Seriously. I must be a cat magnet. Back in June, my son and daughter came running into the house screaming something about kittens and our shed. We went outside to discover, lo and behold, these little creatures:
A feral cat, part-Siamese by the looks of things, had a litter of kittens underneath our shed. My children were delighted, my husband and I less so. We were about to leave on a 3-week vacation. I had visions of the mother, driven by hunger since we wouldn't be there to feed her, abandoning these kittens. The image coming back to find a pile of dead kittens (worst case scenario) or the idea of these kittens growing up feral and then breeding more kittens (not much better case scenario) kept me up at night. Thus began a round of phone calls trying to find somewhere to take them so they could be adopted out.
Fortunately, two days before we were going to fly to Scotland, I found someone who would take them. The trick...we had to catch them first. By this point, the mother had done a good job of teaching the kittens to be afraid of us. After a whole day of stalking and capture attempts, we caught two. That night, the mother stole off with the remaining four. We took them to the Cat Lady (my kids' term), with my children crying bitterly the whole time.
Last week, we saw three of those same kittens behind the shed again. I don't know what happened to the fourth. Judging by the hissing and the speed with which they took off, I think the mother has done a pretty good job of making these kittens feral, too.
Two days ago, we heard crying out in front of our house. I opened the door to find a skinny little black and white cat. Unlike the kittens, he was sweet, well-groomed and affectionate. I figured he was lost and would find his way home again. Nope. Yesterday, he cried at my door all morning, so I finally put some food out. He wolfed it down so fast it brought tears to my eyes. In the afternoon, he was still hanging around so as soon as my children got off the bus, we proceeded to walk the two miles around our neighborhood trying to find his owner. The little cat followed us the whole time, plaintively meowing. No luck.
Then, we loaded him into the back of the car (with no cat carrier, I trapped him under the laundry basket weighed down with a couple of hand weights) and drove to the nearest vet to have him scanned, hoping he was microchipped. Nope. I asked the vet tech what we could do. She told me they could take him off our hands, but it would cost $200 for vaccinations and boarding. Yikes! She gave me a list of shelters and I bought a few cans of food and brought him home. He is now living on my porch while we figure out what to do.
Unfortunately, my son is asthmatic and is allergic to cats. This has not stopped my children from naming the cat Justin (??? -- we could understand it if he were a long-hair but ????) and begging us to keep him. My husband and I are debating as to whether we could take the chance that it won't affect my son's health, or whether it could stay as an outdoor cat (I worry about the major roads that run near our neighborhood, or about the summers when it is 100+ degrees).
[There's supposed to be a cute photo of Justin here but Blogger's messing with me. Again.]
Justin is currently outside, lounging on my sun chair. He is grooming Tuna Medley from his whiskers, oblivious to my desperate attempts to find him a loving home. Anyone near San Antonio in the market for a cute cat?