Depending on your definition, I could be considered a crazy cat lady. My girlfriends asked if they needed to stage an intervention and it was decided that if my house ever reeks to high heaven of cat, or if I ever have more cats than people living in the house--then they need to do an intervention. Have you seen that Animal Hoarder show? That is some crazy stuff. I try to catch an episode a week--just to keep myself in check.
Here is our current situation.
The short version of the story is that I have been taking care of some homeless cats for the last few months. I feed them a few times a week and I set up a little cat house to keep them out of the cold. Some other people have also been helping out, but no one is really taking responsibility for them.
The group is made up of about ten cats. A mama and several of her kittens (about six-months old,) and some other random cats that just joined the herd.
Well, I called all of the organizations out there hoping I could get them adopted or in some kind of foster home. Apparently, there are a lot more cats out there than there are cat people.
No More Homeless Pets (I actually just typed Pests on accident) suggest a TNR approach to the "Feral Cat Problem." They suggest people like me use special traps to catch the cats, then take them to get neutered, then return them to their "colony" where they live out the remainder of their lives. Then they aren't just killed in a shelter, but they also don't procreate and add to the overpopulation problem.
I have been on a waiting list to borrow their traps--just hoping, that in the meantime, none of them did any mating.
A week ago, while the kids were off track, we went to feed them and we discovered that Mama cat was expecting. I knew that the Humane Society would spay a pregnant cat. I also didn't want her to disappear, so I picked her up and put her in the van.
(It is obvious that, at one point, Mama was with a family. She is so friendly and sweet.)
As we were driving home, Andrew asked about our plans with the cat. He worried what Dad was going to think. I told him that we would take her in and see if they could get her fixed. Bev then piped up and asked what would happen to the kittens. Um, well, that wasn't so easy to answer. We had a long discussion about some pretty tough issues. Bev cried.
Then Andrew asked how much all of this was going to cost and who was going to pay for it. (The apple didn't fall too far from the tree.) I told him that we were going to pay for it. Then he really worried how Dad was going to feel about this whole thing.
We brought her home and put her in the garage. Mike borrowed a kennel from his parents and we set her up with a little house--just until we could get her into the vet.
On Tuesday, Andrew and Bev got up early and we had her to the Humane Society at 7:30 a.m. for her evaluation. When we took her out of the carrier to see the vet, the vet said that she was "very pregnant" and due in about 2 weeks. That it was up to me about the "procedure," but that she didn't suggest it. Then, I cried.
She was petting Mama and telling me that Mama really wants to be a house cat and that she is lucky to have a family take care of her and find homes for her kittens. I cried some more.
The kids were thrilled. We packed her up and drove home. I told Mike the news and he was just sort of quiet and then went to work.
I was worried how he was going to deal with this fiasco--he doesn't need any more stress in his life. When he got home he said that we really shouldn't keep her in the kennel in the garage--that she should have more space. Bev and I were trying to come up with something in the basement when he suggested we use the kid's bathroom upstairs. He cut the hole in the box for her house, we got her a litter box and set up food and water. My allergies act up when I go in to see her, so tonight, he helped me give her a bath.
I have googled a lot about cats--how many kittens she might have (between 1 and 8--oh please let it be closer to the 1 side,) how to tell gender (google that one yourself,) how to help her care for them (we will love that part,) how to find loving homes for the dear ones (at 8-12 weeks they can be adopted.)
It will be an adventure.