A little over a month ago, I found a litter of three kittens. The mom of these kittens is the same one responsible for many litters and has evaded all attempts at trapping. Luckily, she lives within eyesight of their feeding place and I found these babies when they were still young enough. After finding this litter, I started making phone calls to see who could take them and foster them until they are tame enough and get them good homes. All the organizations that have taken kittens from me before were up to their eyeballs in kittens and I was turned down by all of them. As a last ditch resort, I posted a message on my university's list server and I got a bite. A really nice woman whose fiance just got her into doing cat rescue after growing up in a kitty foster home. The couple is very nice and they agreed to take the three kittens and try to socialize them. If they were too old to be socialized, they could live as ferals in their large back yard. It seems like whenever I feel I am at the end of the rope with this cat thing, more caring, generous people come forward and help.
It was during one of the first attempts at trapping these kittens that we found Dixie and her sibling. Dixie went easily into the trap. I've seen her sibling only twice since, and Dean has seen it once. Unfortunately, I have little hope at this point of getting to it in time for it to be properly socialized. After trapping Dixie I was freaking out not knowing what to do with her. I explained the new situation to the foster lady who still agreed to take her. As you all know by now, in the meantime my mom and step dad decided they couldn't live without her, and subsequently Dixie spent two and a half weeks at our home. After successfully (I think, mom may disagree!) socializing her and becoming very attached to her, I flew her up with me to Minneapolis for Christmas and handed her over. It was a perfect situation, I got to stay with her (and my parents) while adjustments were made, and I'm ecstatic knowing I get to see her often and watch her grow. And she is doing fantastic. But still, it was tough.
In the meantime, about a week into fostering Dixie we trapped the first of the three. She is hard to describe so I will show a picture:
A friend of a friend was interested in taking one of my kittens, so I called him and we tried to work something out. The good news was that he had experience with ferals and was willing to take her and tame her himself, which would have been necessary since I was about to leave for the holidays. The bad news was his girlfriend wasn't quite ready for a kitty. In the meantime, this little one stayed with us a couple days before I drove her across town to her foster home. She is doing great. But giving her up kinda sucked.
The night before leaving for Minneapolis, we caught the second of the three. A brown tabby (he looked just like Wrigley as a baby) but I was in too much of a hurry to take a photo of him. I dropped him off at the same foster home late that night. He currently has a home waiting for him after he gets just a little more people-friendly. I'm very happy about that, no mixed feelings.
There was still one more kitten out there which Heather and her boyfriend tried trapping several times while I was away. I was concerned he was getting a little too old to be socialized, but I remembered the foster couple's willingness to try hard and keep them if they didn't warm up. Dean and I kept a close eye on him while feeding and over the weeks I was gone and after I got back. Dean fell in love with this little one's spunkiness, watching it run around in the wilderness and attacking unsuspecting adult cats. I have to admit the little bugger grew on me too. I tried trapping it Friday and Saturday. Sunday I finally trapped him, a little "cow kitty":
I called the foster couple anticipating bringing him over Sunday night. They didn't return my call. I didn't know if I had upset them or if they didn't want to give me bad news about the other kittens. I was about out of my mind. In the meantime, we kept the kitty in the bathroom, and subsequently socialized him a little. By yesterday he was sitting in my lab, rubbing up against my face and eager to play with our grown up cats. Unfortunately, they didn't like him very much so we had to keep the poor little guy separated. Yesterday we had resigned ourselves to keeping him since he was too old for other rescue groups and the foster people were seemingly avoiding me. It was literally while we were picking out names for him that we got the call that the foster couple could take him.
That was rough. I asked Dean if he wanted to tell them no and keep the kitten anyway. It wasn't a matter of wanting to, it was making a mature decision. We knew we could have taken on another kitty, one that needed a home and was all out of options. But it was clear, this one was going to do just fine. The foster couple would love him, and I am confident if they are willing to give him up, someone will adopt him in no time.
Alas, ours is the home for wayward cats. We adopted Nellie because she was dumped either right before or right after having a litter of kittens. People adopted her cute little babies, but moms don't go as fast. Wrigley came to us before the Tampa Bay Humane Society changed their policy to no-kill for space. We couldn't roll the dice on him and didn't know about the other great rescue organizations here. And Allison was a black cat (typically the toughest to adopt out) in another unfriendly shelter. So we'll stay that way, and be here when needed. But in the meantime, let me just summarize. In the last month we've taken in this:
They came. They stayed. They moved on. And our hearts broke just a little.