Friday, September 22, 2006

Eight cats, a flattened fox, and the back half of a snake

I think that just about sums up the last week.

Nothing just happens at my house. If there is an occurance of some kind, it is nearly always followed by multiple other calamities of varied size and shape.

I suppose in order to explain all of this, I must first relate the fact that my family has a new puppy. She is a Shetland Sheepdog, lovely, and a darling little baby of a pup. She was added to our menagerie, which up to now only included an incredibly spoiled cat, Myst. Myst believes that Darcy, our puppy, is a retarded kitten with bad personal hygeine and no sense of personal space. Often Myst will smack Darcy with her paws, hissing. Unfortunately, this has only taught Darcy to walk up to Myst, stand up on three legs, and bat at her kitty friend, since Myst never uses her claws and Darcy has come to believe the situation to be a giant game.

The two generally get along, despite the fact that there is some concern over whose food is better, resulting in the two eating each other's food, sometimes waiting in line for the other to finish before setting in on the more favorable of the two dishes.

I had just finished the daily session of teaching dear little Darcy to have an "indoor" bark (or sneeze bark, as I call it), when she began to demonstrate her newfound skill, pacing worriedly about the door to the garage. This continued for some time, until Dad ventured outdoors to find out what the problem was.

Deep in the dark space under his car, two little eyes stared back at him. And then there was a meow.

We had a little kitten visitor.

There was adoration from my family, we love animals. But when we all came out to see the sweet little baby, there were three kittens instead of one.

"Oh, no!" Mom cried. "What if they've been dumped?" her eyes filled with tears.

"No!" I interjected. "I'm sure I saw the mother. Yep, there she is! She's teaching her babies to hunt!" because of course our garage would be the best place to do so, seeing how it is currently home to several mice and a particuarly angry chipmunk, all the while acting as a weekend getaway for some kind of finch. In addition, the garage is the store-all for the garbage on its way to the curb, meaning that dozens of half-eaten meals make their way daily into the Mecca for wild things, our garage.

But I was wrong.

The "Momma Cat" I saw was just another kitten.

Now our count is up to four.

The next day, I thought the kittens had gone. I walked into the garage, looked around, and noticed some kittens asleep on a carpet remnant. Three were there. The fourth was atop a box.

Then I saw number five, hiding in the woodpile. Number six was under my car.

And they all looked so tiny, so lonely. There was only one thing I could do.

I fed them. One, Two, Three, Four, and Five scurried out of their hiding places to munch on kibble. Soon joined by Six, Seven, and Eight.

Eight kittens were living in my garage.

And they didn't want to go anywhere.

We gave them a trip to the humane society the next business day, meaning we had eight kittens for a whole weekend.

I may have said goodbye, but one thing is certain. The memory of those little babies, so cruelly abandoned by the world, remains in the cardboard boxes we store in the garage. We can all walk into the family catch-all, take a deep breath, and realize that our urine-soaked posessions will always remind us.

At least until Dad forks over the money for the garbage guy to come pick them all up.