Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sparta and Mama Cat (aka Dad Cat)

Wow! It's been so long since I've made a post that I've forgotten how to properly format things. I'm not going to spend my energy on trying to figure that out right now. Just a quick pop in to introduce Sparta Kitty! I've been seeing this adorable kitten and an older cat around the barn for the past couple of weeks. Every time I'd drive up, I'd see the kitten resting on a cement paver just outside of the old smokehouse/potting shed. It would never let me get very close and would slip in through the small cut out notch in the door. After a few days of leaving food and realizing they were here to stay, I decided to take them to the vet for checkups, shots, spay/neutering, and flea treatment. 

The last feral cat we took in had a crushed pelvis so it was a little different since she couldn't run away very easily. We just wrapped her in a blanket and took her to the emergency vet. However, these two cats were much more elusive. I borrowed a catch-and-release trap from our vet then read a little online about trapping cats. The information that made the most sense to me was to cover the bottom of the trap with newspaper making a trail of newspaper outside of the trap. I then dribbled juice from a can of cat food onto the paper and tossed the opened can to the back of the trap. After that, I covered the trap with an old sheet and let it be. Sure enough, I caught both of the cats within an hour of each other!

I should probably back up and tell you that for the past couple of weeks I've been seeing these cats together, I thought the Mama Cat was a Dad Cat because I saw it lift its tail and spray on the fence just like my male cat used to do. I even asked a friend about this and he told me that cats did this the same way humans did - the male stands up and the female squats. So I just assumed that it was a single dad cat and a kitten.

Turns out (after the vet got to examine both) that Dad Cat is actually a mom cat and Sparta is a little boy too young to be neutered - guessing 8-10 weeks. I was able to bring Sparta home but Mama Cat had to spend the night to have spay surgery the next day and then once again to rest and be under vets supervision. The few days with Sparta started out very delicate. I put him in the bathroom with a bed, a carrier and litter box. He spent most of the time in the back of the carrier just out of my immediate reach. With a little maneuvering I was able to get him out of the carrier and into my lap, keeping him there while hand feeding him recovery canned cat food with a tongue depressor. That went on the rest of the day and evening for about 5 minutes at a time every couple of hours. By about the 3rd day, he was totally trusting of me. Always looking for food and sometimes ready to play. Seriously CUTE! See photo above for physical evidence of extreme cuteness.

I wish it were that easy with Mama Cat. Although she is certainly beautiful with her Liz Taylor eyeliner, she is completely freaked out now that I have her home. She's been up on the light fixture above the sink, on the shower curtain rod and the very last time I checked in on her, she was actually standing on TOP of the wooden shutters. I don't know how she's able to do this. She's extremely agile and is looking for any way to escape back to her free roaming barn cat bird bath drinking lifestyle. We'll see what happens next.