Friday, October 10, 2008

More Faces in the Yard...a Long Story That Ends Well

Here is a long saga of trying to do the right thing by spaying and neutering stray cats. I'll try to make it short. As you know we have spayed/neutered 5 animals so far and thought that was the end of it! We had a cat, Bepo, whose daughter and son (Princess and Junior) hang out and have been taken care of. Well awhile back before we spayed her Bepo was pregnant and then she wasn't. We tried to find kittens and figured they were stillborn or something because she was in the yard always and was not lactating. We waited and waited. Then my sister visited and took special interest in her. Cats get pregnant immediately after giving birth and we didn't want her to go through that again (she is little). So we spayed her. She was in the shower for 5 nights and like all the others ran out and stayed away for a day when we released her. Then she was down here like always. A week later I hear something way up on the hill that doesn't sound right. Jeff doesn't hear it, but I go and investigate. I hear crying in a log pile and you guessed it...a little kitten face appears. This guy (only smaller at the time).

This isn't the source of the noise though - I can hear things but it sounds like it is underground. I get Jeff and he can't tell where it is coming from either. We go down to the house but I am still disturbed. I can still hear it. It is now dark. Jeff knows I can't sleep worrying about it so we go up one more time with a dental mirror and flashlight. We put the mirror in this really narrow hollow branch and stick it as far in as we can and look with a flashlight and we see this little white face!

We use pruners to prune the branch and wedge it open further and further and a white ear pops out! We keep doing it and then an arm pops out! Finally it is free and disappears into the tangle of brush. Meanwhile we see an orange flash squirt out of a brush pile. We can't catch any of them. Talk about guilt. Are these Bepo's babies? Yes - we follow her up there. The next day the orange one is stuck - you guessed it, same log. Turns out it had another entrance so we got this one out and then dismantled the death trap. It was an odd shaped log that made getting in possible but not out. The next day we bring food up and the babies have been moved! For more than a month she has moved them around and we have only seen one at a time, never all three at once. Finally we hear meows in the yard. The kitties have come down, but now there are 4. The original orange kitty is short haired and tiny like Princess. This one was with them. It appeared first and I thought it was Bepos until the other 3 showed up. All cats have stunt doubles! Then I am in the yard and there are 6 kittens and I know they are not all Bepo's. Bepo had the Junior look-alike (Strippedy), the Princess sort-of-look-alike (Angel), and the short haired orange one (Mars). Meanwhile, Bepo's look-alike/stunt double/sister? shows up in the yard with the hairy orange one (Puffball). Then we see all of them together with the addition of a black and white one and another striped one. We think Puffball is Bepo's sister's kitten. We think the sister nursed all of them while Bepo was in the shower or they were big enough already to find food. We know that they trade off babysitting all of them which is kind of cool - Bepo's sister isn't as good a mom and kind of abandoned Puffball who roams around crying. But now they are all in the yard and have friends to cuddle with. They eat avocados (and ample servings of cat food) together and the story ends well. Very traumatic though. We tried to be careful and do the right thing. We now feel responsible for her kittens and how can we ignore Puffball, the outsider? The other two have gone off somewhere else thankfully but now we have 4 little ones cuddling up together near the front door. We really aren't cat people.

When I took an evening stroll around the yard I saw 3 of the kitties mobbing this toad! They were fascinated and not much bigger than it. They would inch closer and just watch it.
The toads are weird because they don't move. You can lift them by the chin and they are stiff and then ooze a white ooze out of their back. Here's a view from up top. Weirder still...

So the story ends until the next round of spaying, neutering or finding homes for the new faces around the farm...


Cassie said...

The kitties didn't get the memo about you not being cat people :-) Baby kitties are so cute. We had a stray that had babies in our basement window-well, and we ended up taking them in. How much does spaying/neutering go for down there?

Fran and Steve said...

Not cat people, eh? I think you have more posts about cute kitties than you do about any other one subject! Not that I mind. I love 'em! If you furnish your PO Box number, maybe you'll get some anonymous donations to help with the neutering costs.... Fran

Anonymous said...

The white cat looks beautiful, and the tabby orange cat before the frog picture, has the most amazing face I have ever seen. I guess you can tell I am a proud cat person.

Anonymous said...

Cassie - We've gone to a couple different vets and the price varies. We get them all their shots as well so it ends up being 60-100 bucks a cat (boys are cheaper).

Fran - We can keep the group on "hold" for you... (can't break the set though (hee hee)

Anonymous - S/he looks like a little lion with all the puffy hair and the white one seems like it is part siamese. We don't really know if they are all from the same litter or not (we don't think so). katrina