Just when we thought we couldn't handle one more thing, our neighbor informed us she had been seeing 2 new small kittens in her yard. Since we had already taken 5 kittens from her I couldn't think of a way to refuse. So I went and get them. These kittens are much younger than the first batch, probably just over a month old. But they are already rather feral.
They hiss and spit at us when we first approach, but unlike the older kittens, they seem to relax when we pick them up. They are small and fragile-feeling, with worm-bloated bellies and blue eyes. Their appearance has made taming the first group a little harder, but also sheds a light on the fact that this problem will not go away on its own. We need to get this colony fixed and fast.
We have inquiries in to the two main spay clinics, the ASPCA and The Toby Project. We also have a friend who has connections who will split a spay van with us if it becomes available. The whole thing is exactly the sort of slow-burning stress that I was really hoping to avoid this summer. But we don't always get to pick our battles. There are some 15 cats across the street who need fixing yet, they range from mostly feral to hardly feral; I was able to pet several of them while I was trapping the kittens. That means against all odds these street-born cats have learned how to tame themselves, at least when food is around. It's kind of depressing when you realize how intelligent an animal is, and what it means for the hardships they've had to endure. You just think, they know how bad they have it.
Anyway, the real crux of the biscuit right now is that we are on the eve of our first out-of-town trip in over a year. To bring about such a momentous feat, we needed the help of lots of people. We not only have a sitter for the cats, we have one for the house (and birds, and plants) and one for these kittens. Not to mention all the great advice we've gleaned from other friends who are way more knowledgeable than us on kittens. It's been years since we've had kittens in the house and these are tougher as they're already somewhat feral. And there's SEVEN of them.
So thanks to all our sitters and fosters and advice-givers, I sort of wish all of this work was going to a more exotic trip. But in reality we will be attneding the 100th birthday party for one of Jeannie's aunts, in Northern Minnesota. Rock on!
We'll also be visiting Jeannie's old haunts in Minneapolis, my first time there, so that will be pretty cool, too. At any rate it's 7 days of Super 8 Motel continental breakfasts and cable tv! But when we get back, it's right back to kitten-taming and cat fixing business as usual.