Wednesday, 8 August 2012

On Cats, Kittens & Responsibility

So much has happened since I last blogged about the little stray cat who we now call Cali.  After that day we didn't see her for almost a week.  I continued to change her water every morning and night but the food went untouched day after day.  I was worried about her but Hubby reminded me that she was a stray and probably did a lot of roaming around.  He also said it was likely she had other homes she visited who fed her and maybe even gave her shelter like we did.

The more I thought about her the more distressed I was getting.  My area of the city is heavily populated and we don't see many strays hanging around although our two cats Charlie and Indie came from a litter born to a stray cat in my friend's backyard.  Being the animal lover I am I couldn't sit by and do nothing, it just didn't seem right.  Hubby and I started talking about building her an outdoor shelter down the side of her house and as my birthday is coming up at the end of the month I told him the only thing I wanted was to have her fixed and vaccinated so I knew she had some protection while living outdoors.  We asked friends and family to spread the word about this poor little kitty but we seem to know a lot of dog people or people who already live in a multiple cat household.  We didn't even want to think about what would happen in winter.

When Cali was waiting for me when I came home from work one afternoon I was overjoyed to see her!  It brought me such relief to know she was safe - although I sassed her through snuggles about leaving us for so long!  To entice her to stay around I started feeding her soft food every morning before work.  I have yet to meet a cat who can resist the sweet temptation of canned food.  At night we would let her stay in the garage and when I took the dogs out in the morning she would saunter out and hide in my garden.

Hubby agreed we could look in to getting her vaccinated in fixed but we both agreed we should check with some neighbours and make sure she didn't belong to anyone.  We were convinced she wasn't as we'd seen her outdoors in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the night but sure enough one neighbour told me she belonged to the house at the end of our street.  Hubby and I weren't sure how to react to this news.  Clearly she wasn't getting the nourishment, affection or attention she needed otherwise what was she doing being an outside kitty and coming to us for proper meals?  I asked the neighbour who lived beside the woman to find out more details for me.  I didn't want to go over there myself as my emotions can frequently get the best of me and I didn't want to start a neighbourhood rivalry.

A few days later I ran in to my neighbour again who said she had talked to the woman at the end of the road.  Her daughter had brought home the cat who was to be euthanized at a shelter.  She wanted to save the cat but neither of them wanted to take responsibility for her so they put her on the streets, which is where I'm sure she came from in the beginning.  She wasn't fixed or vaccinated (which I felt was the least they could have done for her) but was very sweet and loving (well obviously). We left our conversation at that and Hubby and I were once again to ponder Cali's fate.

Unfortunately calling Animal Control wasn't an option as it was inevitable Cali would be put down.  All local shelters and our humane society are full and if we brought her to one she would either be put down or just turned away and we didn't want to see that happen either.  And Cali was getting bigger.  At first we thought it was because she was getting proper meals but she was growing at an alarming rate and her nipples were pink and swollen.

I have been on vacation this week and spent a lot of time with Cali.  She never leaves our property.  At night she sleeps in a box full of blankets in our garage and during the day she hangs out at the front of our house or in our dense gardens in the back.  We've been keeping her food and water in the backyard under our patio set with the umbrella up for extra shade.  We prefer her in the backyard during the day because we don't have to worry about traffic.

This past Thursday Hubby came home and told me he had been doing a lot of thinking.  He wanted to help Cali raise her kittens, find them good homes and then we would have her vaccinated, spayed and keep her.  He said he'd fallen in love with her just as I had and that our home was the best place for her.  I couldn't agree more.  I had him stop by the woman's house at the end of the street and tell her.  I didn't think she would care but I also didn't want it to become an issue in the future.  Plus if Cali ever got out and went back to her place we wanted her on our side.  She said she was glad someone was willing to look after her and that was about it.  The important thing though is that Cali will now have a loving home and somewhere safe to raise her kittens.

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