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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Katmandu - Kat-Wo-Man-Don't

I live out in the middle of nowhere. (Yes, that's my exact address, send me mail and presents.) Rural communities, no matter what part of the world, have one thing in common, stray cats. The country is like a drop box for unwanted cats.

People, usually city folk, take a drive to see Granny, who lives out in the middle of nowhere. When they get home to a cat that has pissed all over their carpet, they make a mental note to themselves, "Take Fluffy for a ride next time we head out to Granny's."

When I moved into my house four years ago, there were roughly 25 stray cats. Not people's pets who roam the area, strays. And, no, I am not exaggerating, 25. The same type of strays who spray their territory, attack the birds and crap in random yards. My yard.

A couple summers ago one of these darling strays, snuck into my open garage, crept into my house, reached through the bars of the bird cage and pulled an Ozzie. That's right, it ate our dove. Pulled her little body right through the bars of her cage. The plume of feathers was the first clue. The trail ended in an adjoining yard, where Diamond, our beloved family bird, lay dead.

My daughter trained this bird, as much as one can train a dove, anyhow. The news was devastating to her. I was lucky enough to be able to remove all of the evidence before she came back from playing outside. We buried Diamond in the farthest part of the yard, really deep so she wouldn't be dug back up. We had a mini ceremony for her, led by my sad little girl.

"Diamond was not just a bird. She was a feathered angel, who loved everyone, even cats. Probably even the stupid meanie who murdered her."
"Nice eulogy, honey. Let's just say goodbye."

Trying to console a child who lost a pet in such a violent manner is tough. I talked to her about a plan to get rid of the strays in a humane way. She liked the idea and focused her energy on the positive. But the next day, when I called our local animal control, I found out, there are no ordinances, rules or laws of any kind regarding cats, and they don't pick up strays.

On the phone with animal control, I said, "Let me get this straight, we have a county animal control, only, you refuse to control cats?"

It was up to us. We began befriending the strays. Once we gained their trust, we brought them into our home, one by one, some times litter by litter, cleaned them up, deloused them, clipped their nails, took them to the vet, had them spayed or neutered and found them homes.

Within three years, my daughter and I, have placed 21 cats and kittens into homes.

As spring draws nearer, I am noticing more new strays. When winter arrived, there were less than five regulars roaming. Now there are more, lots more. I haven't actually counted and a couple of them have the telltale signs of more kittens on the way.

Guys, I don't wanna be the crazy cat lady down the street. It's ugly, it's nasty, no one likes her. People say her yard smells of cat piss and she talks to herself. So if any of you have good ideas, please pass them along.

Please try your best to refrain from suggesting, a beebee gun, paintball gun, pellet gun, Super Soaker 2000, .22 cal., .38 cal. ect. Mr. Lane has already shot all of those ideas out there.

Welcome fellow Denniers. Denny, thank you for making Home Fires your blog of the day!