Over the years, we’ve included photos of the various generations of stray cats who called our yard home. Like David Bowie here…
And these cutie-patooties…
And who could forget this happy couple?
Well, that’s all well and good, but the Garwood cats were starting to breed like rabbits. And they were finding new and interesting places to breed, like on our jackass neighbor’s car. Hehe! That was hilarious, by the way.
In the past two years we’d seen four litters of kittens born in our yard. Strays are nice in that they’re cute and keep the rats and mice away, but this was starting to be a rough neighborhood, with cat fights every night because there were just too many NKOTB — new kitties on this block.
Also, we were starting to get attached, and I don’t want to see these kitties that we’ve fallen in love with get beat up. So, I started doing some research into TNR, Trap/Neuter/Release programs. The way they work is you set traps in your yard and catch stray cats. You take them to the Humane Society on surgery days and the Humane Society spays/neuters the cats for free, gives them some deworm and deflea and then gives the cats back to you in the traps. You nurse them a bit, and then release them back where you trapped them. Neat, I thought, except that Errek is so allergic to cats that it really limits our ability to participate in the part where you foster the cats post-op. So I thought about it for a long time, but took no action.
Enter Jane. Hey, pretty lady.
Jane had been hanging around since she was a kitten, but lately we’d started to notice her belly getting bigger and bigger.
There was also a boy kitteh, Edgar, spending a lot of quality time with her, so we began to suspect that we’d be seeing some bebes soon enough.
Sho nuff. Bebes!
Oh for crying out loud, who said you could be so cute?!?!
We’ve named them Dorian (the gray fella on the left) and Bootsie (the gray and white wee one on the right), and we’ve completely fallen in love with them because they do stuff like this. Hiya, cutie pie, you spyin’ on me!
Before I start this story, let me just assure you, it has a happy ending. There’s a scary part in the middle, but keep reading. K? K.
Now, at about the same time that Dorian and Bootsie were frolicking in our wood pile, I renewed my interest in TNR. I called the Humane Society and discussed our allergy limitations, and this is when she told me that they have volunteer trappers. What? No way! Do you want me to put you on the volunteer request list? Yes, please, by all means. The very next day I got a call. Our volunteer turned up and was this tiny, feisty old cat lady. She reminded me a little of the old woman in Poltergeist, but with long white hair and an encyclopedic knowledge of cats. I mentioned that we had month-old kittens in our yard still nursing (Dorian and Bootsie), but she was not concerned and laid three traps in our yard. She said, if we catch their mom then just feed them until she gets back. Okay. Sounds easy enough. So, she set the traps and we went off to work.
Within a matter of hours, the traps had captured two cats in our yard — Dorian and Bootsie’s mommy (Jane) and daddy (Edgar). Edgar, here, was not my biggest fan that day.
Our trapper also talked to Mr. Man across the street (that’s not his real name, but it’s what we call him) and laid traps in his yard, catching an additional three cats in his yard on that first day. Wow.
With Dorian and Bootsie’s parents now trapped and awaiting surgery, it was on me to keep the babies alive. Holy crap, the stress. I set out food and water and watched for them from the window. Nothing. No sign of the bebes. At the time we thought that Dorian and Bootsie were living in the garage, so we set the last remaining trap in there over night and crossed our fingers. First thing the next morning we checked the trap. No kittens. Instead, we’d trapped this extremely unhappy fella.
Color me worried at this point. I called our trapper, and she said, “well if you haven’t seen the kittens then the possum probably got the babies.” Uh…what? No…what? She follows with, “did you find any remains?” Remains? Remains of our favorite kittens, you mean? No. I refuse to believe they are gone. And so I didn’t. I held out hope that Dorian and Bootsie were smart little badasses who were just waiting for their milk momma to return. Our trapper was worried, too, so as soon as Edgar and Jane were snipped she brought them back to the yard and released them a little earlier than normal. Jane darted away immediately, looking for her wee ones and we crossed our fingers and held our breath for a happy ending.
Within about half an hour, we had our happy ending! We saw Jane in the back yard meowing as she often would to get her babies to come to her. I asked her through the window, “Where are your babies, momma? Please tell me you hid them well. Please!” No sooner had the words left my mouth that Dorian ran up on his momma hungry for milk. Errek and I squealed with joy, then we asked, “And Bootsie? Where’s Bootsie?” And that was when kitteh number two careened into her mother and sibling. We were jumping up and down with joy. Oh thank God we didn’t kill those sweet babies. I called the trapper to let her know, and she was as relieved as we were.
That night Errek and I were too busying smiling and watching the babies trip up their momma as they tried to drink milk and walk at the same time to take photos, so here’s a photo of the happy family from a different day.
It’s now been about three weeks, and Dorian and Bootsie are fully weened and have taken to our yard like pigs in mud.
So guess what, we’ve decided to make these kitties feel at home. I had a box of wet cat food left over when Lucy passed away, so every few days I put some food out for them.
Yep, PVR has a cute pair of mascots.
Our yard is your yard.
Okay, kitteh-intermission over, time for more progress. Are you ready to behold the glory of the porch?