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New member, old cat person

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi, everyone - thanks to all the Welcome PM's and stuff - I was holding out for a sig before posting this

I had no intention of getting a cat when I moved here to West Virginia from Arlington, VA. I love cats, I've had cats almost all my life - but the place I live charges extra for them and, besides, I've raised a family, my daughter is doing well on her own, the pleasant and uncontentious divorce is complete, and my former husband asked for and got the house ("You really want the house? Are you out of your mind? - Okay!") short, been there, done that, "vant to be alone"...

Enter Myrtle, a feral gray-and-white who started hanging around our development. I called her Myrtle after the Potter character Moaning Myrtle, because she (the cat) was very talkative, and her voice was, frankly, whiny. She seemed friendly enough providing you didn't get within five feet of her.

Well, once you name them, you have to feed them! I started putting out a bowl of fresh water and, what the heck, a bowl of kibble. Myrtle, her buddy ferals, two opossums, a raccoon, several deer, and of course the crows, were very happy with that decision. Okay, rethink...I'd wait for Myrtle to show up before bringing out the bowl. When she was convinced it was her food, I took to putting the bowls inside my propped-open door. Myrtle deigned to come inside to eat, and only a few of her fellow diners had nerve enough to follow, so that was okay. Of course, I was still not allowed near her, and any attempt to approach the door by any human was immediate cause for a retreat by Myrtle.

When I noticed she'd gotten pregnant, I started to worry. I decided to try to capture her so she could have her kittens in safety. All my attempts to close the door while she was inside (involving some fairly ridiculous devices and lots of string) failed. I called a humane trapper named Mike for help.

Someday I might write a book about Myrtle Vs. Humanity. She outwitted us with ease. No trap, net, food lure, camoflage, or combination thereof fooled her. We did catch other citizens of the wild, plus one neighbor cat Myrtle lured into one of the humane traps just for fun (I watched her do it). And winter came on.

After we gave up on the capture idea, I fed her (just inside the door) and, one morning in Spring, she showed up with three kittens in tow. They were not fully weaned and were very, very wary. They moved in to my (small) concrete patio area.

The next morning I saw a fourth kitten had shown up. Something was wrong with it - it couldn't walk without staggering, and was besieged by flies. I got close enough to see an open wound on its chest. Oh, no! I got a big towel and managed to capture it (Myrtle and the rest of her litter ran away), and took it to the emergency vet, who at first wanted to put it down. It was a little boy kitten, long-haired, and had been attacked, probably by an adult male cat. The wound was infected and covered with maggots, and the kitten was malnourished. I realized Myrtle had probably left it to die, and said to the vet, "No, this kitten found his way back to his Momma and he is a fighter, let's see what we can do." We shaved and de-maggoted his chest and the vet gave him massive antibiotics, and I left with medicines and involved instructions on washing, medicating, and feeding the kitten. He was so small, and so furry, and I thought he looked like a fancy-breed guinea pig, so I named him Piglet.

I spent the next few days taking care of Piglet and looking for Myrtle. No sign of her or the other kittens until day 3, when Myrtle showed up looking hungry (she was still nursing her other three offspring). I kept Piglet in the bathroom and opened the door to let Myrtle in to eat. She heard him (and boy, did he set up some howling) and I got an idea...Myrtle wanted him back so badly, she let me get between her and the door - and I shut the door. The reunion between Myrtle and Piglet was sweet, and boy was he glad to nurse again - the substitute milk I'd been giving him was obviously not as good as the real thing!

Then I took up a night watch and, to make an overly-long story short, over the next three nights, one each night, I got the other three kittens inside, lured by their Mom's voice (she and Piglet shut away in the bathroom for the purpose).

The kittens were about six weeks old and wild as could be (except Piglet, who'd gotten used to all the indignities I had to heap upon him). Myrtle was not happy either. The tortie female was the bravest and the first to let me touch her - I named her Sigourney the Bold (Siggy for short). The colorpoint male was the shyest - he tended to hide and watch as long as he thought he wasn't being observed - I named him Caspar (mostly white and a ghost in terms of seeing him). The last black-and-white male had a "part" in the black fur on his head that made him look like Moe of the Three Stooges, so Moe he became. The exercise of getting them all to the vet for neutering, vaccinations, and de-ear-miting was, to say the least, challenging.

A bit over 18 months later, Moe and Caspar are living with my Mom and are two lovebugs - see Behavior Forum, Eating With Paw for a little more about Moe. Myrtle still won't let me pick her up, but is very much into belly rubs and, whenever she wants to go out, she can be distracted by a skritchle on her head. The kittens let me pick them up, and are becoming more and more comfortable with human contact - some day I'll be able to get the flea stuff on them! Hope it's soon! Siggy is still Bold (read: test everything to destruction). Piglet has grown to be twice the size of his mother, his coat is glorious, and "Piglet" he ain't - I also call him Mr. Magnificent.

Well, I don't have a digital camera, but I have some photos I can post eventually - currently my PC is getting fixed and I'm using a loaner, so I haven't got the photos available - but I will post them whenever...

This is such a great site, and I'm especially touched how many members have taken in strays and ferals, who are not always easy to work with but who need love and care so much. As for me, well, I have NO INTENTION of getting....any more cats.

post #2 of 15
Welcome Carolyn to TCS!! Sounds like you have a wonderful kitty family - would love to see pics
post #3 of 15
Hi, welcome to TCS.

I am sitting here smiling over your tale about how your precious ferals came to live wtih you.
I can hardly wait to see their pictures.

post #4 of 15
Hi and welcome! What a wonderful story.
post #5 of 15
Hello & welcome to TCS. That was quite a story. I can't wait to visit the other forums & read your others. My 13 1/2 m/o cat Blossom was found by my son when she was 3 weeks old. The only other strays I've ever had has been birds.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much! Hey, from Oz! Does that mean some of those birds have been emus?
post #7 of 15
Good morning and welcome! What a wonderful story - and one with a happy ending! Thank you sharing. I shall look for further posts from you!
post #8 of 15
Hello, my name is John, welcome to the site
post #9 of 15
Hi and welcome to TCS
post #10 of 15
Welcome, I really enjoyed reading your story!
post #11 of 15
Welcome to TCS!
post #12 of 15
Hi and welcome to TCS! We are so glad you have joined us!

If I can help you with any questions you have about the site, please click on my username and send me a message.
post #13 of 15
Hello & Welcome to the Cat Site!

Can't wait to hear more about your kitties & see photos someday

Best Wishes! Enjoy the forums
post #14 of 15
Hola y bienvenido a TCS, ...Catulina y Milky te saludan!!........
(Translate: Hi and Welcome to TCS, Catulina and Milky say hello to you!!!...)

See you on the forums!
post #15 of 15
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