I got up really early today, Saturday. I was feeling a little better, so I came online, initiated a new blog (which I’ll get into at another time), checked email, surfed- the usual. At around 6am, I started to think that Little Drake was going to get up soon and that I should at least have some coffee. Went into the kitchen and heard the sound of meowing and thought that I’ll leave the cat in the back stairwell because it serves it right for getting in there in the first place. My thoughts revisited the argument I had with the neighbor on the third floor about her feeding all the cats in the neighborhood and how when they get inside through her entrance, they pee and crap all over the basement. If you remember, last summer, I was disgusted and upset because of the cat (or dog) waste smell underneath our windows. Probably cat because I saw one using that area for a litter box. The argument diffused as we both vented and had our say.

This morning as I fed Little Drake, the meows started up again and I thought that I should finally let them out. I opened the back door to the stairwell, and to my surprise, there were no cats there. I peered through the backdoor window onto our tiny porch and did not see any cats there, so I resumed our breakfast. A little while later, I heard it again and thought that it was strange because I didn’t hear the neighbors going out, which would let them in. I looked outside again and saw four tiny bodies on the porch. I said, “Oh shit!”, and opened the door, immediately noticed that one had already perished. It looked so still. I stopped myself from touching them because the mother is a feral cat. Between going back and forth to the door, and feeding LD spoonfuls of oatmeal, I managed to 1- slip a towel outside in an attempt to warm them up, grab the bowl and basket from the front porch and bring them to the kitchen, fill the bowl with cat food, rearrange the filthy blanket in the basket, with paper towel in hand, picked up each remaining kitten and placed it in the basket, then slipped the basket outside, then placed water outside. Whew! Each interaction with the outside was made slowly and briefly so that the mother would come back right away.

My next task was the most sorrowful. With the paper towel I used for it’s siblings, I picked up the deceased one and cradled it in my arm like I did with LD as an infant. Wrapped in paper, it seemed as if it was merely sleeping except that it was cold, but not yet completely stiff. It must have just passed and I grieved because I thought that if I had caught on sooner that it was kittens mewing instead of annoying half grown cats who are always coming in, then screaming to get out, I could have maybe saved this life. I will never know that for sure, but in that moment, one life grieved another life in the middle of my kitchen this morning. Next, I brought myself to wrap it up totally and placed it in a temporary coffin of Huggies wipes. I will probably need to put it outside so that the cold will slow it’s decomposition, but for now, let it know the warmth it was denied earlier. Maybe she was the first one to be transported from the birth den, wherever that was, and her little body maybe saved the next sibling when it, too, arrived at our back door.

God can be so ironic. Another reason to really watch what you say and do. I have never shown this feral mother cat nothing but animosity, always chasing her away because she was intimidating our own cats and taking their food, who are outside cats. Why she would bring her kittens to me in a snow storm is beyond anything that I would expect. Divine Irony which I notice because while I am adamant that we should get rid of this cat problem, I have compassion for them because they are really the innocents in this story. Unfortunately, if their food source continues to be available like this, they will be the ones to suffer in the end. Humans feeding them falls out of the realm of nature. Nature’s plan is that these animals are hunters. They must hunt for their food. Feeding them, makes it too easy for them to reproduce and they DO. Overcrowding of these animals in one place is not good for them as well as for us.

As you can see, there is a love-hate relationship going on here. I have always known animals, grew up with dogs and the occasional cat. About five years ago, I got my own little kitten, Simba, and it was love at first sight. He has always known Smokey, our other cat. Right before LD was born, we had to put them outside because they were defecating in the house, more as a territorial thing between them, than because I was pregnant… I think. Anyway, I could not handle this behavior with the relative immediate birth of our son and put them outside. They got on out there well with relatively mild winters and we kept feeding them, which we really did not need to because the ones upstairs constantly put food outside for all the neighborhood cats. These are people who cannot afford to feed themselves (supposedly) yet they are spending money on cats. This seems like another post coming on, so I will get back to this subject.

While I love animals and my cats, I must be realistic because I will be acting within my own realm of capacity. Being realistic means that I cannot catch wild cats and have them fixed, male and female. My own cats are not capable of reproducing and I made sure of that right away. I cannot tolerate another hot summer with the odor of cat feces wafting in through my windows, which is bound to get worse this coming hot season. I know exactly the area my own cats use for their litter box and it’s not near the house. I want to get rid of all these feral cats, even if it means sending them to the pound. We have an animal control agency that will take them, but we must catch them. See, there is no such thing as a “dog catcher” anymore. I don’t know what the deal is with them, maybe they see doing their jobs as beneath them, who knows. But in this day and age, the taxpayer must do the work and they will just come and pick up the animals, already caged. Last summer when this first came up, I could not leave my son alone in the house so that I could catch cats. I still don’t know how I will manage this, but I must take responsibility myself and do it. I know that people might say that I’m being cruel; but truly, two summers ago there were only 2 neutered male cats, last summer five kittens. Presently, there are no less than five adult cats sitting in the backyard, beneath my porch, in a sort of Alfred Hitchcock remake of the “Birds”, with one mommie cat and three newborns nesting on my porch. Those five half grown cats from last year will replicate themselves with a vengeance if this artificial feeding pattern doesn’t cease and desist… and I mean NOW!

UPDATE 3/17/07 (12:37 p.m.): She allowed me to take some pics: