Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Home for Wayward Animals

Our apartment building is really rather perfect for stray cat mothers and their progeny. Unlike many of the buildings in the complex, it has a rather large crawl space. Directly below our quad is some loose lattice work just large enough for a cat to squeeze through. The humble abode is securely guarded by lush, thick and spiky holly bushes. Consequently, we are on our second litter of fur balls this summer. There are four black kittens and "Momma Cass," who is actually rather skinny for such a name. She started as "Momma Cat," but that wasn't much of a proper name. We've taken to feeding them dry food when we see them. I never realized small and hungry kittens could be so territorial over there food. They growl at one another. I've decided to place four small piles across the porch rather than one large bowl.

The next visitor to our home for wayward animals earned the name "Annie," as in little orphan Annie. She's a reddish-tan mixed breed with a black snout. She has a square head and soft short coat. I first noticed her while walking Roz in the evening about a week ago. She seemed to scurry away from us and caused no problems. I figured someone had just forgot to bring her in for the night.

On Sunday, Rich really noticed her. He tried to befriend her. Doing so went extremely easy. Once she got over her initial hesitations, she became the sweetest thing who wanted nothing more than to be petted. She wasn't even very hungry, although we left food and water for her the first night, just in case. She reluctantly sat on our porch with us and played with Roz through the window. Roz was excited because she wanted a new friend.

Another couple had been out walking that night and noticed her. They felt bad too and left her a bowl of kibbles and bits and some water under the tree in front of our apartment. Compared to our Pedigree, Annie loved the Kibbles.

Although Rich wanted to keep her, it was late and I informed him she couldn't come in without a bath. I was concerned about vet bills and the added expense, but so we agreed to temporary custody of Annie, until a better home could be found for her.

I had Monday off, so that morning we went in search of her. She was no where to be found. I searched all day. However it wasn't until Rich came home shortly after sundown that she returned to her playground "den." When Rich pulled in, she came over to him. We boxed Roz, petted Annie and brought her in for a bath. The bath went great; she was scared, but definitely more calm about the whole affair than Roslyn ever is. Rich and I discussed a Kroger run to get some Kibbles and Bits, a collar, maybe a second leash, even a new bone (or two so Roz wouldn't be jealous). While the flea shampoo set, I "baby proofed" the kitchen, relocating any chewable foods to higher ground.

After the bath, we dried Annie and moved her to the kitchen. We set up the baby gate so she and Roz could gradually socialize. I then let Roz out of her box. Without any warning, our "sweet" Annie snapped. She violently growled and bolted for Roz. In an instant, she had bust through the baby gate and was in pursuit. She chased Roz who ran for the shelter of her box. I did my best to block her, but was also afraid to stand between them. She nipped at Roz, who thankfully had enough fluff to keep the skin from being broken. Rich grabbed Annie's tale and yanked her out of the spare bedroom. I closed the door to keep Roz safe while Rich used a dinning room chair like a lion tamer to force Annie out of the house. We clearly wanted nothing more to do with her.

We tried chasing her from the house and ignored her hoping she'd move on. Yet Roz needed one last walk for the night. When we came out, we saw Annie across the yard at the playground. We hoped we could quickly sneak out without her approaching us. Unfortunately, Roz was attached a second time, as Annie had clearly become very territorial.

Throughout the night she remained on our porch or in the yard. Roz didn't seem too phased, especially since she got extra love and a peanut butter filled bone. However, she was restless and kept checking the window every few hours.

This morning, we were awoken by Annie's aggressive barks as cleaners attempted to visit the apartment above us. We knew we couldn't walk Roz if this continued. We went to speak to the folks in the front office who reported that animal services had been notified. They had attempted to catch her three times already this week, but Annie was clever and had evaded them.

Rich obtained a rope from the office, as well as the number for animal control. I called while Rich kept Annie in his sight. She no longer would let him approach and had become increasingly territorial. She even attacked a city worker's pick-up. After an hour or more, with the help of the office worker, Rich got the rope around Annie and had her tied to the office while she awaited pickup.

This has been a learning adventure. There are so many more things that could have gone wrong. We're really grateful that no one was hurt. We're sorry that it didn't work out for Annie. We hope she finds a good home some day. For now, we'll settle for being more cautious Samaritans. StumbleUpon