Sunday, April 8, 2012
This lovely creature appeared in our yard Saturday a week ago, the day before we went off to Martinsville and the races. Her eyes were gold, and she stared through the window at me once, briefly. When we got back Sunday we discovered three kittens in the little outbuilding where you see the cat. She's leaping off the steps at the sound of the camera shutter, by the way, and I had the cam on zoom. Tame she isn't. We put a cat carrier without the door out there near where she had the kittens, and the next morning she'd moved them inside, where it's warmer. Of course there's been a cold snap since early last week--I even had a wood fire last night, the first in a couple of weeks at least. We've been encouraging the mother to stay with the babies, and she is nursing them. We've brought them inside for brief moments when she's gone to get them a little used to us humans--which as you know have fairly recently lost our kitty to old age. Not that we want three cats. Bridges to cross I guess.
I check on the kittens by talking gently and slowly entering the building. If momma's there there's a very fierce low growl, and I retreat, gently and quietly. I've been leaving her some food when she's gone, near the kittens. Today--Easter--I decided to leave food out on that step, after hearing the growl. Before long she was eating, and I was writing this and watching her from the kitchen window. Then she stopped eating and started loping this way, looking up into the woods. Damn if two dogs didn't appear. Damn. Such is the woodsy life we live. The dogs trotted past, apparently not noticing either her or the food. Momma seemed somewhat to be planning a diversion, and I expect she'd have been willing to even fight one of the dogs if necessary. I went out and shooed them on, and she vanished somewhere--hopefully not too spooked to return to the babies in a bit. The food still sits on the steps where she was eating. Do I remove it to keep dogs from noticing, or leave it there for her.
Such is the problem of interfacing with wild things. Or rather an endless series of what ifs. Shut the door at night to keep them safe, or does that lock out momma, or lock her in when she wants out. Bring the kittens in and try to feed them up ourselves. We tried a bit of that yesterday with little bottles from the vet. The milk wouldn't come out, the kittens were mewling and mystified, and pretty much a barrel of monkeys. One did eat some kitten canned food we had--a good sign unless it is too early and causes her problems we won't know about. Arrrgh!
I wasn't even going to write this particular story--the dogs diverted me as much as they did her, having her nice magical Easter Sunday meal. We'll see. It's as pretty a day as it gets, and the last one before work starts again. I'll stack some wood after a while, and pull for Mickelson. There's also trash to take to the dump, and a mountain of laundry. It was in some ways sorta nice to not worry about getting home to feed the cat(s). Just sayin'.
Monday Update: still dark. I'll go out and open the door to the shed and leave some food on the step for Momma, before I go off to work. I ended up watching most of the Masters, and I'm sure like most I was treated to a wonderful afternoon of, well, racing in a way. First there was the amazing double-eagle. First one in the tourney since 1935. That's pretty Haley's comet if you ask me. There were also two holes-in-one. And the winner, Bubba Watson, now there's a story in itself, a man who has taken no golf lessons, who simply gets how to play, who does his best to play within himself, who'd rather shoot a curve than a straight (one of his press-conference remarks after the win). It was slow-motion NASCAR, without the pettiness, and almost a green-white-checker, the tie at the end of regulation play forcing a playoff that came close to running out of light. All in all, a very nice Easter. Watson may have more wins up his sleeve. If so, we'll get to hear more comments as disarming as his answer to "what were you thinking when you were putting on the Green Jacket?" To paraphrase: "well, I was wondering what kind of helicopter that was taking off over there, and I wanted to ask my caddy about that cause I know he flies the things." That's honesty for ya.