Saturday, May 12, 2012
A Band of Brothers
[It was chilly last night, and Charlie Company decided to enjoy some of my body heat while I was watching teevee.]
Libby took the kittens to the vet on Monday, where we discovered that we have three brothers. Charlie Company. There's the nervous squeaky one, black coat just like his mom, very quick, very very curious. He's already climbed over the barrier to our loft bedroom, and will no doubt be balancing on the ledge over the stone floor below within the next week, unless we decide to cardboard ourselves completely into our bedroom (which sucks). This one is "Wuzzy." Perhaps they're all going to end up with different names eventually, in fact it's likely. I've been calling him Wuzzy here. Wuzzy got me up this morning by, um, being there. The cat alarm system is an effective alternative to a radio that brings only bad country music or horrible news, and requires no connection to the grid.
Fuzzy is going to be much bigger than Wuzzy. He's got much softer fur and big feet. He's shy, has a caution about arms reaching for him, yet quickly snuggles up and even purrs now and then, and will go to sleep almost without exception when being petted, unless something very exciting is happening across the room. He has a quiet interest in the world. Last evening I was playing a game of wii tennis and Fuzzy sat and watched atop a scratching post, until the other two attacked him from behind and got him involved in their ongoing tussle. Fuzzy looks at you from under his brow, not exactly straight on.
The most striking of the boys is of course "Bruiser" as I first called him, although now I'm lobbying for "Chessie" and Libby's come up with a different name-a-day. He's the most self-contained, with the softest fur imaginable. He'll snuggle up and purr on his schedule, but doesn't much like to be just picked up at our whim. He likes to rough house with Wuzzy, and we've noticed that when they're all bedding down, he tends to try to nurse one or the other of his brothers. We're not sure about that. Libby's known kittens who grew to cats who never got over nursing inappropriately. "He'll nurse the dots off a chenille bedspread" is something we've heard said. It doesn't sound good. On the other hand, we don't want to be prudes.
I hear that when we get these guys neutered, we'll have to separate them for a week to keep the surgeries safe. That's going to be one tall order. Maybe we can space it out. It's coming up, this next step. Next weekend they'll be "sat" for the first time, as Libby and I have to go play some music out of town. One nice thing is, they keep each other company. I'm not sure if, in the end, we're going to keep all three. It's a major handful. Already we're living in a house with cardboard walls, and while we've never been one for a highly structured, orderly home life (Libby once put a sticker up on the fridge which said, "My only domestic quality is that I live in a house"--I took that to be a significant marriage principle and have tried to take it into consideration at all times, as the years of bliss have rushed by like autumn leaves in a hurricane)--still, having to program the microwave from over a cardboard wall isn't the easiest thing to accomplish.
Meanwhile, the larger world which has come to us continues. Momma is probably pregnant. We're frantically researching trapping methods before some new brood arrives. This week I put out a second plate of food for her as she was acting like she wanted more (in her complex method of signalling me--by showing herself, then hiding, then showing again). I was washing dishes by the door where she eats, and glanced over. There was a new cat there--a gray tabby with an amazing fur ball at the end of his tail, almost like a lion has. Never seen this guy before. Sheesh, now there's three around. I tapped on the window and he flew off the porch and out through the woods. He knew he was trespassing--on my turf. But I'm thinking that we have what in the parlance is known as a "colony." There's certainly plenty of woods out there. We've sighted the momma of course, and the big yellow cat who acts as though he owns the place. Now this third one. Maybe a former kitten from an earlier brood?
If you want to watch lots of videos about catching feral cats, they're certainly there, on youtube. Google "trapping cats" and you're on your way to a morning of delight. There's one I particularly enjoyed involving catching a whole colony with one big trap. The trick there is getting each one into a smaller carrier. It looked easy enough. On the video I mean. Driving a race car looks easy on the video too. Meanwhile, I watch the little waves of responsibility expand, ever wider, out of that moment, so long ago now yet only yesterday, when I saw a mysterious black cat insinuate herself into a distant storage shed. Little did I know.
Anyways, as I was starting to say--the Monday vet trip gave us Charlie Company, a round of worming meds, and a start to the shots they'll all need to be, um, domesticated. Which may in the end mean something akin to Libby's fridge bumper sticker of long ago. The boys do seem to like to use a litter box. I sure didn't teach them that, so there's at least something domesticated about 'em.