Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Don't cuddle the feral kittens...

The good news is that rabies shots no longer number in the dozens, nor does one have to have them all upon on one's stomach.   The bad news??

Let us revisit yesterday, right before dinner ...

I am outside.  The weather is a balmy, breezy, sun-dappled 27 degrees.  I have just put the veggies onto the BBQ to grill.  I hear a wee "meeping" noise.  A kittenish noise.  A 'grab my animal-lover's attention' noise.   A noise that I immediately mimic back into the wild in the hopes that any stray kittens might willingly gambol towards me knocking me over with their enthusiasm for human contact.   I step to the edge of the deck, looking from whence I heard the 'meep.'  There are two tiny tabby kittens beside my house, hiding in the shrubbery.

One silver-grey with wide, expectant sky-blue eyes and a black and brown one, deeper in the shrubbery.  I quickly calculate the number of cats currently living in our home = 3.  Chances of my being allowed to bring any more into our home = 0.  But there is still the potential for kitten contact.  I lie upon my stomach on the deck, making the universal kissing noise that one uses to lure small animals into your grasp. The kittens keep their distance, but more importantly, they don't run away. I try my hand at the "Look I speak your language!" mewing once more.  Nope.  They aren't biting.  Not yet.

I run inside the house and find a sample bag of kitten kibble left over from when Steve and Lola became part of our family last year.  I sprinkle bits of the kibble upon the ground near the deck stairs.  Yelling upstairs, I tell David "WE HAVE KITTENS OUTSIDE!!!!"  I return to the deck and see the tail of one of the kittens disappear from the step and hide under the deck.  The kibble is now gone.  I sprinkle more kibble and lie in wait.  I am not disappointed, the grey kitten comes out.  On my hands and knees I silently approach, intent on feeling the warmth and sweetness that is kitten and scoop it up into my waiting hands.

Apparently, there is a difference between kittens from the litter of a happy, "well-accustomed-to humans" house cat, and kittens that are feral.  Feral kittens don't cotton to being handled.  This sweet and fuzzy grey tabby morphs into a hissing, spitting, growling demon kitten.

I try making the 'shush, shush, shush' noise to  calm it so that I can put it down safely, but it is VERY panicked.  I can't just drop it, it might get hurt in the midst of its hairy hysteria.  Well-versed in the ways of soothing the savage breast, I adeptly change my grip to the scruff of its neck.  Then the party really gets started.  The little darling opens its mouth and latches onto the fleshy part of my hand, right between the thumb and forefinger.  Now I really can't let go because it would just be hanging from my hand by its teeth.  Still growling and scratching (my wrist is now bleeding as well), the kitten doesn't seem to have any plans to release my hand, so I have to pry its mouth open a bit before making sure that the wee terror is not too high above the deck before I release it.  It skitters under the deck, while onlooking neighbours look at me as if I have turned into Hannibal Lecter himself.

"I was just... it seemed... cuddle...  I WASN'T GOING TO EAT IT!!!"

While at the Dr's office this morning, on a completely unrelated matter for Rissa,  I mention casually that I have been bitten by a very small, more than likely harmless, stray kitten.  Subsequent to this,  there have been phone calls to the Health Unit and Dr's office.  If I cannot contain the animal, I will have to have rabies vaccination shots.  And though they no longer number in the dozens, they do number in the several on days 0, 3, 7 & 14.  I realize that, through my own animal-loving stupidity, any hopes of catching the kitten are nigh on impossible now that I have made it terrified of humans in general and me in particular.

Choosing to be optimistic, I  go outside and check under the deck, you know, just in case.   I see a kitten skitter away.  One kitten.  I can't be sure if it's grey or not.  I gather my kitten kibble and put some on the step.  I go to check later and the food has not been touched, but I hear a sound from the garage.  AHA!  Kittens in the garage!

I arm myself with a pair of leather work gloves, a flashlight and a cat cage and enter the garage, closing the door behind me.  A kitten careens off the garbage can, bolts to the door, then behind the flammables cabinet and then back to hide in the snow-blower.  I think.  I take my flashlight and creep towards the business end of the snow-blower.  There I see two kitten asses.  One runs in the corner I manage to grab it and get it into the cage before reaching for the back end of the other.  We wrestle.  It sounds as if I am tearing out its guts through its throat.   But it too, ends up in the cage.  I have done it!  I have two kittens in the cat cage!!  Crisis averted!!

Unfortunately, upon closer view, neither kitten seems to be particularly silver-grey. The one that bit me yesterday was definitely silver-grey - its colouring was very distinctive.  I clutch at straws: maybe because today's weather isn't as sunny, the kittens' coats just don't look... the same way that they... did... yesterday?  In fact neither cat really resembles the two that I saw yesterday.  I go to check the kibble on the step - it is now gone.  That could mean three things: either the mother cat came back and ate it OR our white-trash druggie neighbours got the munchies, saw the kibble and thought "Cool!  SNACKS!" OR there is a third silver-grey kitten, still at large, that  knows the taste of my blood.

Hold on!  Rissa is yelling up the stairs.  "MUMMY!!! Come quick!!!  There IS a grey kitten!!  It is looking at the other kittens in the cat cage!!!"

If I put the cat cage back in the garage, and leave a trail of kitten kibble... might it be possible to capture the elusive silver-grey kitten?  There is the distinct potential for cat apprehension and avoidance of multiple rabies shots!!!

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