to be kind and tactful today. After speaking with my neighbors, though, I learned that they do know about the kittens and aren't too thrilled that I have been feeding the mother cat. Our neighbors would be more than happy to dispose of the cats and have an exterminator coming to spray for termites next week, so bye-bye kittens. They also have a trap from Animal Control to try to catch the cats and send them to the pound.

Now, I have never owned a cat, nor can I afford to have six cats spayed/ neutered and updated on shots. But I can't stand the thought of the mother and her kittens being automatically put down or killed by termite poison. After spending much of my afternoon trying to catch Smoky and her kittens, without any luck, I now have the trap on my porch with food in it. I figure if I can catch Smoky and her kittens, they'll at least have a better chance of survival if I'm in charge of their fate.

As my dear, "patient" husband asked me tonight, "What are you planning to do with these cats if you catch them?" I'm not exactly sure, but I won't take them to the pound. I've been to the pound twice and can never handle going again (Note: I can't handle watching Bambi or The Lion King either.) I did ask my in-laws (who have a farm with lots of animals) if they could take some more barn cats, but they're maxed out at 35 animals (horses, dogs, cats, pigs, guinea hens) now.

So, if anyone, has any productive ideas about how to catch these cats I would love to hear them. Any leads on low-cost/ no-cost shots and spay/neuter would also be greatly appreciated, as well as ideas on what to do with these cats if I can actually catch them.

Thank you!

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