The kitten project, part 2
As National Cat Day comes to a close, I want to update you on our kitten project. Also, this is a rare opportunity to point out that occasionally we actually do complete something.
We captured Ditto a few weeks after Dot and Dash. Spaying, neutering, and vaccinating three kittens wasn’t cheap. The next time we do this, we’ll seek out a budget spay/neuter clinic. We could have saved more money by skipping the vaccines and boosters, but we wanted to give these little ones the best possible start in life. As outdoor cats, they will face challenging times ahead, even if they have a 24-hour buffet bar.
From left: Dash, Dot, and Ditto.
As much as I hated to think of them going back to being porch cats, these kitties were not destined to become indoor pets. They stayed with us for seven weeks, and during that time, despite interacting with us daily (and enjoying first-class hospitality, I might add) none of them showed the slightest desire to be our buds. They allowed me to touch them only when my finger was coated with Fancy Feast. When I bent my face down close to the cage, Dash stretched upwards to put his sweet little face up to mine … and spat at me. I got his unambiguous message.
One night we decided we’d let them explore the living room, knowing that we could lure them back into their cage with food. We closed off the other rooms and let them out. They promptly disappeared under the furniture like hamsters. Dot and Dash refused to return to the cage until the next day. Three days later, we forcibly prodded Ditto out from the lining of our box spring and threw a blanket over her. So ended the run-of-the-house experiment.
We could have let Dot and Dash go a few weeks ago, but once we caught Ditto, we wanted to make sure they bonded as a family again. I don’t know if that was important to the kittens, but it felt important to us. Then, with Ditto’s spay stitches removed, it was time to set them free.
The hadn’t seen the outdoors since the beginning of September. Summer had turned decidedly fall, and they shivered—with cold, or anxiety? Dot made her break first.
Ditto ran to catch up with her sister.
Dash thought about it for a bit … then he was gone, slipping between the porch rails.
They beat a trail back to their former lair under the house next door. We hope they will move into the cozy kitty chalet that Eric built. If they don’t, surely someone else will.
I was going to write this post the same day we let them go, but I was so sad, I couldn’t do it. I feel better now that we routinely see the trio cavorting on our porch and sleeping on the swing. They seem happy, although they’re as skittish as ever. The mere appearance of our faces in the window sends them skedaddling for cover.
Duke was upset the day after the kittens were gone. He hung his head and led me to the spot where their cage used to stand in the dining room. I assured him I knew the kittens were gone, and that it was okay. We miss their antics (especially the wrestling matches accompanied by growls and squeals), their rapt expressions as we talked to them, and the thuds during the night as they tossed toys around.
Dash, Dot, and Ditto … be careful out there. Holler if you need anything.