The reoccurring cat dilemma
I've said it many many times before but I despise cats. I have never liked them and yet they are unavoidable.
When I flunked out of college the first time, I came back home to try and pick up the pieces of my broken life. I needed rest and relaxation and what I got was a stray cat infestation. My mother is a complete bleeding heart. She cannot stand to see suffering of any creature. She would always rescue sick and dying animals and try to nurse them back to health. This is why she was the perfect mark. A yellow tom showed up one day and she fed him tuna from the can. He returned everyday thereafter and she continued to feed him. After a couple of weeks, he brought his female companion who was very feral and very very pregnant. I saw this as a bad situation. The last thing I needed was a clowder of cats hanging around the house. Plus, I hated the damn freeloaders. They weren't even friendly, to the point of hissing and swatting at us, and my mother continued to feed them. To make a long story short, the feral female decided underneath our house was the perfect place to give birth. It was comfortable and there was a steady food source. She kept getting pregnant and kept having litters under the house and this continued over many years until some of the cats met their fate with the busy street I lived on or my dad rounded up and took to the shelter. I begged my mom to stop feeding them in hopes that they would leave but she couldn't help herself.
I spent the last several years relatively cat free and I loved it. They were around but never to the point of being a nuisance. This changed when I moved into my new house. Three cats would frequent my backyard. At first, I kept my distance and shooed them away. I was very careful never to leave food or anything edible around because then they would associate food with me and keep returning. It was when I realized that they liked to shit in my yard that I got really mad. It died down and they vanished for a couple of weeks and then the cat came back.
Big Boy I deemed him, is a large gray and black tom that loves to sleep on my flower planter. He is very healthy looking and is always gone by sunset so I assumed that he had an owner that let him out during the day. He will let you get close but not touch him. He has killed and given me three birds. People say it is a sign of affection but I do not appreciate having to pick up and dispose of dead birds. There is the fecal problem. I mean, once he squatted and shat on the ground right in front of me. I had enough. He wanted to be dirty then I would be dirty too. I charged at him yelling "Get!" In return, he just stared at me as if I was no threat. My intimidation tactics were futile so I needed another way to get rid of him once and for all. I looked up all kinds of practices to keep cats out of the yard. I decided that the sprinkler system was going to be my best weapon. It worked quite well. As soon as he got sprayed he would take off running out of the yard. My troubles were over... or so I thought...
He continued to come back but not nearly as frequently. Now that he knows I will spray him, he runs away immediately upon seeing me. The other day, I decided to follow him to see where he is exactly running to. Sure enough, he runs straight underneath my house through a small rectangular hole that should be covered with wire mesh. I decided the hole must be covered and continued to return about my business and forget about it.
Two days ago, as per usual Big Boy was sleeping in my yard. This time, he was smart enough to find a spot not near the sprinklers. Weary, I came out and chased him off. Something was different. He wasn't running as he usually did. He was slightly waddling and his stomach was distended and hanging low toward the ground. I furrowed my brow and followed him to see him dart underneath the house.
Wow. It started to make sense. Big Boy was not a boy at all but a very pregnant female. The situation was more dire than I thought. I wasn't having a problem with someone's pet cat using my yard as a hangout. I was dealing with a most likely stray cat looking to have her litter in a safe place that she has had plenty of time to stake out: underneath my house.
This simply will not fly. Memories my mother's stray cat and kittens squatting under the house all came rushing back to me. It was horrible. The living room which they lived under smelled of urine. The kittens mewed constantly. It drove me absolutely mad and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't get close enough to the kittens to round them up and my mother simply would not stop feeding them.
It's not going to happen again. I'll tell you that for a fact. I formulated a plan. Wait until Big Boy was napping in the yard, cut her off at the pass and seal up that hole so she would never be able to get in there ever again. I figured a cat is a lot faster than me and this plan would have to be tried many times before I could beat her there. However, the first time, it worked. I got to the hole and sealed it. She leapt from the planter and made a beeline to her hiding place. A look of horror struck her upon realizing that I was blocking her hiding place and her usual escape route was cut off. She moved closer, then back again frightened, repeated this a few times and scrambled away giving me an even better look at her as she passed me. Big Boy was definitely Big Pregnant Girl.
With the hole leading under the house closed, I can't help but think that, thwarted, she is going to speedily try to find a new safe place to give birth. I suspect this will keep her busy and away from my yard as it has lost its significance. What if this isn't the case? Animal Control states that stray cats have free reign and can come and go on one's property as they please. They will not trap a cat but they will pick up the problem stray if you are able to catch it. I'm seriously thinking about renting a humane trap and catching her before she has her kittens and letting them haul her off my property and out of my life forever.
Therein lies another problem. Animal Control takes strays to a "kill shelter" where she most likely will be put down. To tell you the truth, I don't care. As long as I don't have to worry about a cat infestation, I will be happy. Appalled, my friends have called me "heartless". My mother compared me forking the cat over to Animal Control to the complacent Germans who let the Holocaust go on around them by living in denial. You guys are so goddamn upset about it, I'll appease you. I'll rent a humane trap and catch her soon before she gives birth. I will take her myself to a "no kill shelter" and hope they will let her have her kittens in captivity and find them homes. It shouldn't be hard. Who doesn't want a baby kitten (well not me but a lot of people do)? It states online that they spay the mother and- if she is feral and not fit to be a house cat- release her back into the wild.
There! That's a solution for everybody. You cat lovers get your rescued cat family. Big Boy gets to have her babies in a safe place and fixed so that when they put her back in nature she doesn't have to worry about getting knocked up again. And Lee gets her happy ending, a cat free life again. At least for now...
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Feb 23 2011, 8:47 PMDana responded:You'd get a warmer response from a cat rescue group like where I adopted my girls from. A bunch of cat ladies who trap feral cats, take the kittens and foster them and then adopt them out. They would even loan you a trap or come do it for you. Those cat ladies!