Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Tale of Two Kitties, Part Two

When I left off in this story I had a mama cat and her two kittens squatting in the empty lot next to our backyard. Their mere presence was driving Wiley nuts, and I had every intention of taking them to the Hillside SPCA right away. They are a no-kill shelter, and given Wiley’s crazed barking and crying I didn’t think the cats would ever be able to come into our home, even for a few nights. Additionally, I was concerned about allergies. I am allergic to cats, or at least I was back when my family had them in my younger days.  Not deathly allergic, but very itchy and sneezy. 

Unfortunately my plans for transporting the cats to the shelter fell through that day, and I blame Luke, Kim, and Fanny.  Why do my friends have to be all noble and heroic, rescuing pets all the time? (BOL-Bark Out Loud!)

I decided to let the cats be for the night. It was my classic Scarlett O’Hara mindset: I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Well. . . tomorrow turned into the next day and the day after that. I couldn’t make a decision about what to do with them. I posted a picture or two of the kittens on Facebook and a few friends messaged me with interest. I had to decide whether I should try to find them homes myself or put the burden on the shelter. I figured their odds might be better with me, but they were still nursing and too young to be separated from mom.

The mother came to me every day when I fed her. She purred and rubbed and was the sweetest thing. And she was such.a.good.mother. She never took her eyes off those kittens.

 The more I thought about the mama the more I worried about her chances of getting picked at the shelter. I think she’s beautiful but I know about black pet syndrome and I had my doubts. 

I knew in my heart that I really wanted to keep the mother; I was just concerned that Wiley was going to be an insurmountable problem. However, one thing I’ve often noticed about Wiley is that he is vicious while barking at animals from behind our fence, and terrified of them when we are out and about. So I wasn’t sure if his barking was an accurate indication of how he would be if he were face to face with the cats.

Well. Only one way to find out. Poor Mama became my test subject. I scooped her up in a towel and walked her right into the house like it was the most natural thing in the world. Wiley was certainly intense in his reaction, but he was not vicious. There was a lot of what I called the “sniff and scoot”- get in close for a whiff then back off wide-eyed.

As you may know if you’re a regular reader, when it comes to animals I have tremendous patience. There’s no other approach to Wiley that works. So day by day we sat together, Wiley, Mama, and I. Each day he got a bit calmer, and luckily she was very placid through the whole experience. These pics are lousy quality but you can see him giving his paw to her in one of them.

I could have just kept feeding them outside until the kittens were weaned and ready, but I could not stop worrying about them. In the week’s time that had passed since I had decided to adopt them out myself, they had become much more mobile, and I was very afraid they would venture out and get hurt. 

The guest room was empty, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to bring them in with me being gone each day for school. Even if they were behind a closed door, what if Wiley got so worked up he scratched at it and/or ate it, Leroy-style?

I’d like to say I made the final decision to move all three into the guest room on the Friday that began Labor Day Weekend, to give me the time to be home round the clock at first. I’d like to say that, but the truth is I think the decision was made the first night I met Mama face-to-face that Wednesday the week before. I was surely in denial, but part of me knew I was at least going to try to keep her.

So now we have house-guests. We are still in our trial mode, so we need all your thoughts, prayers, crossed-fingers, and well-wishes please that Wiley and the mama can get along. In my next cat-oriented post I will fill you in on the progress so far, and tell you about the moving-in process!

By the way, me trying to climb the fence to get the kittens must have been great entertainment for the neighbors. I figure it probably looked a little like this.

Keep your rescue stories coming please! Any kind of rescue pet is welcome, cats too. ;-)

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