12 August 2008

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programme For This Important Announcement

Because she does my typing, and she is, afterall, the Boss Lady, I am graciously allowing her to temporarily hijack my dog related blog with news of *wrinkles nose* cats. In case you are unaware, and you probably are because Boss Lady hasn’t really made it well known, the neighbor’s shed became temporary home to a stray mama cat and her four adorable kittens. The neighbor isn’t too keen on cats, or pets, really, nor was she too keen on letting the poor things freeze through the winter. (Here in Vermont we are always thinking about winter, even in the middle of August.) In light of her un-keenness of these things, the neighbor asked Boss Lady to see what she could do to catch the little guys (and/or girls) and deliver them to the humane society where they could be adopted to cat-loving (and warm) homes.

This request was received Saturday. Being as she (not me. No. I wasn’t invited) was otherwise engaged on Saturday, Boss Lady put it on her schedule for an initial review on Sunday. On Sunday, she talked to the humane society (who called to ask her to do a transport, which made it a perfect time to ask if they would take the kittens.) and was assured they would be happy to take the mama and kittens. She learned that another neighbor quite conveniently had a have-a-heart trap she could borrow. She went to the store to obtain tuna fish and tuna cat food to entice the mama cat and kittens. Late Sunday evening, she introduced herself to the feline family.

She was not warmly received. The kittens fled. Mama cat hissed and growled. Boss Lady expected this, so she just shrugged, put down a plate containing half a can of tuna fish, and backed up to see what would happen. Mama cat stopped hissing/growling, and the kittens reconsidered Boss Lady’s advances. After they cleaned the first plate, Boss Lady rewarded them with the second plate which had the other half a can of tuna fish. Boss Lady watched them for a little while longer and then left them alone for the night. Monday morning, Boss Lady repeated the routine. Boss Lady made a mental note that for a second time Mama Cat let the kittens eat all of the first plate and herself only ate part of the second plate. Boss Lady took a bunch of pictures, and then went to work. Monday evening she repeated the routine, only this time she lured the kittens further out from the shed. She took more pictures of their antics. She determined they are super cute.

Tuesday morning Boss Lady repeated the routine one more time. Tuesday afternoon, Boss Lady picked up more tuna cat food and retrieved the Have-a-Heart trap from the neighbor. Late Tuesday afternoon, Boss Lady began the cat/kitten catching process. Knowing that the mama cat would probably be the hardest to catch, she set out to catch her first. Based on her previous observations, Boss Lady brought down a first plate of food for the kittens. The kittens happily ate it. Then she put some food on a small piece of board, put it all the way inside the have-a-heart trap and put the trap where she normally puts the 2nd plate of food. Then she stepped back to wait. Less than 2 minutes later, she heard the trap clang and discovered a very pissed off and frantic mama cat stuck inside. Step One of The Plan, catching Mama Cat, was a total success. On to Step Two.

Step Two involved transferring Mama Cat from the Have-a-Heart trap to the hard plastic cat carrier. Unless she waited another hour for someone to arrive home from work, she would have to perform Step Two by herself. She got some thick work gloves, put on a long sleeve shirt, locked herself and the cat carrier and the trapped Mama Cat in the bathroom and attempted the transfer. And she quickly discovered that a smart move would have been to remove all the curtains from the window, pull up the blind, and put away all the glass and ceramic objects on the counter. Mama Cat was not any more amenable to being trapped in a cat carrier than she was to being trapped in the Have-a-Heart. Mama Cat made her feelings known by shooting out of the Have-a-Heart, onto the sink, up the mirror, over onto the window sill, and all the way up into the top corner of the window behind the curtains and blinds. As you might imagine, it is not easy to cling to a solid glass window, so Mama Cat employed the curtains and blinds to stay up there. After some careful thinking, Boss Lady decided to remove the curtain rod (thus eliminating the curtain) and pull up the blind. Mama Cat managed to remain wedged in the upper corner until Boss Lady was luckily able to scoop her off the glass with the open end of the cat carrier. Once Mama Cat was inside the cat carrier, Boss Lady slammed the door shut and put the carrier in the shower, just in case Mama Cat should somehow, mysteriously escape the carrier. Step Two of The Plan was a success, barely. On to Step Three.

Boss Lady’s Step Three was a little fuzzy. Step Three involved catching all four kittens, be it one at a time, two at a time, three at a time, or the super miracle of all four at a time. She put a little more food on the board in the trap (most of the previous had been slung out of the trap by Mama Cat’s crazy attempts to escape.) Boss Lady put some more food on a plate. She took the trap and the plate back to the shed and placed the plate directly in front of the trap. Then she went back to the house to figure out where she was going to put the kittens once they were caught. She elected to use the soft sided cat carrier for the kittens, in the hopes that they would be too small and weak to destroy it. She figured once she had all four kittens, she could put them in the hard carrier with Mama Cat. With that problem solved, Boss Lady returned to the shed to check on the progress of Step Three. She was happy to see a partial success. Black&White kitten was caught in the trap. Boss Lady took the trap up to the house, locked herself in the bathroom again, and proceeded to trasnfer Black&White kitten to the soft carrier. It was very easy. Black&White kitten let itself be scooped up and gently placed in the soft carrier.

With three Kittens remaining, Boss Lady put fresh food on the board, and a little bit more on the plate and reset the trap as before. Then she waited. And waited. And waited. Either the remaining kittens were no longer hungry, or were super wary. Boss Lady checked the trap about once an hour and finally got lucky when she checked right after supper. Two kittens, Yellow Splotches and Striped Tiger, were both caught in the trap. Striped Tiger was fairly calm, but Yellow Splotches was not happy. Boss Lady brought the trap up to the house and enlisted her mother in helping her transfer to the two kittens. They decided to put them directly in with Mama Cat, in the hopes that they would calm down quicker. Yellow Splotches managed to escape during the transfer and hid behind the toilet. Fortunately, as a tiny kitten, Yellow Splotches was easy to catch and slip into the hard carrier. Striped Tiger didn’t present any problem at all.

This left three of the four kittens captured and reunited with Mama Cat in the hard carrier. One kitten remained, all alone in the shed. By this time, it was dark and Boss Lady felt extremely guilty leaving the last kitten alone for the night. So, she went back out one more time with the trap, and the plate, and the little bits of food. She set it all up and determined to wait thirty minutes. She crossed her fingers and was overjoyed to discover kitten number four, also known as Splotches, caught in the trap. Splotches was not overjoyed. Boss Lady brought the trap up to the house and locked herself in the bathroom for the final kitten transfer. Once again, Boss Lady’s Mother helped out. And, once again, the transfer did not go smoothly. Splotches managed to escape during the transfer and also hid behind the toilet. Splotches was recaptured and then reunited with Mama Cat.

Mama Cat and the four kittens will spend the night in the hard carrier in the neighbor’s garage and tomorrow morning they will be delivered to the humane society. When they are old enough, one or two of them might, just might, return to our house, which is both cat-loving and warm.

(Want more absurdly cute kitten pictures? go here

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