Monday, September 8, 2008

Meet the new family

In my days as an animal rescue volunteer, I've had a few adventures. Usually, I come home with a cat from the rescue shelter to prepare for adoption. I've had everything from just curing the sniffles to birthing kittens to bringing emaciated to healthy. This new endeavor was the first time I took a neighborhood cat in. And let me tell you, I didn't plan it.

In my apartment complex, we have many stray cats. It is unclear with most of them whether they were abandoned or are runaways or even just started out life on the streets. Some of them are tended to by residents and some travel back and forth to many different locations for food and shelter. Nimue was, unfortunately, the result of abandonment.

Nimue belonged to my neighbor. It seems like only yesterday that she was a tiny kitten with an Upper Respiratory Infection. I watched her grow up and transition from indoor only to in and out whenever she wanted. When I learned that my neighbor was getting evicted, I also learned that Nimue was pregnant. I could have sworn that she had been spayed! I remember having the discussion of "low cost spaying" with my neighbor. But she obviously didn't go through with it.

When my neighbor moved, I never saw Nimue again. I thought this meant that she had found a home for her. She had talked about someone that was thinking of taking her eventhough she was pregnant. But last Friday she suddenly appeared in the courtyard. And now I could tell she was pregnant. I called her to me and tried to pet her eventhough she's never let me pet her before. She did come over and let me pet her for a minute. Then she got hissey and ran away. I just chalked it up to her being crazy and half wild. That's what I'd always thought before and honestly I was shocked she came to me in the first place.

Saturday I spoke with my neighbor's mother who still lives here in her own unit. She can't have cats due to a severe allergy in her husband's family, so she couldn't take her in. I also learned that my neighbor had locked both Nimue and her other adult cat in the apartment when she moved and someone was supposed to be feeding them, but it was unclear if they really were. I got her to agree to care for the adult cat who had always been an outdoor cat. All she needed to do for her is feed her on the patio and keep her shots updated. But Nimue was out of luck. So getting permission to trap or capture Nimue wasn't a problem.

The capture was interesting. As well as filled with a whole lot of stupid. I went to look for Nimue that afternoon feeling full well that she wouldn't let me catch her. So I didn't even take a carrier or a cage. I hadn't even picked up the trap yet from the rescue. To my surprise, when I came down the steps from her house, she was waiting for me. Not only that, but she came to me and actually nuzzled me for attention. So I picked her up. She was a little unhappy with that, but not terribly so. Then I remembered that I didn't have a carrier. But I was on a roll, so I chanced it. I brought her in the apt with only my hands holding her. Boy was that a disaster! It ended in a standoff between her and my dog and all of my cats behind a trunk in my livingroom. I had to lock up the cats and instruct Maizy to stay on her bed in order to get her. And I still had to use the Towel Capture method. But I did get her into a carrier to take her to the rescue for a look see, however not without any bloodshed. I came away with quite a few scrapes and gouges.

All we accomplished at the rescue shelter was to decide she was Much too agitated to try to do blood tests and that she probably had a couple of weeks left of her term. Oh and we met the Cutest pair of dachsund puppies Ever! But that's beside the point. I grabbed a large mommie cage and we headed home. Once we got home, I put the cage together and put her in it and she began to try to relax. By Sunday she was a happy camper. She still was extremely hostile to all the other animals in the house, but if I closed the door to the bathroom and let her out of the cage with just me, she was very sweet and wanted a lot of attention. We continued to make progress like this all day and I began to think that she was a lot tamer than I had originally thought.

So we come to Monday morning, today.

I was going through my routine of getting ready for work, but with the bathroom door closed so I could let her wander out of her cage in the bathroom with me. She was doing fine. Then I left the bathroom and came back to put her away and I couldn't find her. I called her name. I was answered with a rather unsettling yowl. I panicked and began frantically looking for her. I found her in the closet and she was laying down like she was going into labor. Right then I knew that I was Very lucky to have decided to catch her when I did. Especially since she was obviously having a painful labor and may need to ultimately go to the vet. So I called in late to work and settled down for an uncertain amount of time waiting for kittens.

While I was calling my boss and amongst a Lot of loud yowling, so loud in fact, that I had to leave the room to make the call, kitten #1 was born in my closet on my fabric cutting board. And just to keep with the theme of the day, while I was preparing the rest of the animals for the day, food, potty time, etc., kitten #2 was born. Apparently Nimue is shy.

At the end of the day, once I finally went to work and finished my day, we were still left with just two kittens. Which is a sigh of relief. I don't know if I could handle a litter of even 4 plus mom plus my animals again.

So without further ado, meet the new family. I'm not sure of their sexes yet, so I've not named them. I'm thinking of some good ones now though, so once we decide what sex they are, they'll be named straight away.



With Mom, Nimue.