Monday, October 13, 2008

Cats and Rats and Elyphants and sure as you're born ...

No sorry I fibbed, no elyphants in this blog.

First came the cats, then came the kittens, then came more kittens … and then came the rat!

Now somehow for this blog I’m supposed to tie all of this into preparedness, being prepared, or homemaking, or some similar subject. Right? Right!

My last blog talked about the woodpile. This blog talks a little bit about our woodpile, so maybe that will have to be the tie-in.

Several months ago the people living in the house next door moved out in the middle of the night. Unknown to us they deserted five animals; three cats and two dogs. The cats found their way to our house crying and mewling. But you don’t feed a cat or it will stay. Right? Right!

We didn’t feed, but the cats continued to come, becoming more and more gaunt – except for two of them, which were gaunt and getting fatter at the same time. The two dogs disappeared.

One day a neighbor mentioned the disappearance of the next-door neighbors.

By now it had been almost two weeks. I finally gave in and fed the cats.

The grateful creatures became permanent residents. Two of them, (the chubby ones) are quite wild and frightened of humans.

The light dawned and I named the chubby calico Momma, the Tabby cat Tabidy, and the gray kitty- Kitty.

Kitty quickly became a house cat, Momma had a batch of five kittens which she kept hidden. About four weeks later Tabidy hid a batch of kittens somewhere.

We discovered that Momma’s kittens were living in our woodpile. They were roaming wild in our garden and woodpile, terrified of humans.

Terror did not keep the kittens from venturing into our house in pursuit of Momma. We got used to seeing small, furry streaks of fur heading down the hallway toward the door – which some human left open so that they could get out … or in.

A week or so ago my husband was sitting in his office working on the computer and caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. Thinking it was one of the courageous kittens he kept working. More movement. So he looked. Staring back at him, in our house was a “cute,” black and white, teenage sized, pet rat. You read it right. A rat!

Turning his head to give the rat his full attention evidently got the rat’s full attention and it zipped around the corner under a dresser.

Thinking I could coax it out I tossed it morsels of cat food (naturally), which it blithely picked up and munched as would a hamster … or rat.

I then opened the outside door, found a yardstick and began prodding the creature to get him out. Finally, he came out, took one look at me, went racing out the back door, across the small yard – straight into the woodpile!

We assumed that was the end of our Ratatouille.

When what to our wondering eyes should appear two weeks later? In the flower garden, cavorting with the kittens, under the noses of three adult (but demented) cats – our Ratatouille.

Just last week, while I picked green beans a row or so away, Momma cat and two kittens lay down at the far end of the squash plants. Curled up on the other side of Momma was the rat.

In our yard, running towards the big cats, a rat. Greeting the rat, big cats. Playing with the rat, five wild kittens. Eating out of the same pans with cats, the rat.

We now have a cat trap to try to catch five wild kittens, rapidly turning into cats. Would you like to wager who will be first, second and third to be caught?

Now, how do I tie this into preparedness? I don’t know, but it has certainly been a fun adventure to watch. Our son says we must have a sign in front of our house in animal code that says, “free food” or “bed, breakfast and friends.”

Prepared? No we weren’t prepared to take on three cats, ten kittens and a rat! But what could I do? I’m really glad there was not “elyphant.”

Return to the Neighborhood


Candace E. Salima said...

Very funny. Sorry you're dealing with that. Something is seriously skewed in the universe when a rat plays with cats.