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Monday, February 15, 2010

Cat on a warm wood fence...and other places! THE ADVENTURES OF (KAT)RINA THE (SOMEWHAT) FEARLESS

Hi, all:

Thought I'd post something fun for the President's Day weekend. Hope y'all enjoy it. Oh, and a Happy (belated) Valentine's Day as well!

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I don't know if I've ever said anything about some of the other activities that WonderWife and I get up to, but one of the things that we've been very involved with over the course of our marriage has been animal fostering and rescue. At the moment, we've got 18 cats, former ferals, that we're socializing for an organization that we belong to, and feeding approximately 25 - 30 more that we're trying to TNR (trap/neuter/return) to the ginormous Southern Baptist university across the street from where we live in WhiteRepublicanLand.

I don't know what possesses those kids, sometimes. I really don't. Of course, I don't understand any sort of animal cruelty, either, whether it's done by children, young folks OR supposed adults (I also don't understand spousal abuse, or elder abuse, or child abuse either). When you take on the responsibility of any sort of pet, even if it's nothing more than a bowl of goldfish, you obligate yourself to taking the responsibility of caring for that animal - and by this, I mean feeding it, nurturing it, taking it to the vet, and, most of all, finding that pet a good home when you either don't want it anymore or can't take care of it any more - and not just taking the easy way out of your responsibilities by dumping it out by the side of the road to fend for itself in an uncaring and dangerous world.

This is how we acquired (Kat)Rina. Her adopter moved out of Texas, and couldn't take her with her when she left, so she left her with us to take care of. She was going to come back and get her, of couse, and if we'd just take care of her for a year until she could afford to get into a house, she'd come and get her. I think if we'd known just how wild and unsocialized this particular cat was, we'd have said thank you, but NO THANKS. Hindsight is almost always 20/20, right? (just as an aside here, we've had her for 11 years now - and she's a wonderful cat)

Her owner dropped her off to us on her way OUT of Houston (we were both at work at the time, so the carrier was left in the shade on the front porch), and left as quickly as she could before we found out that the cute little kitten that we had been told we were getting was actually an abused 3 year-old adult that had never been out of the house in the two years that the former owner had had her. In point of fact, she had spent the last year or so living in a cage in one of the bathrooms. No socialization, no manners, basically no human contact whatsoever.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

We kept the snarling beast in her carrier for a couple of days, which is standard procedure when you're introducing a new cat to a household that already has several. We tried to talk to her, and each of us tried - ONCE - to take her out of the carrier and pet her. WonderWife got 15 stitches, and I got 30, basically because I didn't let go fast enough. Once we let her out, she hid under the couch and under the bed, and behind the freezer, and behind the ice box . . . . basically, anywhere that she could hide from the bunch of us. We had to feed her up on the shelf on top of the washing machine in the garage because she beat up on all the other cats, when they weren't ganging up on her.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

She finally got comfortable enough to venture out of hiding long enough for the other cats to get used to her, for her to get used to them and for there to be at least a truce of sorts between the bunch of them and herself. It took about a year for detente, and that's when the fun started. She had never been outside, you see, and she didn't know what was out there, except that it probably had fangs bigger than hers, and was going to eat her. I happened to see her the first time she went through the cat door onto the back porch, and it was hilarious. I have never seen an animal more hesitant in stepping out, and, the minute that she heard a bird, she hit the door so hard that she knocked herself unconscious. I am a truly heartless person; I sat on the floor beside her, after I made sure she was just knocked silly, and I laughed until I fell over. I mean, I wish I'd had a video camera to record it, because it was priceless.

Just for future reference, cats have no sense of humour. Neither did WonderWife, when she got home from work, and found out what had happened.

She recovered, of course, and the next day, she ventured out into the yard, sort of. She managed to get at least 10 inches from the door. Nothing bad happened, so on the following days (it actually took about 2 weeks), she finally ventured all the way out into the middle of the yard, where she was immediately pounced on by a squirrel, and ignominiously chased back into the house, with the squirrel in hot pursuit. It was about a month before she ventured out again, and I believe that she only went out because both of us were out there, and she felt safe, sort of.

She got bolder and bolder, of course . . . and, unfortunately, so did the squirrel. I used to watch this bastard hide where he could see the door, and wait for her to get far enough from the door that he could jump on her, bite her, and run her back inside the house. Since I couldn't shoot it, all I could do was try to be outside when he was chasing her - and, one day, SHE got upset enough and mad enough to chase him back. Back and forth and back and forth and back and forth they went, until the squirrel ran up the side of the 10 foot wooden fence on one side of the yard - and Rina didn't stop. She slammed into the fence so hard that it shook, and she knocked herself silly AGAIN.

Mr. Squirrel thought this was hilarious, of course (who says that squirrels don't have a sense of humour?) - and he added a new way to torment her, by running her all over the yard, and then jumping on the fence and running away. So, one day, Rinagot up on the catwalkway on the 6 foot side of the fence, and chased him. Unfortunately, he ran up the 10 foot side, and jumped from there to the next-door neighbor's roof. She tried to do that, and fell with a mighty splash into their hot tub. That in and of itself would have been bad enough, but unfortunately, both of them were in it at the time. My next-door neighbor's wife came shrieking over to our house dressed in nothing but scratches and outrage, demanding that I come and get that damned cat out of their hot tub. Which I did, of course.

Poor thing was wailing mightily and trying her best to get out, my next-door neighbor's husband was standing there dressed only in a smile and scratches (much more of him than I EVER wanted to see, believe me!), and was laughing himself silly at the spectacle. I managed to retrieve her without damaging the tub lining; I, unfortunately, wasn't quite so lucky. 65 stitches that time . . . and of course, I paid for their scratches. Fortunately, they are cat-lovers, and they finally were persuaded that, since most of the damage was to their dignities, they wouldn't sue. Thank goodness!

Rina DID get her revenge, however, but that's a tale for another time!

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