Friday, June 26, 2009

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

So, there is a pretty sizable stray/feral cat population in my neighborhood. Someone abandoned their house before being foreclosed upon way down on the other end of my street the year before last and turned out their unneutured female cat. Well, that year she had a litter of kittens under my next door neighbors' shed and while I was able to trap two of them and take them to the animal shelter, the other two got away. More cats showed up and now they are all breeding & out of control.

We used to have dozens of bunnies hopping through the yard everyday, now it's rare if I see a single one. I've also noticed a sad lack of bullfrog song at my pond this year- I usually can count on about 4-6 of them to call my pond home each summer. The last one was found dead this past Sunday belly up in my neighbors yard. Recently another neighbor complained of a stray cat that had a litter of kittens beneath his bush and showed them to anyone who would look until of course, the mother moved her brood to the property behind my house. I live behind a distribution giant and a long 14 foot high stockade fence seperates the residential properties from the commercial one. The strays have dug numerous holes to pass thru and in the past few weeks two of these kittens have hung around my neighbors porch since he keeps out cracked corn for the squirrels and the birds. Apparently small kittens will eat the corn as well.

To make a long story short, I caught one of the kittens. She's about 8 weeks old & well into eating solid food. I would dearly love to keep this kitten but I'm afraid I am fighting an uphill battle with hubby. Shhhh...don't tell him, but I've named her Zoey. She still hisses at me but I've also had her purring. And she does so appreciate the regular feedings : )

So here's where it got ugly:
I also managed to trap the mother with the idea of getting her neutered and releasing her as she is completely feral and unfit as a pet. Unfortunately she threw a monkey wrench into the works by giving me an unhealthy bite on the finger as I was trying to get food into the cage. I've just spent two nights in the hospital -not, mind you, to get rabies shots, but to have surgery performed on my infected index finger! In fact, the infectious disease doctors are not overly concerned with the possibility I may have rabies even though I told them the mother has a scabbed wound on her head. They are more concerned with me losing the use of my forefinger due to the nasty bacteria that resides in cats mouths. Since I have the cat in a covered dog crate on my porch I am able to observe her. If she not dead within ten days of rabies she was not transmitting...apparently the virus must reach their brains in order to be present in the saliva. I've had her since Monday and so far she is acting fine- xxx crossing fingers xxx.

So a delay in the plans and a word to the wise -Never, ever, handle stray cats with out heavy duty gloves or you may have an unexpected stay in the hospital.

Another sad note: when we got home from the hospital we were out back watering our gardens and this poor tragic squirrel was dragging himself past us to reach the shelter of the thick hostas at the base of our maple tree. My husband thought he might have been hit by a car but I noticed his legs were not smashed just useless and dragging and he was covered in green-headed flies so I expect he had a run in with a stray cat as well. At least wildlife management came & took it to euthanize it quickly instead of it suffering a horrible lingering death : _(



Light and Shadow Studio said...

Oh my, how sad Josie. I am really sorry you got bit and your poor finger! That is just terrible. I am really sad about the cats. Cats can kill an incredible amount of birds and wildlife. I could never have frogs in my pond with just our tame cat. The little kitten is adorable though. Good luck with him. doesn't the humane society let you borrow traps for the cats? I know you hate to do it but you could have a hundred cats by the end of summer and they won't be happy and healthy either. So sad. Get better soon my friend.

Lisa said...

Oh No, Josie, I 'll cross my fingers for you too! Know all about scroungy cats, my husband got scratched from one and his whole arm started swelling, lots of antibiotic, take care.

Bone*Head*Studios said...

Oh Josie I hope everything turns out well for you!!! kitties are too cute but they can be a menace when left to their own devices, Why hasn't animal control come to help the neighborhood out???

Skeleton In My Closet said...

Thanks for your well wishes : )

Ha! Animal Control - I bought my own trap. The only support we get regarding a solution is the Trap/Neuter/Return program with our local SPCA. I have a nest of tiny (hatched just today) baby robins but I fear they wont survive their fledge with all these cats : (

Sonia ;) said...

Josie...I am playing catch up on blogs...I hope all is better for you. We had the same problem when we first moved into our home. It was crazy...ferral cats can cause havoc, disease, and other devastation to other wildlife.

I hope you are better and keep us informed.

Sonia ;)

Pattee said...


Susie Pastor said...

Josie My last message wouldnt post so I will try again. Your are a lucky lady. My cat bite turned into a horrendous staph infection which a person can die from. I cant blame the cat. He was frightened. I hope you an kkep Zoey. She is so beautiful. I would take her in a minute if I lived by you. If more epople felt as we do there would be less of a feral cat problem. Unfortunately some folks would just rather kill them which saddens me greatly. Take care and heal fast. Hugs

~* The Beldame on Peach Street *~ said...

OMG Josie I had no I idea this happened to you! I'm just getting some time to catch up on things. I'm glad you are okay!

My neighbors facilitate a quasi-ferral cat population by feeding them and doing nothing to prevent them from breeding. Some of them they've even managed to put collars on. But they've done nothing to try to keep them from breeding and since it looks like these folks can barely feed themselves, I've wracked my brain as to what I can/should do. I drive by them everyday and shake my head. The other day I actually SAW them mating and that was it...I gotta do something.