No good deed goes unpunished.

by SmithorJones on November 27, 2010

in JonesGirl, Life

Now, I’m not by nature a skeptic. I do tend towards being a little suspicious at times, but by and large, I try to look on the bright side of things. Of course, every now and then, some of those old “homilies” (like the title of this post) pop into my head, given the right circumstance.

Recently, like – the end of this past summer, I was walking into the house when I noticed a little “lump” of fur reposing in the sun inside the little area where I have some flowers planted in a pot, and where the water pipes come out from under the house. It’s just below my kitchen window. I backed up and looked, and there before my eyes were four kittens!  I had noticed a feral “Mama” kitty around in the days previous – but it’s not unusual for us to see feral cats. I keep a bucket of water out on my lawn and all manner of wildlife drink from it all summer long…including the feral cats. We didn’t have a lot of them, just the occasional rough-looking tom cat, or maybe one of the neighbor cats would happen by. So, I was delighted to see that the Mama kitty had decided to entrust her babies to my garden patch.

I picked a couple of them up and pet and talked to them, trying to get them used to being around humans, and carefully put them back down. They climbed back underneath the house, but I waited until the next time and tried to repeat the process hoping to tame them by the time they were old enough to explore the world.

I had noticed a feral “Mama” kitty around in the days previous – but it’s not unusual for us to see feral cats.

I went down to the local feed store to see about getting some cat food for the Mama Kitty. She was awfully thin and bony looking and she was nursing four kittens, so I knew she’d benefit from a little TLC in her diet. The feed store lady was unfazed by my bleeding heart story and request for “samples” if they had any. Nope. Period. Okay – whaddaya got for cat food that I could feed to a Mama and her babies? She led me back to the premium cat foods and pointed out that this particular brand was on sale and I was in luck! About $20 later I was headed home with a bag of cat food.

I happily filled a little container with food and placed it in the garden bed nearby the entrance to the “under the house” hole. A bit later, I noticed some had been eaten. Mama Kitty is nothing if not stealthy. So, for the next day or so, the stealth eating continued. Until the raccoons found the food. And then she moved her brood out and away somewhere where I cold not find them. The raccoons had hopped in and knocked over flower pots, dug in the potted plants and generally wreaked havoc in there – and no doubt disturbed the Kitty Clan even more than the human who wanted to pet the babies had. Mama Kitty was having none of it so off she went.

I didn’t see them again for a month or two. However! I began putting the food out on my porch and the food disappeared, so at least the Mama was still eating here, though I rarely saw her. If I left the food out by accident overnight – it disappeared, and the bowl of water had black dirt in it – raccoons again. I knew better, but occasionally forget – so tried to be more diligent about things after that.

Mama Kitty and familyAfter a couple of months – the kittens came back of their own accord! They wanted in on the good grub. Soon, the kitty family became daily visitors to the porch.  They’re so cute, and oh my are they good gofer hunters!  One of the little black ones is quite the master of gofer tossing.  He had a big fat gofer that he was throwing in the air, catching, batting around – and later dining upon with one of his siblings.

I want to catch them eventually, and get them “fixed” – so I put my old dog kennel on the porch with some nice fluffy clean blankets in it, and started placing one of the food bowls inside the kennel. Mama Kitty does not really like eating in there, but she’ll do it if there were too many little heads stuffed into the other bowl. But mostly she just waits until there is room at the outside bowl and then will eat.  Invariably, I end up dumping the kennel food into the other bowl by about midday.  Sigh.

They’re still wild as allgetouts, but have begun to trust me just a tiny bit and don’t immediately run and hide now. The little grey baby especially seems curious about me, but s/he just cannot bring herself/himself to let me get close enough to touch.

I’ve gotten better at remembering to bring the food in if they haven’t finished it all by nightfall…Opossumotherwise, I get this picture – and these critters are quite comfortable sitting and crunching away while you stand there like an idiot saying “get off my porch!” It took the spray bottle from my ironing board to convince this one to just mosey on home – and I do mean mosey. He staggered slowly off the porch and down the steps like a drunken sailor while the kitty clan stared in amazement.

A little later that same evening, I put my head out the door to make sure he was still gone and noticed one of the kittens fluffed up and hissing down the steps.  I looked and there was a little masked bandito staring up at me!  Raccoons apparently scare off a little easier than opossums do – because he was gone in a flash when I suggested he take his leave.  It’s one thing to be feeding premium cat food to feral cats – quite another to the ‘possums and ‘coons!

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