Freeloaders

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August 25, 2009 by skwishface

A few weeks ago, I looked out my kitchen window to see that we had guests in our back yard. A momma cat had apparently had her three kittens under our shed, and had kept her little family hidden until the kittens were old enough to wander a bit.

And then the little hussy trotted her brood out into MY yard. Because I give off “sucker” pheremones.

YES, I started feeding them. What was I supposed to do? There’s four of them and they’re all so skinny. And cute.

At first, this is as close as they would let me get:

Twenty feet away, on the other side of a window.

Twenty feet away, on the other side of a window.

Every time the back door opened, they would scatter. Disappear like shadows of things that never existed. But once I put out the food and water, and took my terrifying self back indoors, they would come slinking back.

It wasn’t long before my family and I got to sit around our backyard-facing windows every evening and watch The Kitty Show.

Featuring thrilling acrobatics!

Featuring thrilling acrobatics!

Day after day, we remained a food-providing non-threat, and still they remained quite elusive and distant. Momma Cat was diligent, and kept her kiddos in line. But every now and then, she would wander off for parts unknown and the kittens would grow bold ….

Let's pretend my back porch isn't a huge unsightly mess, k?

Let's pretend my back porch isn't a huge unsightly mess, k?

Two of the kittens were spotted (through the window) lounging indolently amongst the clutter of the porch. Swatting at overgrown St. Augustine with exaggerated casualness. Strutting amongst the outdoor furniture. Generally acting like they owned the joint.

The third kitten lurked in the grass some distance away, with a distinctly smug look on its face.

Grass is long for the kitties to play in. Not because we're too lazy to mow.

Grass is long for the kitties to play in. Not because we're too lazy to mow.

After a few minutes, it became clear why the smugness. Momma Cat materialized out of nowhere, sat her prim little paws as close to the house as she would allow herself or her children to approach (about ten feet), and STARED.

Universal Disapproving Mom look

Universal Disapproving Mom look

Within seconds, some very chastened kitties were slinking their sheepish behinds back into hiding. I’m sure there was a chorus of “Aw, Mom!” in cat-ese.

A few days ago, I realized that I hadn’t seen Momma Cat in a while. In her absence, the kittens had been growing less skittish of me, though that was most likely partly due to the extreme hunger of growing teenage cats.

We got to the point that my presence in the yard was not a cue for them to immediately hide. Which is good, because my ultimate goal is to capture the whole lot of them and cart them off to the ASPCA to get them fixed.

But for the time being, they do not suspect my ulterior motives.

Gasp! No window separating us!

Gasp! No window separating us!

Though they do certainly remain watchful and wary. I swear, they felt the zoom lens getting closer …

They know I'm up to no good.

They know I'm up to no good.

So if anybody has any advice on how to speed up this whole winning-kitty-trust process so I can catch the little darlings, let me know. Feeding them certainly seems to be the key, but I’m worried that they’re getting past the age of domesticability and may be feral stray kitties forever.

Stay tuned for updates as the saga unfolds!

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